BAND-NC Grantees 2021

2021 BAND-NC Grantees

BAND-NC is a grant program designed to increase the number of people with internet in their homes, with the goal of making the state “first in digital inclusion.”

The Institute for Emerging Issues is pleased to present the 2021 grantees.


Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Stanly, Union Counties*

Charlotte AHEC
New competencies are required for communication in the digital environment. However, technology and training disparities prevent many people from obtaining these competencies. Charlotte AHEC can help bridge these training gaps by developing and hosting online Digital Literacy and Skills Educational Series. This series can be accessed at no cost to 50 participants from each county in the 8-county region. The “Digital Literacy and Skills Educational Series” will be designed to address the needs of an underserved community and will include topics such as, digital devices, communication applications, networks to access and manage information, and how to be safe and responsible online.

Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Chatham, Cherokee, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth,  Guilford, Henderson, Iredell, Polk, Stokes, Surry, Union, Wilkes, Yadkin Counties*

NC Fine Wines Society
Many vineyards have extremely limited broadband access in their tasting rooms, and even fewer farmers have that access available in their winery, barn, or in the vineyard itself. NC Fine Wines will create a Mobile Unit WIFI Setup that can be brought to the vineyards and local Agricultural Extension Offices to demonstrate the options for them to increase their broadband coverage. Members will learn what to look for to extend their Broadband access across their business locations, and the same information will be available to other farming businesses.

Bladen County*

Bladen Community College Small Business Center
Bladen Community College Small Business Center will launch a pilot designed to introduce the options of competing in the online global economy that reliable internet would offer entrepreneurs and small businesses. The objective is to encourage research to find affordable options for internet access, develop business plans that might incorporate internet access, and advocate for further usage amongst the community.

Burke County*

Burke County United Way
A survey conducted by Burke County Public Schools (BCPS) determined that 10.5% of students did not have access to reliable high-speed internet. With the decision for school to begin remotely, Burke County United Way partnered with the school system to identify the need to secure hotspots for students who did not have internet connectivity to access and engage in the online learning environment. The intended outcome is that students who currently do not have reliable high-speed internet will receive a hotspot that will allow them to successfully access and engage in remote, online learning.

Carteret County

Carteret County Economic Development Foundation
Carteret County Economic Development Foundation will develop a website that will contain a comprehensive inventory of all digital resources in the County (e.g. digital literacy/computer training classes; public WiFi locations; school and library hotspot and device lending programs; and subscription subsidy information and assistance); The development and printing of hard copy brochures that contain similar information as the website, which brochures will be made widely available throughout the County via partner organizations; and Spanish language versions of both the website and brochures.

Catawba County

Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry
Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry (GHCCM) serves the homeless and those who fall within 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. In partnership with the City of Hickory and the Hickory City Library System, GHCCM will survey the population to find gaps in internet accessibility and reliability. GHCCM will also provide digital literacy training to community members.

Chatham County

Chatham County Council on Aging
The Chatham County Council on Aging will build on the success of its pilot program, funded in round one of BAND-NC to assist more seniors, experiment with telehealth, and showcase what a largely rural community can do through vision, commitment, partnerships, and some seed money. They will use this grant to reach additional older adults who remain largely socially isolated and disconnected from the Council and community. 

Davie County*

Smart Start of Davie
Smart Start will provide devices and hot spots to families with children prenatal to five years of age. Smart Start of Davie County has multiple family support programs that are relying on digital access to keep families and staff safe during the global pandemic while maintaining quality programming. The programs include Parents as Teachers, an in-home visiting program that is currently being done virtually and through telecommunication; Nurturing Parenting Program, a group-based parenting program focused on positive parenting practices to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect and LENA Home, a talk pedometer measuring parent/child engagement.

Duplin County

Duplin County
The 822 square mile spanse of Duplin County lies less than 90 minutes from three military bases and is wedged roughly an hour between both the capital and the coast. With predominant industries of animal processing and farming, Duplin County is home to three major pork and poultry producers. This grant funding will be used to create a survey of households and county stakeholders to determine specific broadband internet access needs as the basis for a digital inclusion plan.

Edgecombe County*

Community Enrichment Organization and Young Visionaries for Health (YV4H)
Young Visionaries for Health (YV4H) is a student-led initiative in partnership with the Community Enrichment Organization (CEO), researchers at UNC at Chapel Hill, and local mental health/wellness consultants that seeks to expose young people to research while focusing on questions and challenges that resonate with students in regards to how their community is healthy. The BAND-NC funds will support the work of YV4H by providing laptops, webcams, and individual hotspots to students who are involved and lack access. The program will also integrate digital literacy components into the YV4H meetings including: ethical and practical aspects of online communication, conducting online research, and digital inclusion strategies and assessment.

Edgecombe and Nash Counties

Rocky Mount Housing Authority
Rocky Mount Housing Authority will equip community centers with free-standing computer stations in both community centers. The Housing Authority will equip each station with a desktop computer and monitor and provide the same computer set-up for the certified instructor. The R.I.S.E. Digital L&D Centers will serve both senior residents, college-level, and K-12 students, all of whom live within the confines of the housing communities. The overall goal is to ensure that all RMHA housing units have digital access, appropriate digital devices, technology support, and academic and personal development opportunities via a structured digital environment.

Franklin County*

Franklin County Government
Funding from the BAND-NC grant will allow Franklin County to add needed broadband devices to the current offerings in the County Library System, and the new Franklin Voyager Multimedia Bookmobile. Those devices will also be used for citizen training programs on digital inclusion topics. This will help to move Franklin County residents toward the goal of increased broadband subscribership.

Gates County

Gates County
Gates County’s Senior Tech program will include a year-long series of one to two-hour classes aimed at familiarizing older residents with the current demands of a digital community. Evening sessions will be held once or twice-monthly, and daytime classes will be offered frequently in collaboration with community organizations. A combination of paid and volunteer, intergenerational instructors will train participants on a variety of topics, including device familiarization, accessing the internet, using email, conducting/attending virtual meetings, participating in telehealth visits, paying bills online, and digital security.

Graham County*

Graham County Department of Social Services
Graham County Department of Social Services will use their BAND-NC grant to support frontline workers, specifically those who work with Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services. The Department of Social Services will purchase devices that allow more flexibility and efficiency for their CPS and APS units by allowing workers to work based out of alternate locations.

Halifax County

Halifax County
Halifax County was included in the first round of BAND-NC grants as part of a regional application through the Upper Coastal Plains Council of Governments. One of the highlights from the digital inclusion plan was the realization that seniors and the organizations that serve them are increasingly aware of the value of bringing this group online. There is a need for digital literacy training to increase digital equity and broadband adoption among senior citizens. These modules will focus on digital literacy and safety.

Hertford County*

Cultivator, Inc.
Cultivator, Inc.’s proposed Digital Inclusion Project will implement WIFI hotspots in parts of Hertford County that are internet dead zones, and also in parts of the county that are near clusters of low-income housing, where residents may not have access to the Internet. The desired outcome of this project is to enable more K-12 students to be able to log on to virtual classes with their Chrome Books and not have to rely on paper and pencil “packets” that they receive from teachers every week.

Jones County

Jones County
Jones County is a rural county with a strong agricultural heritage. Through the partnership of all county agencies, the county will develop and implement a digital inclusion plan to provide a wide range of options to provide high-speed internet throughout the county.

Martin County

Martin County Government Department of Adult and Aging Services
Martin County Government’s Department of Adult and Aging Services will  purchase computers and WiFi hotspots for its three nutrition sites. The pandemic has isolated many senior citizens, preventing them from seeing family and friends. Seniors are often uncomfortable using technology without help, and many senior citizens do not own technology or have access to reliable internet. By offering free use of computers and internet access at the nutrition sites, Martin County senior citizens will be able to go online without the burden of purchasing expensive technology themselves.

Mecklenburg County*

Arthritis Patient Services
Arthritis Patient Services will distribute devices and internet access to older adults who are more likely to be alone and isolated. APS will also educate seniors on digital resources available to them. After distribution, the group will conduct a pilot study on the efficacy of the virtual format of their services.

Mecklenburg County*

Charlotte Rescue Mission
Charlotte Rescue Mission (CRM) offers holistic recovery services to community members at the intersection of addiction and homelessness. CRM will use the BAND-NC grant to purchase additional devices, expand broadband capabilities, and strengthen digital literacy support for program graduates participating in transitional programs. Participation in the digital economy will ease the re-entry process and help clients to grow, re-imagine themselves and actualize self-sufficiency.

Mecklenburg County

Digi-Bridge
Digi-Bridge will use the BAND-NC funding to hire one paid Family Engagement Specialist, who will provide a weekly targeted digital literacy workshop for 10 families, focusing on specific areas of need including accessing the internet, computer use, using reading checkup tools, and printer use. At the end of the workshop, each family will receive a computer and a printer and have the skills and confidence to use them. Digi-Bridge will work with CltBP in sourcing the hardware required for the Reading Bridge program. Additionally, Digi-Bridge will support the program with consultancy on digital literacy training and resources that can be used in current and future workshops.

Moore County

Moore County
Moore County will develop and implement a broadband plan in order to increase broadband expansion within the county. Moore County is just over 700 square miles of land; much of it is rural and therefore underserved by the existing broadband providers. The goal in this project is to lessen the digital divide in the county so that all residents have access to adequate internet service that is affordable. This will help diminish the homework gap, increase telehealth opportunities, assist small businesses, and allow for work-from-home opportunities during the global pandemic and beyond for all residents of Moore County.

Nash County

Nash County
Nash County has identified digital literacy as a challenge, particularly among parents, grandparents, and caregivers who are attempting to help students complete schoolwork while remote learning. Nash County, in partnership with the Kramden Institute, will offer digital literacy training to participants. This is intended to be the first of several cohorts, with the goal of training community members who are then able to assist their friends and neighbors, further reducing the digital divide in Nash County.

Randolph County

NC Cooperative Extension Randolph County
The Randolph County Digital Alliance will hire a Digital Alliance Ambassador to promote the Randolph County Digital Inclusion Plan and build awareness of the Randolph County Digital Alliance, solicit participation in the NC Broadband Survey with the goal of creating the best broadband coverage map in North Carolina, and promote the FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit program to underserved communities.

Randolph County*

Randolph Partnership for Children
Randolph Partnership for Children will work towards three goals: to collect data on the needs of families with children ages 5 and under, specifically in lower-income and lower population density communities; to provide families in need with hotspots and/or subsidies for internet subscriptions; and to provide digital literacy training and technical support/assistance for families with young children ages 5 and under. The intended outcomes are a better understanding of families’ broadband adoption practices and barriers; better digital resources for families, and increased knowledge and comfort levels for families integrating technology into their homes, work/life scenarios, and foundational phase of their child’s educational journey.

Stanly County*

Uwharrie United Methodist Church
In rural Stanly County, good internet access is challenging, particularly in the smaller towns and rural areas. Crossroads Connection is a collaborative, ecumenical ministry in the north Stanly County area. Crossroads Connection will determine safe locations that students and families can access free wifi, noting if indoor access is available. Crossroads Connection will create a family friendly flyer listing Richfield UMC and other locations where students can access reliable wifi to complete virtual learning. Richfield Elementary School, and other schools who agree, will distribute the flyer/information to students and families. These flyers can be distributed through weekend food bags, virtual learning platforms, throughout the community, and in local churches. Additionally, Richfield UMC will have outdoor signage with information about wifi access.

Surry County

Surry County
During 2020, various entities in Surry County began to independently review gaps in current broadband services. In Spring 2021, the need to create one county-wide plan reviewing challenges and needs for all segments of the population, integrating the goals and strategies best for everyone, became obvious. With BAND-NC grant funding, a coalition of stakeholders will assemble to begin the work of integrating plans, addressing connectivity for the benefit of all members of the Surry County community. This will catalyze the creation of a county-wide digital inclusion plan. This plan will outline the vision, steps needed to create the solutions tailored to the specific needs and then guide funding decisions to realize those solutions.

Transylvania County

Smart Start
Through a partnership with Through The Trees, a local nonprofit, Smart Start of Transylvania County will help to subsidize broadband service for families with school-aged children. The goal is to remove barriers that prevent children from thriving.

Wake County

Community Technical Assistance, Wake
Community Technical Assistance (Wake) will partner with local churches and public schools to serve students and families who do not have access to the internet or adequate technology. CTA will provide internet access to students and digital inclusion training and devices for parents of students who regularly participate. This will ultimately ​​improve the learner’s digital literacy and academic achievement.

Wake County*

Community Technical Assistance (Wake)
Community Technical Assistance’s DEI initiative is designed to introduce alternative learning strategies, using digital gaming as an incentive and a creative outlet for learners during school and after school. CTA’s research revealed that male learners are gaming at rates up to 84% and females are close behind at almost 60% of the school-age population. The DEI initiative will increase each learner’s performance and achievement, as well as allow them to create an engaging learning community network outside the classroom. With uninterrupted internet speed up to 1000 Mbps, learners will also receive real-time instruction without unnecessarily long buffering times.

Wayne County

Community Technical Assistance, Wayne
Community Technical Assistance (Wayne) will leverage community partnerships to serve students and families who do not have access to the internet or adequate technology. CTA will provide internet access to students and digital inclusion training and devices for parents of students who regularly participate. This will ultimately ​​improve the learner’s digital literacy and academic achievement.

Wayne County*

Community Technical Assistance (Wayne)
Community Technical Assistance’s DEI initiative is designed to introduce alternative learning strategies, using digital gaming as an incentive and a creative outlet for learners during school and after school. CTA’s research revealed that male learners are gaming at rates up to 84% and females are close behind at almost 60% of the school-age population. The DEI initiative will increase each learner’s performance and achievement, as well as allow them to create an engaging learning community network outside the classroom. With uninterrupted internet speed up to 1000 Mbps, learners will also receive real-time instruction without unnecessarily long buffering times.

 

*Denotes CARES Act funding