Community Broadband Grant Program

Maximum grant size: $15,000
Application deadline: 
October 15, 2018, 11:59 p.m.

Note: MaineCF will hold an information session for potential applicants to provide more details and answer questions about this grant program. Please check back for details after August 1. 


Background

In Maine, a high quality of life is increasingly connected to being connected. High-speed internet service increases our ability to access a variety of resources related to our health, education, civic and social engagement, and economic prosperity.

Basic broadband is not available in many rural areas, or the available speed is inadequate for a range of important uses.  Even more important, many Mainers don’t recognize the value in having high-speed internet access. When individuals and communities don’t see the value in high-speed internet access, it’s less likely that communities, providers, and elected officials will make the necessary investments in this infrastructure. 

This leaves Maine lagging behind the nation and the world in our ability to attract new people and businesses to our state, and to grow and prosper in an increasingly connected world.

Purpose

The goal of the program is to increase the number of Maine people, communities, and businesses that have access to high-speed internet service and the skills, opportunities, and knowledge to use this technology effectively. This includes supporting efforts to:

  • Create and/or sustain working groups among communities, nonprofits, and towns and municipalities
  • increase community members’ computer and internet knowledge and skills
  • remove barriers and create equitable opportunities to access technology and the internet
  • develop and increase the knowledge and expertise of both communities at large and local and regional leadership on these issues

Priorities

This program will give priority to projects that:
  • Support and involve traditionally underserved people, including older people, low income families and children, students, people of color, small businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Represent catalytic projects or moments in time.  For example, funds might help sustain an effort at a critical time, leverage other funding sources, or accomplish a short term goal to build energy and momentum
  • Explore creative solutions, pilot projects or new strategies which can be replicated or used as a model by other communities and regions. (For an example see the Post Road Foundation pilot https://www.postroadfoundation.org/news)
  • Leverage or provide match for other funding sources
  • Where applicable, have identified or are prioritizing technology that anticipates future needs and won’t be obsolete in 5-10 years
  • Include goals and/or strategies to increase digital literacy, inclusion, and equity (go to www.digitalinclusion.org/definitions/)
  • Demonstrate community commitment through financial and other meaningful support
  • Identify short- and long-term goals (separate from specific technology and costs). 
Examples of Eligible Projects and Expenses

This grant program is purposefully broad in nature to accommodate a range of potential projects to address digital skills, knowledge and opportunities, and high-speed access and expansion. For example:

  • Establishment or management of a local or regional leadership team to identify opportunities, research solutions, and educate community members and leaders
  • Digital inclusion efforts to address digital literacy, affordability, and access
  • Community meetings, surveys, or outreach to assess current and future high-speed internet service or needs (or to enlist support for implementation)
  • Technical assistance or consulting costs to assist with local or regional planning, design, outreach, or implementation
  • Pilot projects or research to test or explore new approaches
  • Development of maps or other materials related to broadband expansion planning or implementation
  • Relatively small capital expenses such as those associated with creating WiFi hotspots
  • Research to help advance local or regional broadband efforts.

Ineligible Expenses

This grant program will not contribute to capital campaigns or endowments.

How to Apply

Complete the online grant application by clicking the link in the Online Grant Application box at the top right of this page. Online applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on October 15, 2018.

Grant awards will be announced in December 2018. Grants must be used by December 31, 2019.

Questions?

If you have questions about whether your project will qualify, please contact Maggie Drummond-Bahl by email or phone: mbahl@mainecf.org, or (207) 412-0839. An information session is scheduled for August 21, 2018, and details for this session will be posted on this site.

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