Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund

Fund Description: 

The Kansas City region has emerged as a global leader in the new digital economy. But far too many residents are excluded from the economic, education, health, social and cultural benefits of the digital age because they haven’t adopted or don’t use the Internet at home. With a strong history of entrepreneurialism, vibrant community spirit, and development of a first-of-its-kind high speed fiber network, Kansas City is uniquely positioned to undertake high impact digital inclusion initiatives to close the region’s digital divide.

Contact Person: 
Matthew Fuller / fuller@growyourgiving.org / 816.627.3420

Working to close the Digital Divide:
The challenge: Recent data show that 25 percent of Kansas Citians don't have broadband at home, and 17 percent don't use the Internet at all. When asked why they aren't online, non-users cite two main reasons: lack of relevance and lack of access.

The opportunity: The Digital Inclusion Fund will support local projects that provide computer access; make it easy to get online; help make the Internet relevant, exciting, and beneficial for new users; and increase people's digital skills.

The Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund is proud to receive support from key partners such as Google Fiber, Sprint Foundation, The Illig Family Foundation, Polsinelli, Global Prairie and JE Dunn. A brief presentation of the information outlined on this page can be found here. 

2013 Grantees:
In 2013 the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund received 50 applications requesting approximately $1.8 million in total funding. The following organizations were awarded grants in 2013.

  • Connecting for Good - Digital Inclusion Support Program, $35,000
  • Kansas City Public Library District - Mobile Digital Media Lab for Youth, $98,400
  • Trinity Community Church - Digital Access KCK, $60,500
  • Hispanic Economic Development Council - Digital Life Skills Training for Low-Income Latinos, $77,770
  • ArtsTech - Digital Connectors Intergenerational Project, $35,000

------     2014 Competition Details     -----

September 26, 2014 by 5:00 p.m. central

Successful applicants will demonstrate familiarity with the primary barriers reported by people who aren’t yet using the Internet, and will propose innovative solutions to helping these new Internet users adopt and use the Internet. Preference will be given to collaborative, comprehensive and sustainable projects as well as those that demonstrate knowledge of and ability to work in the region’s most underserved neighborhoods / Fiberhoods.

Grant Restrictions and Requirements:
Eligible applicants must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) public charities performing work within the five county metropolitan area (Jackson, Clay, and Platte in Missouri and Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas).
  • Agree to participate in external evaluation to measure the impact of the project
  • Agree to provide a mid-year and year-end report

Eligible projects will target one or more of the following focus areas:

  • People who don’t use the Internet but are interested in learning how to get online and need help
  • People who don’t use the Internet and who lack a computer or perceive high costs to Internet access
  • Areas with high unemployment, with emphasis on Internet-related career skills and job hunting
  • Senior citizens who don’t use the Internet, with emphasis on access to health information
  • School children in homes without Internet access

Eligible expenses and activities to be supported may include, but are not limited to:

  • Program costs including reasonable staff time associated with the implementation of the program / project
  • Training and support for volunteers who assist in program / project implementation
  • Hardware, software and Internet connectivity to be used to provide digital skills training for target population members (e.g. devices + portable hotspots for mobile computer labs)*

Examples of expenses and activities that will not be supported include:

  • Costs associated with updating an organization’s internal hardware, software, IT systems or support, or website content
  • Construction fees or monthly service charges for home Internet subscriptions
  • Development of WiFi or other networks intended to provide wide-scale connectivity
  • Purchase of hardware for end users and/or in home use

*A Note About Hardware Budget Requests:
Note that while projects are encouraged to offer referrals to, partner with, or provide a subsidy towards computers for the new Internet users they serve, the Fund is not intended to cover the full cost of devices for program participants' take-home use. Projects that anticipate significant hardware budget requirements are encouraged to collaborate with refurbished device providers, seek discounted software licensing opportunities, and consider scalable collaborations with other organizations (e.g. shared mobile labs).

Grant Range:
One-year grants generally ranging from $15,000 - $100,000. Programs with successful performance may have the opportunity to renew for a second and/or third year of funding.

Important Dates:

  • Application Launch: August 1, 2014
  • Grant Information Session #1: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm
  • Grant Information Session #2: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 10:00 am
  • Application Deadline: September 26, 2014
  • Panelist Review: October
  • Community Foundation Review: November
  • Awards Announced: November
  • Grant Agreements Due: November

The review panel will include representatives of the Greater Kansas City community as well as individuals with national expertise in digital inclusion. The review panel will review all eligible applications and submit recommendations to the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, which will make final determinations.

iGAM Instructions:
Please read the grant guidelines and application instructions in their entirety before you begin an application. If you have technical questions relating to iGAM, please contact grants@growyourgiving.org or call 816.627.3429.

All applications must be submitted through the Internet Grant Application Module (iGAM) by 5:00 p.m. on the due date.

  • First-time users will need to create a user name and password via the “New Applicant?” link on the iGAM homepage. Previous users may log in using their existing iGAM account.
    • Users are encouraged to create a single username and password for the organization to be shared among staff.
    • If you have forgotten your password, use the “Forgot Password?” field to recover your password.
  • Save the iGAM homepage to your web browser in order to access and resume draft applications as well as to review previously submitted applications.

The grant application for the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund can be found here: Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund Grant Application