Topeka city receives digital equity grant

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The city of Topeka has received a digital equity grant to help bridge the digital divide.

The city of Topeka says it is one of four nonprofits chosen to receive a grant from the Kansas Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative.

According to the City, he received $ 250,000 in funding. He said the first year of funding is for planning and engaging with the community and the second and third years will be for implementing community plans and policies.

“This grant funding is an important step in creating digital equity for our community,” said City Manager Brent Trout. “This is the first step in closing the digital divide and creating better educational, economic and health environments for all in Topeka through digital access and literacy. “

The city said the grant would support multi-sectoral community collaborations to develop and advocate for policies, programs and services that promote digital access, adoption, literacy and inclusion among families of color, households low-wage workers and others who face systematic barriers. He said the pandemic had deepened the digital divide, especially in low-income communities of color, rural areas and other underfunded areas of Kansas, with services and schools becoming remote.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to address all of the local digital divide issues we face with the support of the Kansas Health Foundation. A great team from across our community worked together to get us to this point, and each brings individual strength, expertise and a dedicated commitment to use this moment to build a strong strategy to ensure digital equity and inclusion. in Topeka and Shawnee County, ”said Lazone Grays, member of the Digital Equity Task Force.

“We are very grateful to the Kansas Health Foundation and their decision to award this grant to the Kansas Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative. Our team of Topeka City Advocates and several community partners take great pride in helping our neighbors access digital resources and providing them with learning opportunities and support to use these resources for the benefit of their families. Healthcare, education, shopping, employment, finance and other opportunities will soon be available to all families in Topeka, and our community will be better off! Said Scott Gowan, Information Director for Topeka Public Schools.

According to the City, to help families achieve the best possible outcomes in education, economy and health, high-speed digital access and literacy are essential. He said the initiative will focus on a two-generation approach, where more Kansas children and adults will have the chance to succeed digitally in the future.

The city said Topeka’s Digital Equity Inclusion Partnership Program will create part-time technical and digital navigator positions to collect and share community resources and provide digital literacy training, equipment and basic technical support for minority and low to moderate income communities. in 31 districts of Topeka.

According to the City, the direction and initial activities of the policy will include the following:

  • Advocating for policies that support the collective vision of the community and local businesses;
  • Advocate for digital equity policies and plans for underserved Topeka residents, including low-income families and people of color;
  • Implementation of policies and plans that align efforts with existing initiatives of federal agencies.

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