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Minnesota State Network Fund Guidelines -

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Minnesota State Network Fund Guidelines


This is reference material for Minneapolis neighborhood forums planning.

Minnesota State Network Fund [MSNet Fund] Guidelines

Developed and approved by the Minnesota State Network Fund Advisory Committee September 2004, updated January 2006


In general grants made from the Minnesota State Network Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation will fit within the overall systems and policy change criteria of TMF’s Community Grantmaking Guidelines [see ]. In addition, convening and start-up projects can be funded. Preference may be given to projects that have previously been funded by MSNet Fund and were successful in reaching benchmarks and improving digital access for low-income communities and digitally disadvantaged communities of color. Preference may also be given to organizations for implementation stage initiatives previously funded by MSNet Fund for planning and start-up.


The MSNet Fund views the Digital Justice Divide in terms of the opportunity disparity that has an impact on wealth creation, learning, jobs, services, and housing when communities are not digitally connected or equitably connected or lack the technology literacy necessary to take advantage of digital opportunities, and when that connectedness, access, and literacy is limited due to income, race or geography.

MSNet Fund will consider funding of partnerships, collaboratives or cross-sector projects to expand communications about the issues related to Digital Justice, the Digital Divide or specific telecommunications services for communities of color and low-income communities.

Funded projects may include:

  • Convening of stakeholders to develop partnerships, collaboratives or to expand communications across sectors about the issues related to Digital Justice, the Digital Divide or specific telecommunications services for communities of color and low-income communities.
  • Evaluations and reports that help refocus and shift the field of telecommunications and digital access towards a community-based approach (rather than solely a market-based approach).
  • Funding of those doing the work --- those organizations already engaged in telecommunications and communications technology (ICT) and community informatics and those working on infrastructure and community development projects with targeted populations and in targeted regions and communities in Minnesota.
  • Those projects that have received MSNet funding to start-up and need additional support to continue and reach goals of the initial grant particularly where MSNet funding can add value for the project.
  • New projects and on-going projects that address technology and telecommunications barriers as they relate to social justice, civil rights and human rights.
  • Lobbying and projects that address local, state and federal regulations impacting telecommunications and technology/digital infrastructure investments that are affecting low-income and communities of color in Minnesota: for example--- land use planning, local ownership, social entrepreneurship, micro-enterprise, tribal jurisdictional authority, among others.


Proposals should describe how one or more of the following are integral to the project in terms of goals, activities and outcomes:

1. Use and access to tech tools for policy advocacy on behalf of or empowering communities of color and low-income communities.

2. Focus on community empowerment rather than on individuals.

3. Incorporate community development strategies that will lead to wealth creation and economic opportunity for underserved low-income communities.

4. Policy change that will improve infrastructure investments made by  Tribal, rural, urban, or local development entities  State regulatory agencies or decision making bodies  Federal regulatory agencies  Utilities and service providers  Vendors using public infrastructure where Community Benefits Agreements [CBAs] explicitly name and benefit communities of color and low-income communities.

5. Content development with cultural relevance [that is, user-friendly tools, applications and innovations designed for and by low-income communities of color].

6. Next generation telecommunications issues and digital technology components.

7. Telecommunications systems with public switch telephone network requirements that would include:  Development of elements of broadband infrastructure  Newly developed and tested but not broadly distributed innovations

Proposals to MSNet Fund should address these questions:

1. What needs to be changed? [Define the issue]

2. What communities are currently affected? [Describe the communities you hope to assist.]

3. What are the current negative impacts? How are these communities digitally disadvantaged?

4. What impact do you hope to have on the issue if your project is funded?

5. How will the impact be monitored, measured, reported on?

6. Would there be a better way? If so, what are the barriers to that better way?

7. Is this a collaboration, a partnership? If so, who are your partners?

8. If not, are there stakeholders, partners who need to be part of the solution you are proposing?

9. What is the scope of impact? [pilot, limited geographic area, city, county, statewide]

10. Is this a cross sector issue?

11. How will you encourage others to participate?

12. How will this project engage and empower communities or color and /or low-income communities?

13. Are those communities represented in the planning, design, implementation, evaluation?

14. What issues, challenges, barriers may arise as you move forward?

15. How will MSNet Fund support leverage other support [describe any of the following: local, other foundations, corporations, individuals, tribal investments, state or federal investments]

16. Have you identified other revenue sources?

17. Are there any in-kind contributions? If so, please describe the source.

18. How will this project leverage support from local, state and/or national resources?

19. Is this project replicable? If so, how?

20. How did having a planning grant help you in developing this proposal?


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