Ensuring federal broadband investment reaches communities that need it most

Broadband has the potential to transform the future of work for rural areas by opening the door to inclusive opportunity and more equitable local economies. But the lack of access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet and digital skills has kept this transformation out of reach.

As part of our Federal Access Center, we’re placing a special focus on broadband to help drive public investment to the rural and tribal communities that remain among the most disconnected.

“Funding for digital equity makes up less than one percent of overall giving by large foundations — and we intend to change that. We’re committed to accelerating investment in energy communities that need digital infrastructure, but for too long have lacked the resources to access it.”

– Heidi Binko, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the JTF

The Opportunity

Economic research has linked broadband access and adoption in rural areas with increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation and home values, and lower unemployment. But the absence of broadband impedes local economic development while adding to a host of other challenges.

Community and economic development organizations and local governments have essential roles to ensure people in rural areas have access to this critical infrastructure, can afford the service once it’s available, and have the necessary skills to use the internet to create opportunities in their community.

The JTF is partnering with local communities to seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity created by the availability of nearly $100 billion in federal funds to make reliable broadband accessible and affordable.

Types of Support

We currently offer two types of support based on your project stage:

Application Ready

Do you already have a project developed and are ready to apply for federal or state broadband funding?

We offer grants of up to $100,000 and technical assistance to help develop competitive applications. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes, such as hiring a grant writer or to qualify as private matching funds.

Early Stage

Are you still working to define and develop a broadband project and need more support before you’re ready to apply for federal or state funding?

We’re currently offering a limited number of grants up to $150,000 and technical assistance to help organizations build their capacity or conduct project planning and feasibility studies to increase their readiness to apply for federal or state broadband funding.

Available Support

Through grants and technical assistance offered on a rolling basis, we can help communities identify, prepare, and apply for federal broadband funding.


We provide direct grants proportional to the size of the potential federal funding amount, up to $100,000, to support a range of costs associated with developing applications, including:

  • Engaging experts for research, analysis, and/or grant writing
  • Organizing or deepening inclusive community partnerships
  • Conducting stakeholder engagement and support community planning
  • Qualifying as private matching funds

Technical Assistance

We offer individualized technical assistance provided by our team of experts to help organizations:

  • Identify funding programs your project is eligible for
  • Understand the program’s application process and requirements
  • Identify and build relationships with federal program contacts
  • Review the grant proposal before submission

We also have experts available to help communities launch community-driven planning processes to identify fundable projects.

Take the First Step

Let us know about your project with our interest form, and we’ll reach out directly to learn more.


  • 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and local governments serving coal communities are eligible to apply for grants and technical assistance.
  • We welcome proposals from coal-impacted communities across the nation.
  • We prioritize proposals from those communities that have been economically hardest hit by the decline of the coal industry and that have the highest concentration of marginalized populations.

Contact Natalie Roper at [email protected] if you aren’t sure whether you qualify for assistance.

Broadband Projects We’ve Supported

To kick off the Broadband Initiative, the JTF has invested nearly $1 million in eight organizations working to close the digital divide in coal-impacted communities across the U.S.

Early Stage: Through grants of up to $150,000 and technical assistance, the JTF is supporting four organizations to build staff capacity to develop broadband projects for future federal funding.

Application Ready: By providing grants of up to $25,000 and technical assistance, the JTF supported four organizations to apply for the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Outreach Grant Program. This FCC grant program funds community organizations to help enroll eligible households in the Affordable Connective Program, a monthly broadband subsidy intended to increase internet affordability that received $14 billion in additional funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Take the First Step

Let us know about your broadband project with our interest form, and we’ll reach out directly to learn more.

Education & Resources

Recipients of broadband grants or technical assistance are invited to join our community of practice. Through ongoing open calls and relationship building, we support and connect communities with one another to facilitate peer learning, mentorship, and the sharing of best practices. 

In addition to grants and technical assistance, we work with national experts to develop resources and host webinars so that community and economic development organizations in coal communities are aware of opportunities to get involved. Topics include upcoming federal funding opportunities, the role of community organizations in accurate broadband mapping, opportunities for comprehensive outreach about the Affordable Connectivity Program, workforce development, and digital skilling in rural areas.

Get Started

Complete our simple interest form to get started. We will follow up to learn more about your project and needs.