12 Groups Working to Bridge the Digital Divide Receive Grants at the 2018 Digital Literacy Alliance Grant Award Ceremony 

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney, speaking today at the 2018 Digital Literacy Alliance (DLA) Grant Award Ceremony, announced grants to 12 community and school organizations for innovative programs that will increase Philadelphians’ access to and use of technology.

Launched last year, the Digital Literacy Alliance is a coalition of stakeholders dedicated to providing more Philadelphians with the opportunity to develop digital literacy skills to share with their communities and remain competitive candidates in the workforce.

“The Alliance, having completed its second year, has already demonstrated what can happen when we provide people with access to technology and education,” said Mayor Kenney. “Technological advances are being made at a rapid pace and expanding access to invaluable digital resources will only help our city and communities continue to grow and thrive. It’s important that we support organizations that are dedicated to helping Philadelphians of all ages and backgrounds become digital innovators, educators and leaders.”

As of February 2018, the DLA maintains a fund of $675,000. The initial investment is comprised of grants from Comcast and Verizon. While the initial 2017 grant program focused on Innovation, this year’s program also included Sustainability. Innovation grants were awarded up to $25,000 to support new projects and initiatives, and Sustainability grants were awarded up to $10,000 to support ongoing and current projects and initiatives.

This year, the DLA awarded 12 Sustainability and Innovation grants in total to a mix of established and emerging organizations working with diverse communities across the city.

“We have another excellent cycle of grants, many of which build on successful work from the 2017 awards,” said Andrew Buss, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Office of Innovation and Technology. “Our goal in the Digital Literacy Alliance is to seed innovation in digital inclusion and complement the City’s existing public technology infrastructure. I look forward to our continued work as a cross-institutional, collaborative group striving to address one of Philadelphia’s challenges.”

The 2018 Digital Literacy Alliance Grant awardees are as follows:

  • Asian Americans United – Develops digital literacy through community engagement programs
  • Furness High School – Reinforces language skills for English-Language-Learning students by teaching them to code in support of environmental conservation
  • Generations On Line – Offers Sip & Swipe cafes, a program to teach digital literacy to seniors
  • Key Elementary School – Collects and digitizes stories about immigrant communities with a focus on preservation and education
  • Lancaster Alliance 21 – Offers technology-focused business development training for traditional businesses on the Lancaster Avenue corridor
  • Lutheran Settlement House – Provides digital literacy training for homeless populations at Jane Addams Place shelter
  • Moder Patshala – Offers digital literacy training for K-12 students and their families among the Bangladeshi-American community
  • Overbrook Educational Center – Implements BrailleNote Touch devices to reduce the digital divide for visually impaired students
  • Philadelphia FIGHT – Pairs digital literacy and health management for vulnerable populations
  • Philadelphia Parks Alliance – Provides digital media training for Philadelphia Recreation Advisory Council members to strengthen community center administration and maintenance
  • SEAMAAC/United Communities – Teaches basic digital literacy to English Language Learners from Asian immigrant communities
  • Supportive Older Women’s Network – Offers digital literacy workshops for grandparents who are raising grandchildren

The goals of the Digital Literacy Alliance are:

  • To provide financial support to programs in Philadelphia that work to address issues of digital literacy and inclusion
  • To serve as a convener of stakeholders and partners from diverse sectors who are invested and interested in closing the digital divide in Philadelphia
  • To be a resource for best practices and innovations in digital literacy programming and policy-making

The Alliance plans to leverage existing money to raise additional funds for future grant opportunities.