Original post: 5 August 2008
We often hear requests for contributions for a variety of charitable causes. Sometimes those causes use the phrase “for less than the price of a latte a day you can … (fill in the blank with the good deeds which the organization can do)”.
Well, you’d be surprised what Seattle’s government – with a little help from a lot of volunteers – can do with about one-fourth of one-cent a day.
City Council member Bruce Harrell and I proudly presided at significant event on July 30th – the awards ceremony for the City of Seattle’s 2008 technology matching funds.
This is a program which is fairly unique. Almost every City in the United States which has cable television collects a franchise fee from the cable provider. The Mayor and Seattle City Council decided to dedicate some of that franchise fee to this technology matching fund (TMF) program. The cost to a typical cable subscriber is about $1 per year. TMF helps non-profit and community organizations to use technology to improve their communities and to bring access to computers and the Internet to people who otherwise do not have them. The neat thing about the program is “matching”. Each group must at least match the dollar amount of the grant with their own funds or in-kind labor. They use the funds to purchase computers or video equipment or other technology. And then they teach young people or seniors or immigrants how to use the technology to improve their lives and their neighborhoods.
Some of the organizations include Reel Grrls, which brings video production skills to teenage girls and the Seattle Hip-Hop Youth council which, similarly, is using video and audio equipment along with help from local artists to teach young people in the Central Area to create media and art.
Read more about the event here and read about all the grant recipients here.
And thank you, Seattle, for that third-of-a-cent a day, $1,500,000 over 10 years!