PowerOn, with generous funding support from T-Mobile, has awarded 17 LGBTQ+ organizations with technology grants. This special grant was announced as an opportunity to help offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on participating organizations by providing each accepted grant applicant with up to 5 technology devices, for a cumulative 125 devices across all grantees. All 17 organization began receiving the granted technology in December 2020 allowing them to kick off 2021 by serving the LGBTQ+ community with the new devices.
“We are extremely grateful to T-Mobile for making this end of the year mini grant possible,” said Christopher Wood, Executive Director of LGBT Tech. “So many LGBTQ+ supportive organizations have worked to move their programming, services and care online overnight while ensuring the LGBTQ+ community feels supported and connected during the pandemic. Support from T-Mobile means these centers will have access to tech to continue their work.”
PowerOn announced the new mini grant cycle on November 10 over social media: “In response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, PowerOn is launching a mini grants program to connect LGBTQ organizations with technology hardware.” Grant applications opened the same day and closed on November 22, with an informational webinar on the 16th for prospective organizations.
“T-Mobile is delighted to partner with the LGBT Technology Institute and nonprofits around the country in providing mobile broadband communications to members of the LGBTQ+ community who need it most during these challenging times,” added Michelle Persaud, Director and Chief Policy Counsel for T-Mobile Government Affairs.
During the application period, PowerOn received an overwhelming response from organizations across the U.S. and U.S. territories. Of the 17 organizations accepted into the mini grant program, 2 currently partner with PowerOn through its other grant programs. By the end of 2020, PowerOn will partner with 47 LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations across 29 states and 1 U.S. territory, a significant increase over 18 partner organizations across 13 states in 2019.
Since 2015, PowerOn has worked to provide hardware and devices to LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations across the United States. The tech each organization receives allows their clients to access important online services and resources like housing, employment, social services, and healthcare.
Technology is especially important for homeless, housing insecure, and at-risk LGBTQ+ people, who often rely on mobile tech to stay connected to existing support networks. LGBTQ+ homeless youth in particular rely on mobile tech to get the support they need to survive. LGBTQ+ homeless youth experience early death at twice the rate of their non-LGBTQ+ homeless peers. Access to tech helps reduce that risk.
The impact of COVID-19 has additionally increased the connectivity needs the LGBTQ+ community faces. With public spaces temporarily closed, LGBTQ+ organizations have had to shift their work online, often without the technological support they need to reach their clients. Support like the PowerOn Mini Grant allows organizations to stay connected to the people they serve and to keep those people connected to life-saving resources.
In the past five years, PowerOn has grown from an LGBTQ+ youth-focused organization to a national organization that provides support to LGBTQ+ people across localities and demographics. As we continue to grow, our focus has stayed the same: helping LGBTQ+ people survive and thrive by connecting them to the tech they need.
The following organizations were accepted into the mini grants program:
Choosing Our Roots, Anchorage, AL
Clock Inc., Rock Island, IL
The Diversity Center, Santa Cruz, CA
Equality New York, Brooklyn, NY
Harriet Hancock Center Foundation, Columbia, SC
Henderson Equality Center, Henderson, NV
LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin, Racine, WI
The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA
LGBTQ Lake County, Painesville, OH
Onslow County LGBTQ+, Jacksonville, NC
Out Boulder County, Boulder, CO
Queer Connect, Inc., North Bennington, VT
Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Sacramento, CA
Stonewall Library & Archives, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL
TransNewYork, Oakland Gardens, NY
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Waves Ahead, San Juan, PR