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3 Things You Can Do as a Rural Faith Leader to Address the Digital Divide

Close up African American male hands typing on laptop keyboard

IEI’s BAND-NC program is helping 64 North Carolina counties develop digital inclusion plans- helping their residents access affordable internet with appropriate tech support and equipment. Some BAND-NC grants have been given to dynamic faith groups, including two rural United Methodist Churches

We’ve been talking about faith leaders and digital inclusion for a while at IEI, and there’s been even more exciting opportunities (and funding!) to help you as a faith leader help folks connect to each other, to services they need, to jobs, and more. Here are three ways rural faith communities can learn more, make progress, and help us become more digitally equitable:

Help folks sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

If you meet income or other criteria, North Carolinians are eligible for a $30 to $75 a month (as well as a $100 discount on internet-enabled devices!) internet benefit through their local provider. Twenty internet service providers have agreed to offer $30/month plans to reduce the cost even further. Faith communities can use the ACP Consumer Outreach Toolkit to let their congregants and community members know about checking their eligibility at

Check out Black Churches 4 Digital Equity 

Learn more about how Black churches representing multiple denominations and non-profits are helping their communities become digitally equitable through Black Churches 4 Digital Equity. You can also register for their upcoming Black Churches 4 Digital Equity Panel on June 20, 2022. 

Watch a BAND-NC Digital Inclusion Webinar

IEI’s four recorded webinars meet you where you’re at when it comes to digital inclusion— whether you need a basic overview or you’re ready to dive into best practices. Our BAND-NC Resources also include templates and additional webinars for digital inclusion. 

Webinar #1: Digital Inclusion 101 – Provides an introduction to digital inclusion, including definitions and a review of state level data.

Webinar #2: Intro to Digital Inclusion Planning – An overview of digital inclusion planning including 1) what is a digital inclusion plan and its key elements 2) who should be involved in the planning process, and 3) best practices for developing a digital inclusion plan

Webinar #3: Asset Mapping – Provides an overview of digital inclusion asset mapping and reviews elements of the North Carolina digital inclusion plan template.