Age-Friendly Funding Alerts: Mass. Broadband Institute, Municipal ADA, Mass Cultural Council

Apr 3, 2024

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative is pleased to promote the following funding opportunities that help support inclusive age-and dementia friendly communities:

  • Residential Retrofit Program, Mass Broadband Institute – currently accepting “expressions of interest” from housing operators.

The Residential Retrofit Program is to deploy state of the art broadband infrastructure at approximately 22,000 Public & Affordable Housing properties across Massachusetts. MBI intends to increase low-income residents’ opportunity to access high-quality, reliable, and affordable broadband service in their homes by addressing deficient wiring and infrastructure through grants for the deployment of fiberoptic cabling to the unit to qualified Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) who will install, own, and maintain equipment.

Improved infrastructure and enhanced connectivity will enable residents of Public & Affordable Housing to engage in essential daily activities such as working remotely, pursuing educational opportunities, and accessing healthcare from home.

The Residential Retrofit Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Treasury Capital Projects Fund (CPF) grant. MBI will make available grants covering 100% of the eligible capital costs associated with the retrofit of eligible properties.

The expression of interest form for housing operators is available here and communities working to become age- and dementia friendly are encouraged to engage local housing partners for this opportunity.

MBI’s Municipal Digital Equity Implementation Program seeks to enable municipalities who need funding to mobilize, start-up, and implement digital equity activities locally to access a one-time grant up to $100,000 per municipality to execute a project (or projects) defined in their Digital Equity Plan, Digital Equity Planning Charette, or pre-existing local digital equity plan or related document that MBI deems of sufficient standard.

Project implementation will increase access and usage of the internet for the populations most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative encourages communities to include older adults in their project applications.

Communities that have completed a digital equity plan or charrette through the Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program are eligible. Municipalities are strongly encouraged to utilize their planning consultants from the Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program to define a project (or set of projects) scope and budget for implementation. Upon approval from MBI, municipalities may start project implementation and will be accountable to MBI’s reporting requirements, which vary by proposed focus area(s). Note that the process of applying to the Municipal Digital Equity Implementation Program will differ for municipalities that have not engaged in the Planning Program. More information is provided in the Program Details and FAQs.

Specifically, the Municipal Digital Equity Implementation Program will accomplish three goals:

  1. Enable municipalities to make local digital equity investments that will increase access, adoption, and usage of the internet for the populations most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Transition municipalities from the planning to implementation phase by providing funds to execute a project (or projects) indicated in their Digital Equity Plan, Digital Equity Planning Charette, or pre-existing plan deemed sufficient by MBI.
  3. Encourage collaboration and synergy with the Digital Equity Partnerships Program, which includes statewide and regional grantees with high capacity for digital equity work.

More information is available here.

The next grant round of Festivals & Projects will fund activities that provide public benefit using the arts, humanities, or sciences and take place between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. These awards of $2,500 will support cultural celebrations, concert series, film festivals, public art projects, art workshops, pop-up markets, art and nature hikes – and more – across the Commonwealth.

Eligible festivals, projects, and programs are publicly available or community-based. Funds will be available to support activities that are open to the general public, or focused on serving the needs of a particular community. This could be a geographic community, ethnic heritage, or cultural/tribal tradition and may include events, education, performances, conservation, or cultural revitalization efforts. Eligible festivals and projects may also serve portions of the general public requiring specific accommodation (i.e. seniors in care centers, incarcerated individuals, people with disabilities, people in recovery programs, etc.).

More details, including eligibility, are available here.

The Massachusetts Office on Disability, (MOD) is pleased to announce the Municipal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Improvement Grant Program application and selection process. Eligible applicants include any Massachusetts city or town. These grants will support capital improvements specifically dedicated to improving programmatic access and/or removing barriers encountered by persons with disabilities in applicant facilities throughout the Commonwealth.  Grants will be awarded to successful applicants to remove barriers and create and improve accessible features and programmatic access for persons with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth.

Examples include but are not limited to increasing both physical access and programmatic access through the addition of features such as: ramps, elevators, power lifts and Limited Use/Limited Application (LULAs) signage, communication access devices, curb cuts and/or any other features that are designed to improve architectural access and/or programmatic access.  Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that demonstrate real and tangible positive impacts to persons with disabilities.

More information is available here.