Hamilton County Grant Program Addresses Digital Divide

Commissioners invest to expand Wi-Fi access in partnership with United Way
January 19, 2024
File folder labeled "grants" resting on a keyboard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Contact: Elbert Goode II, elbert.goode@uwgc.org
Or Bridget Doherty, 513-658-0149, bridget.doherty@hamilton-co.org

CINCINNATI (Jan. 19, 2024) – Hamilton County Commissioners are partnering with United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) to expand affordable broadband internet access to families in the County. Nonprofit organizations and local governments can apply for funding to install public Wi-Fi starting Feb. 8. Commissioners are investing $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act resources toward the program that UWGC is administering on their behalf. 

“We must bridge the digital divide in Hamilton County,” said Commission President Alicia Reece. “The pandemic showed us that too many citizens did not have access to Wi-Fi. These Wi-Fi grants are essential in making sure that our county is connected to the future as one Hamilton County.” 

“Our hope is to improve lives and economic outcomes for every resident in every community,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “Having access to affordable, high-speed internet is not a luxury, it’s a requirement in order for our communities to grow and thrive.” 
In 2022, Commissioners launched a broadband study to determine service availability and utilization of the internet in the County. 

“The greatest broadband challenge in our County is digital equity,” said Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “This program attempts to address that digital divide, including affordability and digital skills, for our underserved communities so that everyone can fully participate in the economy and enhance their educational experiences.” 

Nonprofit organizations and local governments in Hamilton County, Ohio, are eligible to apply. Grants range from $10,000 to $200,000. UWGC is the program administrator. 

“Increasing digital connectedness unlocks economic opportunity for families, and it is one of our priorities,” said Moira Weir, UWGC President and CEO. “Reliable broadband access and the skills to navigate the digital world are essential for families. We are working across Greater Cincinnati to promote digital inclusion, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner with Hamilton County on this grant initiative.” 

For more information on the application process and eligibility requirements, visit uwgc.org/digital-equity and register for a webinar on Jan. 25. 


About Hamilton County’s American Rescue Plan Act Funding

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hamilton County Commissioners have been a driving force in connecting residents to resources by leveraging $158.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. From creating the 513Relief Bus that brings critical health and economic resources directly to residents, to developing grant programs and forging strong partnerships with community leaders, nonprofits, businesses, and healthcare providers - the Commissioners have worked to "build a strong, resilient, and equitable recovery by making investments that support long-term growth and opportunity" as outlined by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

About United Way of Greater Cincinnati

United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) fights for the economic well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati so our entire community can thrive – now and in the future. Founded in 1915, UWGC is one of the region’s largest nonprofit organizations. It is committed to working alongside policymakers, community partners and donors to promote educational success, financial empowerment and housing security. Learn more about UWGC’s work across nine counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at UWGC.org. #UnitedWeThrive

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