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Growing the Internet 1 August 2022

Internet Society Announces Recipients of Second Round of $1M Grant Funding to Expand Internet Access to Underserved Communities in Texas, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington, D.C.

Grants Awarded in Partnership with Truist Cares COVID-19 Relief Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 1 August 2022 – The Internet Society today announced that seven recipients will share $1 million in grant funding to expand broadband access in their communities as part of the Truist Expanding Potential in Communities (EPIC) Grant. This second round of funding follows the $1 million in grants distributed last year to five recipient organizations and will continue to support broadband Internet connectivity initiatives to help alleviate disparities in education, employment, and social welfare in the Southeastern United States.

The Internet Society will distribute the grants to organizations and entities selected by an advisory committee of municipal and community networks and policy and community development experts. The grants will support community networks built, owned, and operated by local governments and organizations. The recipients of the 2022 Truist EPIC Grant are:

  • Connected Communities Wi-Fi Project in Washington, D.C., will receive $175,000 to deploy high-speed Wi-Fi at a DC Housing Authority property, connect residents to devices, and facilitate digital literacy and skills training programs.
  • Connecting for Good in Austin, Texas, will receive $175,000 to expand a project to connect low-income multi-dwelling unit buildings and nearby single-family homes across the city to free and low-cost broadband Internet service.
  • Edgewood ISD Connected Beyond the Classroom in San Antonio, Texas, will receive $175,000 to expand its network of home Internet access service for students across the Edgewood Independent School District.
  • Fifth Ward Internet Connectivity Project in Houston, Texas, will receive $175,000 to provide up to 700 low-income families with Internet access and offer options for increasing digital literacy skills, installing public Wi-Fi benches, and adding antennas and nodes to community spaces.
  • Montgomery Connects MoCoNet in Montgomery County, Maryland, will receive $175,000 to create in partnership with Older Adults Technology Services power by AARP, the Housing Opportunities Commission, and affordable housing developer APAH, a Senior Planet Montgomery smart connected community for diverse, low‐income older adults by providing 100 Mbps MoCoNet broadband, Emergency Connectivity Fund devices and digital empowerment skills training, to enable residents to be independent and engage with each other as a community.
  • Roanoke Connect in Roanoke Rapids, Town of Halifax, North Carolina, will receive $175,000 to expand a network to increase broadband access in rural northeast North Carolina counties with high poverty rates.
  • Sunnyside Technology Hub in Houston, Texas, will receive $175,000 to create a broadband coverage area in the Sunnyside community of Houston in an area of flat terrain that lacks tall buildings.

Many communities in those states representing the recipients do not have adequate broadband infrastructure, especially in rural regions, and, when they do, it is often too expensive for many residents. According to President Biden’s infrastructure plan, in Alabama, nearly 12% of residents live in areas without broadband infrastructure, and nearly one in five do not have Internet service. There are similar access and cost barriers in North Carolina and Florida, according to the Biden administration’s state-by-state infrastructure report.

After the success of the last round of grant funding, we were thrilled to once again provide support for projects that deliver for their communities by expanding Internet access—something that has only become more crucial as the pandemic has lingered. These additional grant recipients displayed extraordinary commitment and planning in addressing the urgent need to connect their communities, and we’re proud to expand our support for local efforts to build a sustainable internet infrastructure.”
Lynette Bell, President, Truist Foundation

Community networks are communications infrastructures built, managed, and used by local communities or municipalities and are a sustainable solution to address these connectivity gaps in underserved regions. The Internet Society has a long history of working with communities worldwide to fund, build and, train people with the skills needed to run and maintain community networks.

The Truist EPIC Grant recipients were selected from a pool of 47 applicants from across the Southeast. Their applications demonstrated need, community support, a long-term sustainability plan, and technical expertise and met the criteria of low-income, indigenous populations or communities of color. The grant is part of Truist Cares, a cooperative effort between Truist Financial Corporation, Truist Foundation, Inc. and Truist Charitable Fund to provide communities, organizations and individuals disaster relief and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.

About the Internet Society

Founded in 1992 by Internet pioneers, the Internet Society is a global non-profit organization working to ensure the Internet remains a force for good for everyone. Through its community of members, special interest groups, and 120+ chapters around the world, the organization defends and promotes Internet policies, standards, and protocols that keep the Internet open, globally connected, and secure. For more information, please visit internetsociety.org.

About Truist

Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank with total assets of $544 billion as of March 31, 2022. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.

About Truist Foundation

The Truist Foundation is committed to Truist Financial Corporation’s (NYSE: TFC) purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities. Established in 2020, the foundation makes strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities it serves have more opportunities for a better quality of life. The Truist Foundation’s grants and activities focus on building career pathways to economic mobility and strengthening small businesses. Learn more at Truist.com/Purpose/Truist-Foundation.

Media Contact:
Allesandra deSantillana
[email protected]

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