OTTAWA, OCTOBER 3, 2022 – Today, CIRA launched its new guide, How To Fund Digital Equity In Canada: A Guide for Funders, which aims to help Canadian funders address the important and overlooked issue of digital equity.
Communities across Canada have been dealing with lack of connectivity, poor internet know-how and unaffordable access to technology, which the pandemic exposed and further exacerbated. While funders are seeing the direct connection between digital equity and improved social outcomes—such as access to education, employment or online health supports—funders have been challenged to respond.
Whether it’s the idea that the connectivity problem is too big and expensive to solve, or just the unfamiliarity with the digital funding space, CIRA’s new guide breaks down the barriers funders have expressed experiencing while offering practical advice to get past them and start funding digital equity.
CIRA’s guide features:
- Real-life examples of community-driven and non-profit digital equity projects that align with social impact funder priorities, including examples from CIRA’s own Community Investment Grants Program
- Perspectives from funders in Canada’s philanthropic community on what has been holding them back
- Advice on getting past the perceived barriers to funding digital equity
- Suggested starting points for working in collaboration with other funders already in the space.
The How To guide builds on previous landmark research in CIRA’s Unconnected and Getting Connected reports. These reports found that digital equity funding was limited, but that funders knew that a change was needed. In fact, funders reported that digital inequity issues created a domino effect that stalled their efforts to engage Canadians on urgent social issues including climate change and racial justice. As many Canadians continue to feel the exclusionary effects of the digital divide, CIRA’s guide is a practical, must-read resource to help funders understand digital equity providing actionable solutions on how to get started.
“Without required funding and resources, digital inequity persists in Canada, and communities are being left behind. For the last decade, CIRA has been one of the few non-governmental sources of digital equity funding through our annual grants program. More is needed, however, and we’re glad to see funders from across the country recognizing the urgency. This guide is a resource for funders, meant to accompany them as they apply these concepts to the important work they do. We know our previous reports on the lack of digital equity funding have spearheaded important conversations. We hope this guide leads to action.”
- Tanya O’Callaghan, vice president of community investment, policy and advocacy
About CIRA and CIRA Grants
CIRA is the national not-for-profit best known for managing the .CA domain on behalf of all Canadians. The corporation also offers enterprise-quality registry, DNS and cybersecurity services to organizations across Canada and around the world. As a member-based, mission-driven not-for-profit, CIRA also has a much broader goal to promote a trusted internet for Canadians. A portion of every .CA domain registered or renewed helps give back to the internet community through CIRA's Community Investment Program. CIRA Grants is one of our most valuable contributions to this program with millions funded in community-led internet projects that address infrastructure, digital literacy, cybersecurity and community leadership needs.