Watch an informational video below on how to apply for a Community Space Public Wi-Fi grant. Scroll down this page for more information about the program. Additionally, there will online open office hours on January 26 via Zoom to answer any questions you may have about the application. Zoom Link.

GRANT GUIDELINES


The Community Space Public Wi-Fi Program will provide funds to purchase wireless network hardware and install it to expand internet access in public spaces.

We are excited to offer an opportunity to apply for funds to assist in the goal of helping entities increase access to the internet by providing new or expanded Wi-Fi in spaces used by community members.

This is a two-part process where applicants will first fill out a brief questionnaire about their current internet setup. After a site visit from a technology consultant, organizations that qualify will affirm that they are interested in receiving a grant of approximately $5,000 to add or expand their internet access.

Because of this structure, we highly encourage organizations to fill out the questionnaire as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

This project is part of a greater effort toward digital equity and closing the digital divide for residents of our region and is a partnership between the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts and the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation with funding from the Alliance for Digital Equity and Baystate Health, as the recipient of a Massachusetts Broadband Institute (“MBI”) Regional Partnerships Program grant.

WHO CAN APPLY

Organizations or municipalities in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties are eligible to apply and must specify the physical site where the installation will take place. Eligible locations include, but are not limited to, libraries, public housing common spaces, community centers, senior centers, educational facilities, workforce training centers, nonprofit organizations, and any other public space, including those that are municipality-owned, which serve the intended populations. Entities must be ready and able to expand public internet access.

The overarching intent is to provide access to the internet for low-income or otherwise digitally disenfranchised people. Eligible organizations or municipalities must serve the following populations which includes people already enrolled in or eligible for:

  1. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program or
  2. Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or
  3. Federal Communications Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) or
  4. Households including a child eligible for federally recognized free or reduced-price lunch

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible populations may also be determined by income level based on the following U.S. Treasury definitions:

  1. "Impacted" either at or below 300% of Federal Property guidelines for household size or income at or below 65% of AMI.
  2. "Disproportionately Impacted" at or below 185% of Federal Poverty guidelines for household size or income at or below 40% of AMI.
  3. Taking place in a qualified census tract (QCT) or zip code where median income is less than 50% state average or there is at least 25% poverty rate.

AWARDS

The final grant amount will be determined based on the findings from the assessment of the proposed installation plan conducted by the Foundations. We anticipate grants will be approximately $5,000.

Process & Timeline:

This opportunity is to provide eligible organizations with funding to install new or expanded Wi-Fi capabilities onsite to benefit the communities they serve. The grant will cover the full amount of the estimated costs based on our technical assessment. Funds granted to the organization will pay for installation work to either a pre-assigned, vetted installer or the organization's own vendor.

  1. This is a two-stage application process. Stage 1 is this questionnaire.
  2. Stage 1 will close, and questionnaires will no longer be accepted as of January 26, 2024 until 5 pm.
  3. Organizations will be notified on a rolling basis if they meet the criteria for this opportunity. Notifications will occur no later than February 16, 2024.
  4. If an organization's application is determined to be eligible, a consultant with technical expertise who is working with the foundations will contact you to set up a site visit or phone call meeting to conduct a technical assessment. These meetings will occur on a rolling basis starting mid-February 2024.
  5. Organizations invited to participate in the Stage 2 application will receive a written estimate detailing the technical specifications and estimated costs for the installation. Invited organizations will have until March 15, 2024 to submit the simplified Stage 2 application. The Stage 2 application will affirm your organization is willing to purchase and install the needed hardware as proposed in the technical assessment.
  6. Organizations who are not invited to participate in Stage 2 will receive information from the technical assessment that may help them with future expansion of internet.
  7. Organizations will be notified of funding decisions by April 1, 2024.
  8. Installation must be completed by September 1, 2024.

REVIEW CRITERIA

  1. Each grantee will work with the Alliance for Digital Equity to the best of their ability to provide information showing documentation on internet usage.
  2. Funding is non-renewable.

Questions:

Email grants@communityfoundation with any questions. An info session about this opportunity will be held on December 19, 2023 at 10 am. Register here. A recording will be available after the session.

County

Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin

Interest Area

Multiple

Grant Amount

Up to $5,000

Deadline

1/26/2024

How To Apply

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until 01/26/24 at 5 pm.

Apply