About Community Technology Grants

The funding for the MHCRC’s Community Grants program is made possible by local government’s ability to negotiate franchise agreements with companies that use the public rights-of-way for delivery of cable video services. The cities of Fairview, Gresham, Portland, Troutdale and Wood Village and Multnomah County created the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission (“MHCRC”) to regulate the franchise agreements and manage the public benefit resources provided under those agreements. The MHCRC receives dedicated funds from Comcast, Frontier, and CenturyLink and allocates the funds to serve the public interest. The Community Grants program is administered by the City of Portland Office for Community Technology.

For over 20 years, the Community Technology Grants program (fka the Community Access Capital Grant) has provided funding throughout Multnomah County to nonprofits, educators, libraries and local governments to support use of technology resources for a public benefit. The program invests in local entities to support the Institutional Network (I-NET) and in producing video content to be shared on the community media center channels in order to meet project-related goals and objectives. Current program requirements are limited to investments in producing video content only.

The Community Technology Grants program is a competitive grant-making process that begins with a Pre-Application. The MHCRC typically releases notice of available funds in October with an early December deadline for Pre-Applications.

Funds Available

Up to $800,000 is available for the 2021 grant cycle.

How much can I request?

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the grant funds required to complete their proposed project. A 50% match is required by the grantee.

Average grant size: $99,642
Median grant size: $52,000

Grant Assistance/Questions

MHCRC staff is available to consult on pre-applications or project ideas. Staff highly recommends any consultation request be received at least one week prior to the pre-application deadline. MHCRC staff may not be able to respond adequately to requests received within one week of the deadline. Please contact Rana DeBey, Grants Manager, at rana@mhcrc.org.

Eligibility Requirements for Community Technology Grants

UPDATED September 2020

Proposed projects must fulfill all of the following requirements to be considered for funding:

1.) Applicant must be a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, school, college, university, public library or governmental unit operating within Multnomah County, OR

  • The following entities are eligible to apply:
    • 501(c)3 non-profit organization
    • Public educational institutions, including primary and secondary schools, community colleges, colleges, universities and extension centers, and all similarly situated private and parochial educational institutions which have received the appropriate accreditation from the State of Oregon and, where required, from other authorized accrediting agencies;
    • Any agency of city, county or regional government;
    • Oregon Judicial Department and Oregon Department of Justice;
    • Public libraries; or
    • Organizations operating with a fiscal sponsor who is one of the above (the fiscal sponsor is the official applicant)
Although individuals and for-profit organizations are not eligible to apply, they may participate as project partners.
 

2.) Serve residents within Multnomah County, OR

3.) Produce video content to share on community media center channels in order to support project goals and objectives

Project goals and objectives must include the production of video content, along with other multi-media content, that will be shared on the community media center channels (namely, Open Signal and MetroEast Community Media, PCC, and PPS TVS). The community media center channels reach all homes, schools, businesses and other organizations that subscribe to cable TV service.

4.) Address at least one of the four public benefit areas identified for the grant program

  • Reducing Disparities: A proposed project in this area focuses on supporting eligible applicants which are led by, informed by, and directly benefitting Black, Indigenous, Latina/o, and/or other racial and ethnic communities facing current and historical policies and practices that have resulted in disparities. Projects that support individuals that are facing disparities for reasons of gender, gender expression, disability, age, or economic status are also eligible to apply under this area. The proposed projects should address barriers that limit or prevent individuals and communities from accessing services, information, communication tools and/or training. These barriers may be technological, geographic, economic, physical, linguistic and/or cultural.
  • Community Involvement: A proposed project in this area focuses on supporting and encouraging improved community involvement in issues of importance to a community. The project should enable a broad range of community residents and/or organizations in order to, for example, communicate, share information, provide increased transparency, promote community economic development, decide livability issues or promote involvement in local decision making.
  • Cost Reduction: A proposed project in this area focuses on providing not-for-profit or public services or functions less expensively. The applicant must be able to demonstrate how the project results in direct cost reduction or cost avoidance. Proposed projects may entail services or functions that are internal or external to an organization or agency. For example, updates to modernize equipment, create more efficient workflows, and streamline digital services where reduced costs are passed to community members.
  • Service Delivery: A proposed project in this area focuses on improving the delivery or increasing the effectiveness of public or non-profit services to the general public or to targeted individuals, groups or organizations. Service delivery improvements could include quality, effectiveness and/or accessibility of the service. The project may focus on services that are internal or external to an organization.

5.) Request for grant funds includes only capital costs for goods or services

Grant funds can only support project capital costs for goods or services whose useful life can be expected to exceed one year. Project capital costs which may be funded by grant funds include services, products, equipment or other resources whose useful life can be expected to exceed one year. For example, this could include video or data equipment; computer software or hardware; consultants, contractual services or personnel costs to design, install or test the capital project; consultants, tuition fees or personnel time to provide initial training on use of a new technology; building renovation; and internal network wiring in facilities are all eligible capital costs.
 

6.) Contain a commitment to contribute funding for at least 50% of the total project budget from sources other than this grant program.

Applicant matching funds must provide a minimum of 50 percent (50%) of the total project cost. Allowable costs which qualify as matching funds include almost all project costs. For example, project management and other personnel, fringe benefits, indirect costs that support the project, travel, costs of professional services, project evaluation costs, training costs, equipment maintenance or insurance could qualify as matching funds. Matching funds may be in the form of cash or in-kind donations. Example: if the cost of implementing your project totals $100,000 then you may request funding for capital costs related to the project up to $50,000.

If you have answered positively to all six eligibility requirements, then your proposed project is eligible for consideration under the competitive grant guidelines.

To download a list of eligibility criteria, click here.

To find out more about the availability of funds, application deadlines, and online application tools, please check out the Community Technology Grants online application tool.

Grant Review Timeline + Process

  • October 15, 2020: Grant Cycle Pre-Application Opens
  • December 10, 2020: Pre-Applications Due
  • January 2021: The members of the Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission (MHCRC) review the Pre-Applications and invite selected applicants to apply for grant funding by completing a final application.The members of the MHCRC review the submitted pre-applications collaboratively using evaluation criteria and discussion questions. Applicants are evaluated on a number of criteria including meeting published eligibility requirements, proposed project clarity and robustness, as well as the amount of community beneficiaries served by the proposed project.To support the MHCRC’s ongoing commitment to integrating equity into our grantmaking, additional equity-based indicators are monitored throughout our grant review process.
  • February – June: MHCRC staff engages applicants to finalize a grant application and contract.Once an applicant is invited to submit a final application, the Grants Manager will meet with the applicant to review the application criteria and overall process moving forward. The Grants Manager will engage with final applicants in order to complete full grant applications and, where appropriate, contracts for funding agreements.
  • Grant Term: Grant Implementation and Reporting RequirementsGrantees are expected to update the MHCRC on progress made towards realizing project goals and outcomes through semi-annual status reports. MHCRC staff and/or Commissioners also appreciate the opportunity to bear witness to your program/project through site visits when time allows. Grantees will be expected to submit a final report on the funded project including lessons learned, likelihood of the project continuing after the grant period, and sharing impact stories.