KC Goes Tech

Microgrants to expand digital inclusion training

Microgrants Available

Individuals To Be Enrolled In Partner Training

Available for Partner Organizations

KC Digital Drive is launching 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 Will It Work?

KC Digital Drive will provide 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 is included as unrestricted funds to be used at the organization’s full discretion. 

Microgrants will:

  • 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 Can Apply?

Any client-serving organization whose clients might benefit from digital literacy training and skills development, and who may need help with access to a device and/or connectivity are encouraged to apply. We welcome a diverse mix of organizations that currently offer some level of digital training and those who would like to start.

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 would: 

  • Build 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
  • Welcome new practitioners and expand the work geographically 
  • Create greater transparency to and alignment around the region’s priorities and strategy within the regional digital equity ecosystem
  • Enable newly engaged government and civic stakeholders/orgs to participate in meaningful and impactful ways
  • Clarify continuing engagement mechanisms for diverse members of the community at large
  • Help to drive federal and state dollars to the region and ensure those dollars are used effectively

With a beta launching in July 2022, 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.

Who Will These Grants Serve?

Our priorities for microgrants include:

  • Service to seniors and older adults 
  • Alignment with community health workers
  • Working with churches and faith-based communities
  • Extending a two-generation approach with school-based communities

We seek a variety of feedback from partners and stakeholders to help usher in a successful beta that will inform future regional digital equity work.

Key Dates

  • JUL 8 – Applications Open: Direct-service organizations apply to be a pilot network partner.
  • AUG 12– Deadline to apply (by 5:00pm)
  • AUG 15– Initial review of submissions to verify eligibility
  • AUG 24– Notification of microgrant awards via email
  • SEP – Train the trainer sessions (TBD)
  • OCT-NOV– Client training sessions / modules
  • DEC 31 – Pilot ends 

Related News

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On July 13, 2021, the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) announced the four nonprofit recipients of its Kansas Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative grant. KC Digital Drive (KCDD) is one of the four recipients, all receiving a 3-year, $250,000 award. The “initiative will support multi-sector community collaboratives to develop and advocate for policies, programs and services […]

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