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BAND-NC Celebrates Digital Champion Grantees

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) recently announced their Digital Champion grantees, totaling more than $30 million for digital inclusion projects across North Carolina. The impressive list of 63 organizations includes faith communities, libraries, non-profits, community colleges and schools and notably, several regional Councils of Government (COGs). Check out the full list of winners on NCDIT’s website.

BAND-NC is thrilled to see so many of our partners receiving this needed funding for their programs. We’re also committed to working with organizations that didn’t receive this round of highly competitive funding. 

BAND-NC has partnered with many of the COGs listed on their digital inclusion plans over the past several years. We know that having a community-based, data-driven digital inclusion plan helps create compelling funding applications and direction for meaningful implementation projects to work towards digital equity in our communities. 

Land of Sky Regional Council, which created one of North Carolina’s earliest regional digital inclusion plans, was awarded almost $700,000 to increase staff capacity and work with target populations.

Land of Sky Energy and Economic Development Manager Sara Nichols says that to complete their Digital Champion Grant application, the council “used partners that we developed from the digital inclusion planning and implementation to identify regional gaps in the system that have not been closed over the last couple years.”

Upper Coastal Plain Regional Council of Governments received a $1 million Digital Champion Grant to continue their incredible digital inclusion progress by establishing a regional digital literacy coalition. When reflecting on their process, Planning and Development Services Director Ben Farmer shared the following with our team:

“Our Digital Champions project will involve close coordination with partners serving every corner of our five-county region, and we led many conversations as we were developing our proposal to ensure it is truly collaborative and realistic. Had it not been for our regional digital inclusion plan (funded by IEI’s BAND-NC program), we would have lacked a shared understanding of what digital inclusion means to our region and the new connections we developed during the planning and implementation process.” 

BAND-NC is looking forward to connecting with the grantees to continue to strengthen local-level digital inclusion planning and our digital equity ecosystem. Congratulations again to all the Digital Champion grantees — the future of digital inclusion is bright!