Michelson Spark Grants: 2021 Digital Equity Funding Cycle

Michelson 20MM Foundation

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Deadline: Mar 29, 2021

Grant amount: Up to US $25,000

Fields of work: Technology Access & Digital Literacy

Applicant type: Nonprofit, For-Profit Business

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:

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Overview:

Spark Grants is an innovative, just-in-time grantmaking process.

Our vision is to introduce a process that can fill urgent needs for education organizations that are well-aligned with our focus areas. We seek to fund highly impactful initiatives that would not be possible if they needed to wait through a traditional grant decision timeline.

What We’re Looking For
Our vision is to introduce a process that can fill urgent needs for education organizations that are well-aligned with our focus areas. We seek to fund highly impactful initiatives that would not be possible if they needed to wait through a traditional grant decision timeline.

  • Alignment with focus areas
  • Lasting organizational sustainability
  • Measurability of project impact

Digital Equity Cycle Focus Areas

Education and Awareness

  • Developing digital literacy curricula, educational toolkits, emergent models, or learning communities. Applications demonstrating an intentional focus on accessibility/scale are preferred.
  • Education and awareness on low-cost internet options to unserved and underserved communities, with an emphasis on:
    • Leveraging existing campaigns/programs to disseminate information (e.g. CalFresh, Covered California, Public Libraries, Public Housing Developments)
    • Multilingual marketing materials.
  • Showcasing community and student digital equity experiences, perspectives, and voices to elected officials, stakeholders, and the public at large.
Research

  • Research that helps map digital equity gaps throughout the state of California, including broadband adoption, broadband bandwidth/speed, device access, and digital literacy.

Scaling Best Practices

  • Efforts that take digital navigator models to scale across the state of California. 
  • Ideas and programs that build on innovative connectivity solutions spearheaded by community-based organizations, established nonprofit partners, or government (e.g. libraries, municipal agencies, neighborhood-led initiatives). Said efforts should have a latency that is sufficiently low to allow real-time interactive applications, with a goal of achieving at least 100 mbps downstream.
  • Successful initiatives to provide tenants in apartments/multi-dwelling units with access to connectivity services through multiple internet service providers.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • For this round of funding we have decided to focus our impact on organizations that are doing work in California.
    • Organizations whose work does not impact California will be ineligible for this opportunity.
  • Given the size and scope of digital inequity and the complexity of securing adequate funding for programs and initiatives to fully address the issue we welcome proposals where Michelson Spark Grant funds are part of a larger overall project with multiple funding streams.

Preferences:

  • Preference will be given to grants that cover a specific self-contained milestone focus including inflection points, things that may open up a new foothold with a partner (i.e. enabling a new partnership with a market leader), or a new proof of concept.

Ineligibility:

  • We will not be funding initiatives that provide direct assistance to students during this Michelson Spark Grant round (e.g. laptops or hotspots for remote learning). While we realize there is a tremendous need in our communities for this type of direct support, we are leveraging our funding to effect broader systemic change at this time.
  • For this funding cycle we will not be funding general operating expenses such as rent, utilities, server costs, etc.

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This page was last reviewed February 12, 2021 and last updated February 12, 2021