The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity today announced that qualified community service, nonprofit, higher education and regional organizations now have until Jan. 22, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. to apply for Digital Champion grants to help North Carolinians afford high-speed internet, obtain digital devices and access digital literacy resources.
The division will administer the program with $14 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds with the goal of advancing digital equity programming and digital inclusion.
“The Digital Champion grant program is another step toward building a strong digital equity ecosystem in North Carolina,” said NCDIT Deputy Secretary for Broadband and Digital Equity Nate Denny. “We are extending the deadline to allow more time for organizations to submit applications that maximize the benefit to North Carolinians while also meeting their mission during the busy holiday season.”
Through the grant program, the division’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy will establish partnerships with organizations statewide to implement digital equity solutions that positively impact target populations identified in the Digital Equity Act, including low-income households; individuals who primarily reside in a rural area; older Americans/aging residents; incarcerated or justice involved; veterans; individuals with disabilities; individuals with a language barrier; and individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.
Applicants must be one of the following types of entities to qualify for funding: community services (including local governments, county libraries and K-12 school systems); nonprofit organizations; higher education institutions (including individual schools, colleges or centers within the system); or regional entities (including councils of governments).
All projects must develop or expand digital equity programming and address at least one of the following elements of digital inclusion:
- Affordability of reliable high-speed internet
- Provision of internet-enabled devices (computer, laptops, etc.) that meet users' needs
- Access to digital literacy and skills training
- Quality technical support
- Applications and online content designed to increase accessibility and inclusivity
Applications will be accepted online via the state’s digital equity grant portal. Each applicant may apply for up to $400,000 per county served with a maximum application request of $1.5 million. Additional details can be found at ncbroadband.gov/digital-equity-grant.
The Digital Champion Grants are part of Governor Cooper’s plan to close the digital divide by expanding access to high-speed internet and addressing issues of affordability and digital literacy. For more information, please visit ncbroadband.gov.