The Illinois Connected Communities grant program will assist counties, cities, villages, or school districts in planning and capacity building, laying the groundwork for improved broadband access, adoption, and utilization.
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) grants of up to $15,000 will be provided on a competitive basis, with applications accepted through June 12.
The Illinois Connected Communities program is designed to engage a first-year cohort of up to 10 communities in best practice curriculum. The Illinois Office of Broadband, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, and area philanthropy will pair state and nonstate resources to foster authentic community engagement and help communities prepare for a better broadband future.
Grantees will participate in focused in-person and/or online community-specific, regional, and cohort-wide activities during a period up to 12 months. Communities will be asked to form a representative community broadband Steering Committee and build toward creation of a community-driven broadband strategic plan that will position the community to take next steps, including as applicants, or community partners to applicants, seeking Connect Illinois Broadband Grant infrastructure funding. Likewise, Illinois Connected Communities may apply for a second year of state funding specifically designated for community-driven efforts to promote digital literacy, adoption, and inclusion.
More information is available at https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/AboutDCEO/GrantOpportunities/Pages/default.aspx