CBAN Receives Grant to Support Digital Equity for Rural Iowans

Community Broadband Action Network establish Digital Navigator Corps in Iowa

The nonprofit Community Broadband Action Network Corporation (CBAN Corp.) is proud to share that we have been awarded a grant in the amount of $380,591 through the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) to provide digital equity education and resources to communities in rural Iowa. 

The grant is part of a $10 million investment from Google.org to establish a national Digital Navigator Corps. It supports the hiring and establishment of 18 community-based digital navigators across the country for three years, through August 2025. CBAN was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide. 

“The NDIA and Google understand that areas with lower population density are the most vulnerable to being left on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Jon Anne Willow, CBAN co-founder and President. “This program is a great start in terms of closing that gap.”

NDIA sub-grantees, including CBAN, will receive programmatic and technical support to further develop NDIA’s digital navigator model for rural and Tribal communities. The program will help thousands of Iowa residents to gain much-needed access to the internet, devices, and digital skills training. 

“The grantors have been very helpful,” said Todd Kielkopf, CBAN co-founder and Treasurer. “The NDIA is providing great programmatic support while still allowing us to work the way that’s best for our local communities.” Kielkopf will serve as Program Manager for Iowa’s Digital Navigator program. 

Digital navigators are trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices. Iowa’s digital navigator will provide one-on-one assistance with affordable internet access, device acquisition, technical skills, and application support, including for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) broadband service subsidy. 

“There are so many ways we’ll be able to help people, and having the program funded for three years shows Google and NDIA’s commitment to its success,” said Curtis Dean, CBAN co-founder and Vice President. “We are equally committed as CBAN expands its ability to educate, support, and serve communities across our nationwide member base.”

BACKGROUND

The 18 National Digital Navigator Corps grantees are:

  • Alaska Federation of Natives, AK (Tribal-led)
  • Cayuse Native Solutions, OR (Tribal-led)
  • Cherokee Nation Tribe, OK (Tribal-led)
  • Community Broadband Action Network Corp, IA
  • Community Service Programs of West Alabama, Inc., AL
  • Computer Reach, PA
  • Easter Seals of Greater Houston, Inc., TX
  • Forest County Broadband Committee, WI (serving Tribal communities)
  • Gila River Broadcasting Corporation: Digital Connect Initiative, AZ (Tribal-led)
  • Hocking Athens Perry Community Action, OH
  • Hoopa Valley Public Utilities District, CA (Tribal-led)
  • Lummi Indian Business Council, WA (Tribal-led)
  • National Digital Equity Center, ME (serving Tribal communities)
  • Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission, OH
  • Pottsboro Area Public Library, TX
  • Pueblo of Jemez, NM (Tribal-led)
  • Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc., KY
  • Washington State University Extension Grays Harbor County, WA (serving Tribal communities)

About National Digital Inclusion Alliance: NDIA advances digital equity by supporting community programs and equipping policymakers to act. Working collaboratively with more than 850 digital inclusion practitioners, NDIA advocates for broadband access, tech devices, digital skills training, and tech support. Please see more information and join the NDIA community at digitalinclusion.org. To learn more about the Digital Navigator Corps pilot program, visit digitalinclusion.org/dn.

About Google.org: Google.org, Google's philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world's biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle.

What Is a Digital Navigator?: Digital navigators are trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices. Digital navigation services include ongoing one-on-one assistance with affordable internet access, device acquisition, technical skills, and application support. The digital navigator model is a holistic, community-based, digital inclusion program established by NDIA and developed by the NDIA community of digital inclusion practitioners. See more information and resources at digitalinclusion.org/dn.