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City of Seattle
Mike McGinn (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Community technology projects receive $300,000 in grants

8/2/2010  5:00:00 PM
Council Contact: Vinh Tang, (206) 684-8159
Dept of Information Technology Contact: Delia Burke, (206) 233-2751
Dana Robinson Slote  (206) 615-0061

Community technology projects receive $300,000 in grants
Technology grants promote access, job skills,
education, and civic engagement

SEATTLE - Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced today that 24 Seattle community organizations will receive a total of $300,000 in Technology Matching Fund grants. This money will enable services for more than 15,000 residents throughout the city, build technology skills for employment and healthcare using ESL software to teach English to new residents, as well as teach social media and online civic engagement skills. The grant funds will also increase access for people with disabilities and also provide youth with positive alternatives to violence by teaching new media journalism skills and providing after-school homework help.

In addition to basic computing and Internet applications, participants will be building their skills in assistive technologies, audio, video, and digital arts. MIT Scratch, robotics, 3D programming instruction, audio production recording for the blind, video production software, a thermal Braille machine, and mobile laptop labs are some of the technology tools to be used in the projects. Five projects will focus on serving people with disabilities, 18 will serve youth, 12 will serve seniors, five will work with specific immigrant and refugee populations.

"These grants reflect our commitment to bridging the digital divide in Seattle. Further, the priorities formed through the Youth and Families Initiative guide our support for these programs," said Mayor Mike McGinn. "Our libraries and community computer labs have seen a huge increase in demand from the unemployed and families in need. These Technology Matching Fund projects will provide crucial support to families and help ensure neighbors have the same economic, participation and education opportunities as those of who already have access and use technology tools all day long."

"The Technology Matching Fund is a great resource the City provides to ensure that all of our residents have access to technology in order to advance their goals," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. "It is imperative that everyone has a seat at the table and the Technology Matching Fund opens the door for people."

"I am so glad that the Council increased the size of the Technology Matching Fund in the 2010 budget," said Council President Conlin. "The organizations that we are funding are doing great things for people all over Seattle who need better access to technology. This is a key part of solving the digital divide. Congratulations and thank you to all the community based organizations who are putting their energy into these projects."

The Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) recommended these digital inclusion projects to the Mayor and Council through an open competitive application process. Grant recipients will match the city's dollars with over $506,825 in community contributions, including volunteer labor, professional services and donated equipment and software.

"A lot of the refugees who are coming here have lived in places with no electricity and all the sudden they're expected to find jobs and need to use computers to find community resources," said Pwint Htun of the Coalition for Refugees from Burma. "We'll be using this $15,000 from the Technology Matching Fund to buy and use laptops with Internet to go teach the community literacy training in languages that are accessible and understandable to these refugees."

"This matching fund represents for our neighborhood the elements that are going to tie the neighborhood together in a way it hasn't been tied together before," said Gregory Davis of the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition.

To read more about the 2010 projects, visit

The Technology Matching Fund is managed by the Department of Information Technology's Community Technology Program and was established in 1997 to support the community's efforts to close the digital divide and encourage the use of information technologies for civic engagement. The city named the matching fund in memory of Bill Wright, a Central District community leader who embodied the program's goal of using technology tools to build strong neighborhoods. Since the program began, the city has contributed over $2,150,832 to 177 projects with community contributions totaling more than $4,469,825. The fund furthers the city's commitment to education, inclusion, and race and social justice. For more information on the Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund, visit or contact

Download a list of projects - Acrobat PDF

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Office of the Mayor

Seattle City Council

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