The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative is excited to join with AgeSpan and a group of partner organizations in announcing the award of a $3 million grant from the Mass Broadband Institute that will promote digital equity among older adults in more than 70 communities.
The award is part of a broader announcement by the Healey-Driscoll Administration that includes $20 million in new grants through the state’s Digital Equity Partnerships Program, which supports high-impact and scalable initiatives that reach residents most affected by the digital divide.
AgeSpan will partner with the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC) and a network of Aging Service Access Points (ASAPs) to help older adult residents across the state access the internet. This will include implementing training services to help blind or visually impaired individuals, increase awareness of fraud, and boost enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). MHAC and its ASAP partners estimate serving 2,400 older adults over the two-year grant period.
AgeSpan will serve as the contracting and fiscal agent on behalf of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative and includes the following organizations:
- Mystic Valley Elder Services
- Elder Services of Worcester Area Inc.
- SeniorCare Inc.
- Coastline Elderly Services Inc.
- Old Colony Elder Services
- Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services
- Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly
- Mass. Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
- Mass Law Reform Institute
The Digital Equity Partnerships Program launched in September 2022 to support organizations across the state in implementing projects that meet the digital equity goals outlined in the Commonwealth’s 2021 ARPA COVID recovery legislation. The Program is comprised of six initiatives that applicants can focus on within proposals:
- Wi-Fi Access: Implementing Wi-Fi in affordable housing and/or low-income neighborhoods.
- Public Space Internet Modernization: Improving infrastructure and resources in public.
- Connectivity for Economic Hardship: Providing “hot spots” to low-income/housing insecure individuals.
- Digital Literacy: Establishing digital literacy programs to train populations on devices, resources, and digital tools.
- Device Distribution and Refurbishment: Securing new and/or refurbished devices for distribution.
- Education, Outreach, and Adoption Support Initiative: Conducting outreach to increase the success of digital equity programs like the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
MHAC thanks AgeSpan for serving as the contracting and fiscal lead, all its partners listed above, and to Mass Broadband Institute for supporting this work to promote digital equity among older adults.