KC Goes Tech
Microgrants to expand digital inclusion training
Individuals To Be Enrolled In Partner Training
Available for Partner Organizations
KC Digital Drive launched the “KC Goes Tech” microgrant program in July 2022 to help expand the ability of community organizations to include digital training in their offerings and to network more effectively with existing digital literacy providers.
Why KC Goes Tech?
In 2012 the cities of Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO, along with MARC, established KC Digital Drive as a digital leadership network to support planning around “essential components of the region’s broadband infrastructure.” Since then, the KC metro has become a national leader in its digital inclusion work, established a first-of-its-kind coalition, supported an unparalleled private competitive fiber market, and helped lead national initiatives for expanded broadband access and digital literacy.
The pandemic has heightened urgency around the digital divide and unlocked new funding resources that demand greater public sector engagement and more explicit alignment around a broadband, connectivity, and digital equity agenda for the region. These issues have been at the center of KC Digital Drive’s work and community engagement for the past 10 years.
The broad community problem is that the “digital divide” is a persistent barrier to participation in digital society in all its forms—workforce and the economy, social and cultural life, democracy and political decision-making. A compounding problem is that the digital divide is not an isolated problem. It is bound with many other barriers to participation in society–and technology and technology access will not resolve these problems.
Inspired by the proven and cost-effective ‘Tech Goes Home’’ program founded in Boston in 1999 and expanded into Chattanooga by one of KC Digital Drive’s peer organizations in 2015, a beta pilot will serve to test a more system-focused model that includes a network of partners to deliver digital literacy training, funding for home internet and a device for an estimated 100 participants through a microgrant.
How Does It Work?
KC Digital Drive has awarded KC Goes Tech Microgrants of $2,000 to ten (10) partner organizations to include $1,000 as a stipend or honorarium to a staff or community member who will join a trainer cohort and deliver digital training to the organization’s client(s). Another $1,000 was included as unrestricted funds to be used at the organization’s full discretion.
- Support grantees’ ability and capacity to deliver digital literacy services
- Connect diverse service populations
- Build upon the ecosystem support model of Tech Goes Home and adapt it for Kansas City with key core partners
- Provide technical assistance to a larger network of training partners
- Identify additional partners to connect program participants with more advanced training opportunities to help them fulfill their digital aspirations.
Who Was Awarded?
We are excited to work with the following organizations whose clients will benefit from digital literacy training and skills development and may need help with access to a device and/or connectivity. They represent a diverse mix of organizations, with some currently offering some level of digital training and some that are embarking on it for the first time.
Awardees for the beta cohort are:
- Black Family Technology Awareness Association
- Central Avenue Betterment Association
- Healing House
- Jewish Family Services
- Hispanic Economic Development Corporation
- The Toolbox Small Business Resource Center
- Sala de Arte
- DAVE’s Place Community Impact Center
What Will the Grants Accomplish?
KC Goes Tech aims to be a community-benefit co-designed with a network of established organizations to act as an organizing catalyst to codify a more intentional process reflecting a community system that:
- Builds on the nationally recognized work of the local practitioner community in the Kansas City region and amplify their success across a national network of thought leaders and partners
- Welcomes new practitioners and expand the work geographically
- Creates greater transparency to and alignment around the region’s priorities and strategy within the regional digital equity ecosystem
- Enables newly engaged government and civic stakeholders/orgs to participate in meaningful and impactful ways
- Clarifies continuing engagement mechanisms for diverse members of the community at large
- Helps to drive federal and state dollars to the region and ensure those dollars are used effectively
As part of this beta, we will:
- Monitor and discover the demand and interest in the program as a whole.
- Encourage new organizations who do not currently offer digital training to apply.
- Level up existing practitioner partners and share their experience with others.
We will take the feedback from our beta organizations following the completion of their first class to inform how we grow our network in early-2023 to include priorities such as:
- Alignment with community health workers
- Working with churches and faith-based communities
- Extending a two-generation approach with school-based communities
We will also seek input from a variety of partners and stakeholders to inform our expansion of KC Goes Tech and our future regional digital equity work.
Our awardees will be participating in a train-the-trainer orientation in mid-September with classes starting by October 1. We’ll post links to class information once it’s available and periodic updates, as well. Stay tuned!