Mike McGinn, Mayor
5/4/2004 4:00:00 PM
David Keyes- (206) 386-9759
Seattle awards funds for community technology projects
SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council approved $85,000 in funding yesterday for thirteen community technology projects. With three of the awards made today, Seattle becomes the first city in the country to provide technology matching funds for electronic democracy projects.
The Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund (TMF) projects will increase residents’ access to the Internet and grow their technology skills for employment, education and civic participation. This year’s projects will use a variety of technologies, including web-logging (blogging), wireless (Wi-Fi), digital photography, and PDAs (handheld computers).
“These organizations understand the importance of applying technology to build economic opportunity and healthy, educated families,” says Mayor Greg Nickels. “These Technology Matching Fund projects will reach some of our neediest residents, providing training and electronic civic engagement projects for youth, seniors, families, immigrants and refugees.”
One of the projects selected this year will upgrade the Lighthouse for the Blind’s Technology Training Center serving deaf-blind individuals. “It’s hard to imagine a group more shut out from what’s happening around them,” says Lighthouse Development Associate Jeff Patterson. “Technology can make such a difference in the lives of deaf-blind residents; whether it’s connecting to friends and family, reading a newspaper or finding a job online, technology can truly open up a whole new world.”
The organizations awarded TMF funding will match the City’s dollars with approximately $170,000 in community contributions, including volunteer labor, professional services and donated equipment and software.
Each year the fund supports neighborhood groups and organizations with projects to increase technology literacy and access. The “electronic democracy” projects will use information and communications technology to raise awareness of issues and increase resident participation in community problem solving. Electronic democracy project awards are being made to the Homewaters Project, International District Housing Alliance, and the Community Day School Association.
“I am pleased to see the range of projects, technology and communities served,” says Jim Compton, Chair of the City Council Utilities and Technology Committee. “The electronic democracy projects we’re supporting are very exciting. They are an important complement to the City’s use of the Seattle Channel and web as a democracy portal to increase meaningful participation in government and the affairs of the city.”
Recommendations for funding projects are made by the Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB). CTTAB is a fifteen member volunteer board appointed by the Mayor and City Council. CTTAB’s purpose is to advise the City of Seattle on issues of community-wide interest relating to telecommunications and technology.
The Technology Matching Fund was established in 1997 to support the community’s efforts to close the digital divide and encourage a technology-healthy city. Funds for the Technology Matching Fund come from city collected cable television franchise fees. The City renamed the matching fund in memory of Bill Wright, a Central District community leader who embodied the program’s goal of creating digital opportunity for all and using technology tools to build strong neighborhoods. Since the program began, the City has contributed over $1,061,000 to 77 projects with community contributions totaling more than $2,386,000. For more information on the Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund, visit seattle.gov/tech.
2004 Bill Wright Technology Matching Fund Awards
American Lung Association
Educate and mobilize adult sufferers of chronic lung disease by creating citizen web-log sites for awareness raising, health education and community problem solving over issues relating to lung disease.
Community Match: $20,720
Community Day School Association
Parents and Providers Advocacy Project
Help parents and care providers to learn how to use technology to advocate for themselves and others through evening workshops and open lab time at the Leschi Community Technology Access Center.
Community Match: $5,000
Emerald City Outreach Ministries
StairStep Technology Project
Increase technology literacy by serving citizens in recovery from substance abuse and adults for whom English is a second language. Teach computer basics, the Internet, email and various desktop applications. Partner organizations on the project include Seattle Indian Health Board’s Thunderbird Treatment Center, Union Gospel Mission Sunshine Inn, Partners for Successful Schools and the Associates for Cultural Exchange.
Community Match: $9,020
The Neighborhood Green Map Initiative
Engage teachers and students to map and analyze the ecological and cultural assets and liabilities in their community using GIS software. Students create digital and paper community resource maps and make recommendations to neighborhood groups on areas for improvement.
Community Match: $10,000
International District Housing Alliance
WILD Community Perspectives Project
Increase the diversity of participation in International District improvement. In partnership with Sustainable Seattle, the project will bring youth and seniors together, using digital cameras and PDA’s to assess conditions and capture important images of their community. The results will be used to engage the International District community and policymakers in a dialog intended to positively impact neighborhood policies.
Community Match: $18,014
Lighthouse for the Blind
Deaf-Blind Tech Training Center
Upgrade assistive technology to current standards. This will allow Lighthouse to improve computer training and access to technology to Deaf-Blind adults with varying needs.Funding: $9,000
Community Match: $10,000
Technology Expanson Project
Expand the computer tutoring program through intensive recruitment of volunteers and students, a new project-based computer curriculum and increased volunteer trainings.
Community Match: $11,884
Metropolitan Improvement District
Downtown Seattle Wi-Fi
To implement and market publicly-available, free wireless Internet access in Westlake Park. The project will include hardware installation and maintenance as well as enhancements of the project's web portal for Wi-Fi users. Youth Amabassadors througth the Urban League will educate the public on the program.
Community Match: $6,176
Phinney Community Technology Center
Traveling Technology Tutors
Create a volunteer program which will provide short-term assistance and tutoring to help homebound neighbors and seniors in the North End make full use of their computers.
Recommended funding; $9,000
Community Match: $13,645
Sacajawea Elementary PTA
Family Partnership Technology Workshop
Offer computer training workshops to adults and school age children to use technology for communication, research and as a way to support their children with their homework. Using the Seattle Public Library’s Wired for Learning curriculum, the project will be delivered around the school’s dinner-time program and will focus on ESL and low-income families.
Community Match: $9,310
Seattle Goodwill Industries
Community Technical Training Project
Expand Goodwill’s training services and use existing computer labs to provide 190 low-income members of central and southeast Seattle with improved educational competency through basic computer training, ESOL computer training, and introduction to community resources via the Internet. This project is a collaboration of Goodwill with CAMP, the Metropolitan Urban League of Seattle, Powerful Schools, Associates in Cultural Exchange and Somali Community Services.
Community Match: $29,530
Vietnamese Friendship Association of Seattle
Youth Leadership Development and Youth Success
Purchase additional computers and train youth clients to use computers to create resumes, and learn about topics, new cultures and other information and to use the Internet to search information for homework studies.
Community Match: $12,700
YMCA of Greater Seattle
Expand programming to include digital bridge program to teach computer hardware skills to at least twenty-five high school dropouts, ages 16-21. Students will earn a fully functioning computer to take home.
Community Match: $15,180