Community service

Funding to close the technology gap in the community services sector

By Geoff Agonbar – Local Journalism Initiative

The Quebec government announced $5.4 million to fund a three-year project called DATAide. Centraides of Quebec will partner with Open North to provide skills and leadership training to 3,000 community organizations fighting poverty and social exclusion in Quebec.

Of this total, $3.6 million is for grants to participating agencies to support technology implementation and acquisition. As they progress through the program, organizations will be eligible to increase support levels from $5,000 to $15,000 and then $50,000.

“The community sector lags considerably behind other sectors when it comes to technology,” explains Claude Pinard, Executive Director of Centraide of Greater Montreal. “Nearly 30% of community organizations in Greater Montreal were significantly behind in their use of technology even before the health crisis.

“It’s great to train people in data literacy, but if they don’t have the right equipment or support afterwards, what can you actually do?” says Maria Tomovic, Deputy Director of Program Delivery for Open North. “The way this program is designed, it’s not just about training but also grants. Its very important.