The City of Austin, Texas has opened a new grant program aimed at promoting digital equity. The Grant for Technologies Opportunities Program (GTOPs) Mini grant pathway was created to support smaller nonprofits working on a short-term digital inclusion project.
According to a city press release, the GTOPs Mini pathway awards up to $50,000 a year for individual grants given out in increments ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. The city also launched a website for the mini grant pathway to provide additional information for interested nonprofits.
“We’re inspired by the creative ways that local nonprofits have connected with and reached some of our most vulnerable communities with their GTOPs fueled digital equity projects,” said Rondella Hawkins, the City of Austin’s Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Officer. “We’re committed to achieving digital equity and inclusion in Austin and our grant program helps us get closer to that goal.”
The mini version of the GTOPs program is aimed at Austin nonprofits with annual revenues under $1 million. The city said half of the award amount is paid upfront with the second half awarded if agreed- upon mid-term milestones are reached. Additionally, applicants must be city vendors or have applied to start the process.
The application process is now open and the city will be accepting applications through May 14.
The larger GTOPs has four different grant pathways – Core, Mini, Capacity and Connect – and provides up to $400,000 a year to fund novel new ways to help those in underserved communities participate more fully in digital society.
GTOPs Core awards up to $275,000 a year with grants awarded between $10,000 and $35,000 per organization. It is geared towards larger organizations working on a new program or intensive project. GTOPs Capacity is a non-client-serving micro grant of $25,000 a year. It awards between $150 to $2,500 to help nonprofits build capacity by funding technology infrastructure, staff training, and development opportunities. GTOPs Connect awards one $50,000 grant to an organization helping individuals and families eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefits. This support can take the form of monthly internet cost support, device support, or support with signing up for the ACP program.