Pitt Technology Group and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with WON Communications, Graybar and the other key business partners in the area, will offer innovative grant opportunities for local nonprofits with increased technology needs due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The two grants, focusing on technology, will be offered beginning Friday, April 17, with grantees selected weekly until all labor availability and funds have been exhausted.
The first of two grants, referred to as “The COVID-19 Agency Technology Assistance Grant” will provide selected applicants with technology equipment and infrastructure deemed essential to the nonprofit’s mission. Pitt Technology Group, with help from partners, will be offering up to $150,000 in services and equipment to provide facilities with wired and wireless technology infrastructure, audio/video equipment for video conferencing, and custom software development for desktop and web applications.
Made possible by the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits that continue to provide job security during the coronavirus pandemic, the grant program will provide 2,000 to 2,500 PTG staff hours during this period.
“While most of PTG’s staff is busy remotely supporting client needs during this time, the employees who primarily install equipment have capacity because those projects have slowed,” said Kevin Waterland, owner and general manager. “We’re lucky to be deemed essential and I feel we owe it to our community to use this downtime to give back.”
The second and potentially longer-term grant will provide equipment and internet access to help nonprofits reach their clients via video conferencing and other web-based services. This grant aims to replace the face-to-face interactions that have been suspended during this time.
This grant referred to as “The COVID-19 Client Technology Access Grant” plans to set up Wi-Fi zones in large parking lots of key business partners. This would provide wireless internet access to people who are otherwise unable to access nonprofit services due to lack of home internet access. This opportunity is made possible through a partnership with WON Communications, which offers high-speed wireless and fiber infrastructure connectivity to large parts of Springfield, Bolivar and surrounding areas. Additionally, with assistance from CFO, PTG plans to offer a mixture of cellular data-enabled tablets and laptops to access these web-based services as well as technical support to non-profits providing this technology to their clients.
Applications for both grants will be evaluated by a committee comprised of company and CFO representatives, with preference given to current CFO nonprofit partners in the Springfield area. PTG and WON will provide the staff support, supplies and resources to the selected grantees. The CFO will support some associated expenses through its COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Application and deadline information for both grants is available at: cfozarks.org/techgrants