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Digital Equity

Bridging the Digital Divide

High-speed internet is a necessity in today's world. United Way supports and leads efforts to improve digital access throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Hamilton County Public Wi-Fi Grant Program

United Way of Greater Cincinnati is administering a grant program for Hamilton County to enable local governments and community organizations to provide FREE public Wi-Fi in underserved areas of the county. Broadband infrastructure has been shown to be critical for work, education, health care and civic participation. A total of $1,425,000 is available through the county’s American Rescue Plan/State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.  

The program will consist of two rounds of funding: 75%, or $1,068,750, is anticipated to be awarded in the first round and the remainder (about $356,250) will be awarded in the second round. To complete the full application, you will be asked to use United Way’s application system called e-CImpact. The application portal will be available starting Feb. 8.

Applicants must also fill out and submit a DOB Supplanting Form with their application. Click here to download: DOB Supplanting Form.pdf.

Informational Webinar

A webinar providing an overview of the program, including eligibility requirements, will be held at
2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25. Please complete this registration to attend.

For questions about this funding, email impact@uwgc.org or refer to the sections below.

Wi-Fi Grant Process & Key Dates

Dates may change. Any changes will be communicated in a timely manner.

  • Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024: Program overview via webinar — watch now
  • Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, at 2 p.m.: Virtual Q&A session via Zoom — watch now and download slides
  • Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024: Application opens in e-CImpact
  • Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, at 2 p.m.: Virtual Q&A session Zoom — register today
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, at 10 a.m.: Virtual Q&A session  Zoom — register today
  • Friday, March 8, 2024, at 5 p.m.: Applications for Round 1 DUE 
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at 2 p.m.: Virtual Q&A session Zoom for Round 2 applicants  
  • Friday, April 5, 2024, at 5 p.m.: Applications for Round 2 DUE 
  • April 2024: Round 1 funding awards announced  
  • May 2024: Round 2 funding awards announced  
  • July 2025: Grant period ends
Information & Technical Assistance

United Way will support organizations as they explore this opportunity and complete the application.

  • Informational webinar (live and recorded): An informational webinar will be held Jan. 25. A recording of the webinar will be made available for those unable to attend — watch now.
  • Send us an email at impact@uwgc.org with your communication preference (email or phone) to ask questions, schedule a technical assistance meeting to navigate the application system or discuss a concern. The appropriate staff will connect with you in 1-2 business days of receiving your email.
Additional Resources

UWGC Complementary Digital Equity Program

 

To complement Hamilton County’s investment in public broadband infrastructure, United Way of Greater Cincinnati is implementing a Digital Equity Grant Program. Nonprofits can submit an application for the Hamilton County Public Wi-Fi Grant Program and for the United Way of Greater Cincinnati Digital Equity Grant Program. 

United Way will fund programs that bridge the digital divide, fostering inclusivity and accessibility. We invite proposals for innovative digital inclusion solutions, empowering diverse populations to navigate the digital landscape with confidence and competence.

The requests for proposals for both the Hamilton County and United Way programs will run around the same time. To complete the full application, you will be asked to use United Way’s application system called e-CImpact. The application portal will be available starting Feb. 8.

Need help deciding which program to apply for?

Use this document to help you decide: UWGC Digital Equity Decision Tree.pdf.

 

Informational Webinar

A webinar providing an overview of the program, including eligibility requirements, will be held at
3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7. Please complete this registration to attend.

Grant Process and Key Dates

  • Jan. 31, 2024: Program announcement date 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024: Program overview via webinar — watch now
  • Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024: Application opens in e-CImpact
  • Friday, March 8, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.: Applications DUE in eCImpact
  • Tuesday, March 26, 2024: Funding awards announced
  • Monday, April 1, 2024: Grant period begins

Northern Kentucky Digital Equity Initiative

Because of work slowdowns, furloughs, and job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families were unable to afford internet service. United Way of Greater Cincinnati partnered with altafiber (formerly Cincinnati Bell) and others to establish the NKY Digital Equity Initiative to help families with high-speed internet for one year.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s NKY Digital Equity Initiative for Students provided more than 3,700 students with access to technology and opportunities to participate in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the program’s launch before the 2020-21 school year, 16 Northern Kentucky school districts have benefited and 1,670+ homes have been connected.

These efforts resulted in UWGC’s Northern Kentucky Area Center being awarded the 2021 Business Engagement of the Year Award during the annual Excellence in Education Celebration presented by the Northern Kentucky Education Council and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The Business Engagement of the Year Award recognizes a local organization or business that works with Northern Kentucky schools to improve student achievement through activities such as mentoring, internships, job shadowing, STEM activities, literacy coaching, Junior Achievement, First Lego League, and service-learning.

NKY Digital Equity IMPACT

3,700+

Student given access to technology for virtual learning.

16

Number of Northern Kentucky school districts assisted.

1,670+

Homes have been connected during the 2020-21 school year.

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