Philly's Digital Literacy Alliance has $175K to back innovative projects - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 14, 2018 7:41 am

Philly’s Digital Literacy Alliance has $175K to back innovative projects

Here are the kinds of projects the coalition is looking for. Nonprofits and organizations can apply by March 28.
Generations On Line, winners in last year’s grant cycle, provided interactive tablet training for seniors.

Generations On Line, winners in last year's grant cycle, provided interactive tablet training for seniors.

(Courtesy photo)

The 19-organization coalition hoping the shrink Philly’s digital literacy gap has $175,000 ready to back innovative projects.

The Digital Literacy Alliance’s 2018 round of grants are now open for Philly organizations and individuals to apply. By March 28, those hoping to have access to the funds must submit letters of intent detailing how their project will “work to address issues of digital literacy and inclusion.”

Last year, the coalition deployed $167,010 in grant money to eight nonprofits for projects ranging from workshops to spot fake news (Mighty Writers’ winning proposal) to tablet training sessions for senior citizens (by nonprofit Generations Online.)

This year, the grant guidelines were updated to create two grant categories:

  • Sustainability Grants, aimed at program already happening that need extra money to keep things going. This category will fund programs up to $10,000.
  • Innovation Grants: Aimed at new programs or initiatives (or programs that will undergo significant changes.) This category will award up to $25,000.

Per Eliza Pollack, Program Manager for Innovation Management at the city’s Office of Innovation & Technology, this year the applicants can pitch their projects as part of three primary areas of influence: General Access and Infrastructure, Community Engagement, or Real World Skill Building. It was reduced from six areas last year in the hopes of broadening the pool of projects, which last year went past the 100 mark.

“We kept it super open for folks to make their case,” said Pollack.

Apply by March 28

OIT’s Director of Innovation Management, Andrew Buss, is hoping the new setup will help the second group of grantees to boost digital literacy in creative ways.

“I would like to see another set of projects similar to the first one, where groups try new ideas and use them as proof of concept,” Buss said. “The ones that are really promising I’d like to see sustained and become bests practices. We have such a good opportunity to do that.”

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