Coastline is thrilled to announce it is one of several Massachusetts organizations included in a $20 million digital equity grant award announced by the state and Massachusetts Broadband Institute at MassTech on Dec. 5.  

The grants are being made through the state’s Digital Equity Partnerships Program which supports high-impact and scalable initiatives that reach residents most affected by the digital divide.

They will fund five partnerships including a $3 million project through AgeSpan of which Coastline is a partner. The award will help older adult residents across the state access the internet and will include training services, increase awareness of fraud, and boost enrollment in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative and its Aging Services Access Provider partners estimate serving 2,400 older adults over the two-year grant period.   

In addition to Coastline, the AgeSpan partnership includes Mystic Valley Elder Services, Elder Services of Worcester Area Inc., SeniorCare 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 and MassAccess.   

“We are excited and grateful to be among the recipients of this funding,” said Coastline CEO Justin Lees. “As a non-profit, Coastline routinely tests out new programs to address the needs we identify in the community. Our technology classes have been extremely successful, earning us national recognition by USAging. We are hopeful to use this funding to expand technology education in greater New Bedford.” 

“Alongside our partners, we are proud to be part of MBI’s Digital Equity Partnership Program – an incredible opportunity that will address digital equity among older adults in more than 70 communities,” James Fuccione, executive director, Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative said in a released statement. “We are all aging and technology is always advancing, so our goal is to create a system of support to improve digital access for older adults now and in the future so that we can all fully participate and engage in our communities.” 

Overall, the grants fund five partnerships offering a range of services including regional networks of digital navigators who will train individuals in digital literacy, device refurbishment and distribution, neighborhood-scale broadband connectivity, digital education for workforce development, telehealth resource navigation, and a statewide effort to provide free WiFi in affordable housing and public housing developments.  

In addition to AgeSpan, lead partnership recipients include: 

  • The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, which will receive $3.75 million 
  • The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which will receive $5.6 million 
  • The Metro North Workforce Investment Board, which will receive $4.1 million 
  • UMass Lowell, which will receive $4.0 million 

“The Digital Equity Partnerships Program supports organizations across Massachusetts that help residents build their digital skills and get online so they can participate fully in our state economy, access modern health services, get connected to loved ones, and so much more,” said Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao. “We are excited to announce today’s grants through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, which will help make technology more accessible for everyone across the state.”  

“These monumental grants ensure that thousands of residents in communities across the state will have the tools and training they need,” said MBI Director Michael Baldino. “The digital divide is narrowing, and that is due to our strategic efforts to expand infrastructure and boost access. When high-speed internet is available in a Massachusetts neighborhood, these programs ensure that residents in that neighborhood can take advantage of everything the digital economy has to offer.”