In August 2020, Elaine Lilliston, Fairway District C4C Coordinator, suggested that we address the growing digital divide that was becoming more apparent daily as public school students were being required to participate in on-line learning due to school closures in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. She proposed that we encourage local churches throughout the conference to apply for mini-grants for their C4C partnerships to encourage innovation in offering opportunities to support and enhance on-line learning for our public school children in partnership with local churches.
These “C4C Community Connectivity Mini-Grants” would be funded by C4C with a September 30 application deadline to encourage prompt action on an immediate need. A user-friendly online application process was developed promptly by Derek Leek, NCCUMC Director of Communications, and was advertised widely throughout the conference.
A subcommittee of the NCCUMC C4C Committee assessed every application and provided helpful feedback to encourage successful applications. In just two months, eleven churches and two NCCUMC organizations that work directly with public school children received over $9,000.00 to enhance during- and after-school programs that provide safe and supportive learning spaces equipped with sufficient internet access.
We will be sharing success stories of these grant recipients in the coming months with the goal that other local churches will be inspired to replicate or adapt a model that best fits their own C4C public school partnership.