Tech Support Grants

SSTC Receives Multiple Tech Support Grants

Smart Start of Transylvania County Receives Multiple Tech Support Grants

Smart Start of Transylvania County (SSTC) has received two grants in support of an ongoing collaborative digital inclusion program aiding Transylvania families with young children. 

SSTC began outreach in 2020 to local families after the pandemic cast a wide light on the lack of digital inclusion in our community. Digital inclusion relates to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities, especially those most disadvantaged, have equitable access to and use of: broadband internet, digital literacy training, internet-enabled equipment, and technical support. In this day and age when every service, task, and necessary information can be found online, no one person or family should be excluded. 

By collaborating with Through the Trees, a local nonprofit with a mission of connecting the rural community through technology, the program has been able to serve more families across a broader scope of technological needs. By connecting families with digital navigator services, equipment, or access, SSTC has been able to assist 50 families. These recent grants will allow the program to grow in capacity and serve upwards of 80 families over a one and a half-year period. 

Regarding this program, SSTC Executive Director Deb Tibbetts stated,” We are striving to support and equip Transylvania County families with technology access so that their children may continue to thrive and learn. Our hope is that they feel secure enough to have a natural curiosity and wonder about their world.”

Funding for this program was provided by the Transylvania Endowment, an affiliate fund of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC). The Transylvania Endowment is an endowment created to support the charitable needs of our community and improve the quality of life in Transylvania County. In addition, a new program from the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State (IEI) called “Building a New Digital Economy” (BAND-NC) awarded SSTC with a Community Innovation fund. BAND-NC is supporting communities across the state of North Carolina who want to “implement digital inclusion plans, begin a digital inclusion planning process, or who are looking to meet immediate digital needs”. 

For more information on these funds visit: