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The Florida Senate

2010 Florida Statutes

F.S. 1004.52

Community computer access grant program.


The Legislature finds that there is a growing digital divide in the state, manifested in the fact that many youths from distressed urban communities do not possess the degree and ease of access to computers and information technologies which youths in other communities in the state possess. This disparity in access to rapidly changing and commercially significant technologies has a negative impact on the educational, workforce development, and employment competitiveness of these needy youths, and thereby impedes the economic development of the distressed urban communities in which these youths reside. Although many public libraries offer users access to computers and are increasingly making library materials available to the public through electronic means, many youths from distressed urban communities do not live near a library that has such technology and do not have computers to access Internet-based virtual libraries. Neighborhood organizations, such as churches, are more likely, however, to be located in closer proximity to the homes of these youths than are educational institutions or libraries, and these youths are more likely to gain the desirable computer access at church-related or other neighborhood facilities than at other institutions. The Legislature therefore finds that a public purpose is served in enhancing the ability of youths from these communities to have access to computers and the Internet within the neighborhoods in which they reside.


Subject to legislative appropriation, there is created the Community High-Technology Investment Partnership (CHIP) program to assist distressed urban communities in securing computers for access by youths between the ages of 5 years and 18 years who reside in these communities. The program shall be administered by the Institute on Urban Policy and Commerce at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University pursuant to a performance-based contract with the Division of Library and Information Services of the Department of State. The division shall develop performance measures, standards, and sanctions for the program. Performance measures must include, but are not limited to: the number of youths obtaining access to computers purchased under this program; the number of hours computers are made available to youths; and the number of hours spent by youths on computers purchased under this program for educational purposes. The administrative costs for administration of this program cannot exceed 10 percent of the amount appropriated to the division for the program.


Under this program, neighborhood facilities, through their governing bodies, may apply to the institute for grants to purchase computers that will be available for use by eligible youths who reside in the immediate vicinity of the neighborhood facility. For purposes of this program, eligible neighborhood facilities include, but are not limited to, facilities operated by:


Units of local government, including school districts.


Nonprofit, faith-based organizations, including neighborhood churches.


Nonprofit civic associations or homeowners’ associations.


Nonprofit organizations, the missions of which include improving conditions for residents of distressed urban communities.

To be eligible for funding under this program, a nonprofit organization or association must hold a current exemption from federal taxation under s. 501(c)(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code.


Notwithstanding the eligibility of the organizations identified in paragraph (a), the institute shall give priority consideration for funding under this program to applications submitted by neighborhood churches or by neighborhood-based, nonprofit organizations that have as a principal part of their missions the improvement of conditions for residents of the same neighborhoods in which the organizations are located. The institute also shall give priority consideration to organizations that demonstrate that they have not been awarded community enhancement or similar community support grants from state or local government on a regular basis in the past. The institute shall develop weighted criteria to be used in evaluating applications from such churches or organizations. Funding under this section shall not be used for religious or sectarian purposes.


The institute shall develop guidelines governing the administration of this program and shall establish criteria to be used in evaluating an application for funding. At a minimum, the institute must find that:


The neighborhood that is to be served by the grant suffers from general economic distress.


Eligible youths who reside in the vicinity of the neighborhood facility have difficulty obtaining access to a library or schools that have sufficient computers.


The neighborhood facility has developed a detailed plan, as required under subsection (5), for:


Providing youths who reside in the vicinity of the facility with access to any computer purchased with grant funds, including evening and weekend access when libraries and schools are closed.


Promoting the maximum participation of neighborhood youths in use of any computers purchased with grant funds.


As part of an application for funding, the neighborhood facility must submit a plan that demonstrates:


The manner in which eligible youths who reside in the immediate vicinity of the facility will be provided with access to any computer purchased with grant funds, including access during hours when libraries and schools are closed.


The existence of safeguards to ensure that any computer purchased with grant funds is reserved for the educational use of eligible youths who reside in the immediate vicinity of the facility and is not used to support the business operations of the neighborhood facility or its governing body.


The existence, in the neighborhood facility, of telecommunications infrastructure necessary to guarantee access to the Internet through any computer purchased with grant funds.


To the maximum extent possible, funding shall be awarded under this program in a manner designed to ensure the participation of distressed urban communities from regions throughout the state.


The maximum amount of a grant which may be awarded to any single neighborhood facility under this program is $25,000.


Before the institute may allocate funds for a grant under this program, the institute and the eligible neighborhood facility must execute a grant agreement that governs the terms and conditions of the grant.


The institute shall establish minimum requirements governing the specifications and capabilities of any computers purchased with funds awarded under this grant program.


s. 199, ch. 2002-387; s. 29, ch. 2009-80.