NEKCA awarded $500K grant

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NEWPORT — Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA) has been awarded a $500,000 Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant to promote and raise awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

The Vermont Community Broadband Board (VCBB) congratulated NEKCA on the achievement, which aims to bridge the digital divide in historically underserved and unserved communities.

NEKCA will be the main grantee and will sub-grant out funding across the five different Community Action Agencies of the Vermont Community Action Partnership (VCAP).

The ACP is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) benefit program that provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households.

“Affordability is a major barrier for thousands of Vermonters to be able to access the education, healthcare, work, and social opportunities offered online these days. Congratulations to NEKCA on this award and their work to level the playing field for Vermont families,” said VCBB Executive Director Christine Hallquist.

NEKCA is a leading organization in the NEK addressing poverty through education, community collaborations, and community action.

It submitted one of 250 applications from organizations across the country for a grant to help it implement strategies to reach historically underserved and unserved communities.

“Internet is the backbone of today’s world,” said Jenna O’Farrell, Executive Director, NEKCA. “It powers all aspects of our modern lives such as education, economy, healthcare, and social wellbeing.”

Grant applicants were assessed to determine the impact of proposed projects against the program’s goal, objectives, and priorities.

Assessments included a merit review to determine the quality of proposed projects, costs/budget, and a risk review to determine fiscal stability of the applicant.

The VCBB has been appointed to administer Vermont’s Digital Equity Act programs, and progress to date includes receiving a planning grant and releasing an RFP for a contractor(s) to help with outreach and engagement with stakeholders.

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