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CBT commits $1.5 mill to bringing technology to local communities

Columbia Basin Trust’s new Community Technology Program is helping communities create spaces where residents can learn, create and use technology to bring ideas to life.

Much of life today revolves around technology. More and more people are seeing new opportunities in the areas of video and music production, creating digital art and animation or recording their own podcasts. Yet not everyone has access to the technology required to participate or thrive in this digital world. Soon, more Columbia Basin residents will be able to access digital equipment and software, with support from Columbia Basin Trust’s new Community Technology Program.

The two-year, $1.5-million program will provide grants and support to registered non-profits, and First Nations and local governments that operate public spaces like libraries and community centres. These organizations will be able to outfit their public space with sophisticated digital equipment so that residents can access the latest technology to help bring their creative ideas to life.

“It’s easy to say that everyone should be online these days, or using state-of-the-art digital equipment, but not everyone has the means to do so,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “This new program will help level the playing field so that Basin residents can enhance their digital literacy and get creative. They can try out things like 3D printers, robotics kits or receive training to learn, connect and create using technology for free at community spaces.”

Creating a tech-enabled community space may include purchasing equipment such as desktop computers with specialized software, video cameras, and digitization and recording studio equipment. The program will also support renovations to house the equipment, or acquiring suitable furniture. Educational and training components that teach the public how to use the equipment will also be supported.

The application process has two stages. First, interested organizations must submit an expression of interest by December 17, 2018. Selected organizations will work with a program advisor to develop the concept and write the application. A second intake will be held later in 2019. Learn more at ourtrust.org/communitytech.

This program is one of the ways the Trust helps communities address their priorities. It also supports community efforts through several other programs, including its Community Development Program and Community Initiatives and Affected Areas Programs. Learn more at ourtrust.org/community.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1.800.505.8998.