WREDC aims to support broadband efforts thanks to Blandin moneyWORTHINGTON — C.K. Blandin Foundation is seeking four project proposals promoting the use of broadband technology in Nobles County, and has $100,000 in federal stimulus money to distribute between four or more eligible endeavors.
WORTHINGTON — C.K. Blandin Foundation is seeking four project proposals promoting the use of broadband technology in Nobles County, and has $100,000 in federal stimulus money to distribute between four or more eligible endeavors.
“Our service clubs, and… organizations similar to service clubs — there’s a lot of good people involved in them, but we’re always working with minimal financial support and minimal time,” said Glenn Thuringer, manager of the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation (WREDC). “If we can provide some additional support and support the efforts of their members, I think there’s a lot of power there to be harnessed.”
Blandin received $1.1 million from the federal government for Blandin’s Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) program, to be divided between 11 demonstration communities. MIRC is funded through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
Blandin hopes to fund four or more projects designed to encourage the use of broadband technology to the tune of $25,000 apiece. If some projects require more funding, Thuringer hopes to draw in other entities and funding sources to help finance the projects instead.
“It’s $100,000, but it could be more if leveraged with other portions of the stimulus money that Blandin received,” Thuringer explained.
Project proposals are expected to include some of the following five elements — ensuring broadband availability, ensuring workers have the skills necessary for good jobs, ensuring all have broadband access and the skills to use it, providing new or more efficient government and business services and attracting investment and talent to the community.
“I know there are a lot of good projects out there,” Thuringer said. “If the entities (applying) want to come to the WREDC, we’d be more than happy to help formulate portions of it.”
Blandin’s mission, Thuringer explained, is to get broadband to everyone. Projects that work toward that goal are the most likely to be accepted for funding. Projects that include multiple organizations as partners will also have an edge in the competition for funding.
Projects providing widespread community benefits that are open to many community members are not required to provide matching funds. Projects primarily benefiting individual organizations for equipment purchases are required to provide a one to one cash match.
More information about Intelligent Communities can be found at www.intelligentcommunity.org.
Project proposals are expected from community organizations, including local units of government and not-for-profit organizations such as health care facilities. Private, for-profit entities can participate in partnership with eligible organizations.
The deadline for project proposals is Oct. 1.
For more information or a project proposal application, e-mail Thuringer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (507) 372-5515.