Connecting state and local government leaders
The winning initiatives leverage high-speed internet along with everything from virtual reality to GIS to better local education and workforce opportunities.
Mozilla emptied its Gigabit Community Fund with a final $280,000 award to 14 projects leveraging high-speed internet across five U.S. cities.
Grants ranged from $10,000 to $30,000 for gigabit initiatives in Lafayette, Louisiana; Eugene, Oregon; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; and Kansas City, Missouri.
The partnership with the National Science Foundation and U.S. Ignite saw more than $1.2 million go to 90 projects improving local education and workforce opportunities in its six years.
“Each of these promising projects leverages lightning-fast internet to make a positive impact in their communities,” said Lindsey Frost Dodson, the fund’s director. “This work—being led by school districts, nonprofits, and for-profits—can create more connected, open, and innovative U.S. cities.”
The Virtual Reality Ecoliteracy Curriculum in Lafayette uses VR to illustrate the effects of climate change and coastal erosion on “climate refugees”—displaced Native Americans belonging to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe in coastal Louisiana.
In Eugene, the Real-Time Wetland Restoration Mapping and Analysis project turns at-risk students into environmental watchdogs using GIS to track wetland restoration.
A full list of winners can be found here.
Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.