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Libraries Eligible for New Digital Equity Outreach Funding; January 9 Deadline to Apply

by Larra Clark, Deputy Director PLA/ALA Public Policy and Advocacy and Megan Janicki, Project Manager, Libraries Build Business initiative, Public Policy and Advocacy, ALA on November 17, 2022

Applications are now open for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Outreach Grant to support low-cost home broadband outreach efforts. The Federal Communications Commission will award $70 million to trusted intermediaries, like libraries, to increase awareness and encourage eligible households to enroll in the ACP.

The grant application window is open until January 9, 2023, at 11:59 EST. With only an eight-week window to submit applications, libraries must act quickly. Libraries should allow up to four weeks for the application process. Grant recipients will be selected on or before March 10, 2023. Grant recipients must then spend their award within 24 months.   

While over 14 million households nationwide are currently enrolled in the ACP, millions more U.S. residents are eligible. The ACP Outreach Grant Program will provide funding to develop and implement impactful outreach programs to historically underserved and unserved communities—work that many libraries are already doing. The FCC is expected to make 200-400 awards of no less than $50,000 and no more than $1 million for outreach efforts targeted particularly to people of color, persons with disabilities, persons who live in rural or Tribal areas, and others who are or have been historically underserved, marginalized, or adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.

Eligible activities for the Outreach Grant Program could include virtual and in-person outreach events, in-person ACP application assistance, outreach materials, personnel costs for those working exclusively on ACP outreach, and supplies such as IT hardware and hotspots. Priority will be given to outreach efforts targeting underserved low-income households and communities with low ACP participation. Applicants that have experience in outreach for government programs and resources, trusted community relationships, and experience with multilingual outreach will also be prioritized.

Applications must be submitted through grants.gov – a process that can take up to a month to complete. To set up the Grants.gov account, the applicant will need:

  • A valid Employer Identification Number
  • A Login.gov account, for a single sign-on registration, to then establish an organization registration with the System for Award Management (SAM) at SAM.gov
  • A new or updated registration and organization profile in Grants.gov, where applications will be completed and submitted

More information about the ACP Outreach Grant Program is available on the FCC’s ACP resource page. The FCC hosted the first in a series of informational webinars on November 15, and future webinars will be announced. ALA also will hold library-specific informational events on ACP Outreach Grant Program and other new funding opportunities to be announced in the coming weeks.

Funding was allocated for ACP Outreach Grant Program through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed in November 2021. ALA has actively been advocating on behalf of America’s libraries and filed comments with the FCC during the rulemaking process to ensure libraries are eligible for funding and recognized for their role in digital literacy and digital inclusion. Information about other digital equity resources and funding opportunities available for libraries is available on ALA’s website.



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