GrowSmart Maine Awards $35,000 in Digital Equity Stipends to Area Libraries and Nonprofits in Kennebec County

GrowSmart Maine is pleased to announce the first recipients of its Digital Equity Stipend Fund. Nine area organizations in Kennebec County will share more than $35,000 in funding to implement programs that help people access digital skills training, furnish remote workspaces, access devices, and support outreach and staff costs associated with these programs.

The Digital Equity Stipend Fund provides libraries, tribal organizations, and nonprofit organizations in Kennebec County funding to increase digital literacy, provide device access, and promote online safety. The Stipend Fund was developed by GrowSmart Maine’s Kennebec Broadband Partnership, with funding from the Maine Connectivity Authority.

Recipients include the University of Maine Augusta’s Prison Education Partnership, which helps people in reentry after incarceration to access education, housing, and work; Albert Church Brown Memorial Library in China for upgrades to antiquated computers, routers, and accessories so they can offer onsite digital skills training; and the Oakland Public Library, to outfit remote workspaces with devices, furniture, and equipment.

Two organizations, Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec and Family Violence Project submitted a joint proposal to provide devices, training, and support for individuals escaping domestic violence.

“Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec (LVK) is grateful for funds awarded through the Kennebec Digital Equity Stipend Program,” said Virginia Marriner, Executive Director of LVK. “This award allows LVK to partner with the Family Violence Project (FVP) to provide technology skills and devices to individuals escaping domestic violence. The goal is to empower survivors of domestic violence with the necessary technological skills and resources to enhance their safety, independence, and overall well-being as they transition to a life free from abuse. Survivors can gain more independence to make healthy and safe choices and explore avenues for pursuing education or employment opportunities with advanced technology skills. For those with limited income, the program will provide a device and a $100 scholarship to establish a new internet provider account.”

Rolling applications will continue to be accepted until September 30, 2024, or until funds are expended. For more information please contact Hildie Lipson, Program Director at or see

Recipients in this first round of funding include: 

Prison Education Partnership at UMA for devices and training for residents of Kennebec County recently released from incarceration.
Oakland Public Library for computers, furniture, and equipment for public use.
–Give IT Get IT in Waterville to support their full-time digital equity technical support employee.
Mt. Vernon Tech Support Program at Dr. Shaw Memorial Library to support their paid one-on-one tech support program and to provide outreach about the program.
Literacy Volunteers of Kennebec and Family Violence Project to provide survivors of domestic abuse devices, training, and a small stipend to establish internet service at a new residence.
Gardiner Public Library for training to target populations and outreach about their digital literacy programs.
Lithgow Public Library in Augusta to purchase devices for public use and Accessible Technology tools to borrow as part of their “Library of Things.”
Vassalboro Public Library for devices and furniture to purchase devices for public use and equipment to offer group digital literacy classes and remote workspaces.
-China Library Association  (Albert Church Brown Memorial Library) for updated computers, routers, and expenses for offering group digital literacy classes and one-on-one help.