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The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program is a $268 million grant program to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the purchase of broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train information technology personnel.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, which will direct $268 million for expanding broadband access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and consortia led by an HBCU, TCU, or MSI that also include a minority business enterprise or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

“Communities of color have faced systemic barriers to affordable broadband access since the beginning of the digital age,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. “The investments we make as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will help communities that are struggling with access, adoption and connectivity, and will inform our path forward as we seek to finally close the digital divide across the country.”

The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program was established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Grants will be distributed to help HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs purchase broadband service or equipment, hire IT personnel, operate a minority business enterprise or a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, and facilitate educational instruction, including remote instruction.

“NTIA knows how crucial colleges, universities and other community institutions can be when it comes to reaching vulnerable citizens and making a lasting impact,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Evelyn Remaley. “We look forward to working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges or Universities, and minority-serving institutions to advance our shared goal of a fully connected nation.”

Closing Date: 11:59 p.m. EST on December 1, 2021

Information on Eligibility:The Act defines an eligible recipient as: (1) a historically Black college or university (HBCU); (2) a Tribal College or University (TCU); (3) a Minority-serving institution (MSI); or (4) a consortium that is led by a historically Black college or university, a Tribal College or University, or a Minority-serving institution and that also includes: (a) an MBE; or (b) an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code. Additionally, an eligible recipient must be in an “anchor community,” defined in part as having an estimated median annual household income of not more than two hundred and fifty percent (250%) of the poverty line. A consortium is eligible for a grant under the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program if it is led by an eligible institution as defined above.

Register for Upcoming Webinars:

When developing the submission timeline, please keep in mind that: (1) all applicants are

required to have current registrations in the electronic System for Award Management

( and; (2) the free annual registration process in generally takes

between three (3) and five (5) business days but can take more than three weeks; and

(3) applicants will receive e-mail notifications over a period of up to two (2) business days as the application moves through intermediate systems before the applicant learns via a validation or rejection notification whether a federal agency’s electronic system has received the application. (See for full information on application and notification through Please note that a federal assistance award cannot be issued if the designated recipient’s registration in is not current at the time of the award.

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