Simplified: The Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation on Thursday announced a $50,000 contribution to help connect families to federal funding for mobile devices and home internet services.
Why it matters
- An estimated 25,000 people in the city who don't have internet access are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers up to $30 per month for home internet services and a one-time $100 voucher to help purchase a laptop or tablet.
- But most people who are eligible for ACP haven't yet signed up, according to Taneeza Islam, executive director of South Dakota Voices for Peace, the local nonprofit that will be leading the effort to increase internet access across the city.
- SD Voices for Peace will use the community foundation's contribution to hire an enrollment specialist dedicated to helping low-income families navigate the application process to access the federal funds available to them.
"We're really looking at providing more access for multilingual communities," Islam said.
Tell me more about the program
The Affordable Connectivity Program launched in early 2022, replacing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which helped about 9 million people nationally access the internet during the pandemic, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The hope locally is to connect more families with the internet.
- That will, in turn, help people connect with education opportunities, jobs, government programs, health care and countless other online resources.
"Those in our community who lack access to the internet also lack access to opportunities," said Patrick Gale, the foundation's vice president for community investment. "As a community, we have a collective responsibility to help solve this challenge."
What happens next?
SD Voices for Peace will be looking to fill the new enrollment specialist position, and then the goal is to get out into the community as much as possible.
"Our model is going to people instead of them coming to us," Islam said.
The nonprofit will be working with other organizations across the city, including the Sioux Falls School District, to connect with families who are eligible for ACP.
How can I help?
Spread the word about ACP with anyone you know who is eligible, and encourage them to call the SD Voices for Peace office, Islam said.
If you're interested in offering financial support, reach out to the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.