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Broadband Expansion

Bridging the Digital Divide through Broadband Expansion

Reliable, secure, broadband internet has become an essential lifeline for all communities and marketplaces, regardless of location, type or size. Yet, there remains an alarming number of U.S. businesses, residents and consumers who are seriously underserved by broadband internet access. These ‘dark spots’ in our shining digital economy compromise our collective quality of life and substantially limit commercial prosperity.

Sand Cherry Associates is dedicated to helping communities bridge this urgent digital divide

Federal and state funding for broadband infrastructure is at an all-time high. This unique moment in time for businesses, governments and service providers presents opportunity to finally, and fully, help close the Digital Divide in our country.

Ubiquitous, high quality broadband connects people to markets, services to people, health providers to patients, educators to students, landowners to agricultural technology. As government and tribal agencies, health providers, educational institutions, and community organizations look to leverage the power of broadband networks, Sand Cherry can help plan, navigate, and make that vision a reality.

Sand Cherry and our network of select Partners

can help you operationalize your strategic plan from start to finish, utilizing a team of subject matter experts in a multitude of functional areas.

Program Management, Data Management, and Reporting as we lead you through Strategic Planning, Funding Applications and Auction Support, Program Design and Vendor Selection, Engineering, IT, and Construction Project Management to Community Outreach, Deployment and execution, and Regulation and Funding Compliance.

Funding Resources

CategoryProgramDescriptionCoverageImportant DatesSponsor 
Rural Broadband ExpansionReimagining Rural Regions (R3) InitiativeThe R3 Initiative, initially funded by a grant to CRD from the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) CARES Act, is a community-led placemaking effort that is designed to leverage the expertise and capacity of BGSU faculty, students, and staff to enhance community assets to better position communities to retain and attract young workers, executives, and skilled workers.OhioApplication Deadlines:
April 9, 2021
Center for Regional Development and BGSU04/09/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionAppalachian Community FundACF makes grants on a yearly basis to grassroots organizations working to tackle the underlying causes of poverty and oppression in the Appalachian counties of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The General Fund is an annual board-directed program focused on assisting community-based efforts for social change. Awarded funds may be used for general support purposes as well as specific projects or programs.Appalachian RegionApplication Deadlines:
April 30, 2021
Appalachian Community Fund04/30/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionAARP Community ChallengeThe AARP Community Challenge provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more.NationwideApplication Deadlines:
April 14, 2021
AARP04/14/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionARC - Central Appalachia & North Central/North Appalachia BroadbandThe development of broadband communications networks is one of the best ways to equip communities with the basic “building blocks” essential for economic and community development. ARC is dedicated to continuing broadband deployment in distressed counties in Central Appalachia as well as funds for a program of broadband deployment in distressed counties in North Central and Northern Appalachia. Appalachian RegionApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Appalachian Regional Commission11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionRobust Network Feasibility Fund GrantsMatching grants for feasibility studies of geographically based broadband networks in rural areas of Minnesota. MinnesotaApplication Deadlines:
May 3, 2021
Aug 2, 2021
Nov 1, 2021
Blandin Foundation 05/03/2021
Rural Broadband ExpansionMinnesota Community Broadband Resources ProgramTechnical assistance and ad hoc consulting support for communities in Minnesota that are exploring high speed internet services. MinnesotaApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Blandin Foundation 11/11/21
Rural Broadband Expansion5G Fund for Rural AmericaAgency Seeks Comment on Proposed Program to Distribute Up to $9 Billion for Next-Generation Wireless Broadband Connectivity in Rural AmericaNationwideApplication Deadline:
2021 (month TBD)
Federal Communications Commission 11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionFoundation for Rural Service Community Grant ProgramGrants to support a variety of local efforts to build and sustain a high quality of life in rural communities across America. Focus areas include business development, community development, education, and telecommunications. NationwideEvery Year on Sep 30Foundation for Rural Service 09/30/2021
Rural Broadband ExpansionTelecommunications Infrastructure Loans and Loan GuaranteesLoans and loan guarantees for the construction, maintenance, improvement, and expansion of telephone service and broadband in rural areas. NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basis U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Rural Utilities Service 
11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionVirtual Living Room - Using Technology to Address the Critical Healthcare Needs of Veterans in Rural AreasA grant program that combines rural technology, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs resources, and local support to provide solutions to improve healthcare access for veterans in rural areas. NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Foundation for Rural Service,
NTCA: The Rural Broadband Association
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 
11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionRural Business Service - Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG)The program offers loans, grants and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services such as housing; health care; first responder services and equipment; and water, electric and communications infrastructure.NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basis U.S. Department of Agriculture11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionRural Utilities Service - Rural eConnectivity Pilot Program (ReConnect)ReConnect offers three types of funding options for broadband infrastructure to connect rural families, businesses, farms, ranches, schools, libraries, and public safety facilities to modern, high-speed internet. A rural area is eligible if it currently does not have sufficient access to broadband. NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basis U.S. Department of Agriculture11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionNorth Carolina Economic Infrastructure ProgramGrants to support infrastructure projects related to drinking water, wastewater, broadband, natural gas lines, railways, and roadways in rural areas of North Carolina. North CarolinaApplications accepted on an ongoing basis North Carolina Department of Commerce 11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionNorth Carolina Open Grants ProgramGrants for projects that strengthen North Carolina's long-term economy, especially in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and/or rural communities in the areas of agriculture, economic development, workforce preparedness, healthcare, education, and community vitality. North CarolinaApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Golden Leaf Foundation11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionPennsylvania Broadband Investment IncentiveDCED Administers several grants for broadband deployment to ensure adequate performance and accessability of broadband servicesPennsylvaniaApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development11/11/21
Rural Broadband ExpansionRural Relief Small Business Grant - LISCAs part of continuing commitment to elevate impact in rural America, LISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe's Rural Relief Small Business Grants program.NationwideApplication Deadline:
Feb 2, 2021
LISC12/02/2022
Rural Broadband Expansion2.5 GHz Band Rural Tribal WindowOpportunity for federally recognized tribes in eligible rural areas to apply for a portion of the 2.5 GHz band, which is suitable for mobile and broadband coverage. NationwideApplication Deadline:
Aug 3, 2020 
Federal Communications Commission 12/03/2022
Rural Broadband ExpansionWashington Rural Broadband ProgramLow interest loan or loan/grant packages to build infrastructure to provide high-speed, open-access broadband service to rural underserved communities in Washington for the purpose of community economic development. WashingtonApplication Deadlines:
Mar 15, 2021 and Mar 29, 2021
Washington State Department of Commerce 12/11/22
Rural Broadband ExpansionIllinois Connected Communities Grant ProgramWith $400 million available for broadband deployment grants targeting areas of greatest need, Connect Illinois is an equity-driven infrastructure program, first and foremost. Challenges tied to population sparsity, geography, or low take rate continue to stand as barriers to broadband ubiquity. In particular, Connect Illinois will seek to address disparities in broadband access and adoption in rural regions and black and brown communities across the state.IllinoisApplication Deadline:
Feb 8, 2021 
Illinois Department of Commerce12/15/22
Rural Broadband ExpansionMaryland Rural BroadbandThe Office of Rural Broadband’s mission is to ensure that every rural Marylander has access to broadband services, regardless of their zip code. Through partnerships with local jurisdictions and the private sector, the Office offers funding and technical assistance to help entities qualify for federal financing opportunities. The Office also has initiated a broadband funding structure through the Local Government Infrastructure Financing (LGIF) program at the DHCD to complement other funding sources.MarylandApplication Deadline:
Jan 15, 2021
Department of Housing and Community Development12/15/22
Rural Broadband ExpansionRural Digital Opportunity FundThe Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the Commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide.NationwideApplication Deadline:
July 15, 2020
RDOF Auction October 22, 2020
Federal Communications Commission 12/15/2022
Rural Broadband ExpansionDORA - The Broadband FundThe Broadband Fund exists to connect communities and fuel economic growth in unserved areas across Colorado. The Broadband Deployment Board provides grants through the Broadband Fund to deploy broadband service in unserved areas of the state. Since 2016 the Broadband fund has awarded $34.1 million to 43 projects, providing over 21,473 rural households across Colorado with broadband access. ColoradoApplication Deadline:
July 15, 2020
Department of Regulatory Affairs12/15/2022
Rural Broadband ExpansionArkansas Rural Connect Broadband Grant InitiativeGrants to expand broadband in rural Arkansas communities. The expected results of the program are increased educational, healthcare, and economic opportunities that lead to enhanced service access and quality of life. ArkansasApplication Deadline:
Aug 15, 2020 
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Arkansas State Broadband Office 
12/15/2022
EducationE-Rate - Schools & Libraries USF ProgramThe schools and libraries universal service support program, commonly known as the E-rate program, helps schools and libraries to obtain affordable broadband.NationwideFCC11/11/21
EducationAmerican Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and UniversitiesThis program helps eligible institutions of higher education increase their self-sufficiency by providing funds to improve and strengthen the academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability of eligible institutions. NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basisU.S. Department of Education11/11/21
EducationPromise NeighborhoodsThe Promise Neighborhoods program is authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NationwideU.S. Department of Education11/11/21
EducationBroadband Infrastructure Development GrantThe Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT), created in NRS 223 in the Office of the Governor, is responsible for the planning, mapping and procurement of broadband service and managing broadband infrastructure development funding in connection with the Nevada Connect Kids InitiativeNevadaOffice of Science, Technology and Innovation11/11/21
EducationAlaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving InstitutionsThis program provides grants assistance to eligible Alaska Native-serving institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions of higher education to enable such institutions to improve and expand their capacity to serve Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. NationwideEvery Year on March 16U.S. Department of Education12/16/2022
EducationImpact Aid ProgramsThe mission of this program is to disburse Impact Aid payments to local educational agencies that are financially burdened by federal activities. NationwideApplication Deadline:
Feb 1, 2021
U.S. Department of Education12/17/2022
EducationAsian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving InstitutionsThis program provides grants and related assistance to Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions to enable such institutions to improve and expand their capacity to serve Asian Americans and Native American Pacific Islanders and low-income individuals. NationwideEvery Year on Feb 27U.S. Department of Education12/27/2022
EducationNative American-Serving Nontribal InstitutionsThis program provides grants and related assistance to Native American-serving, nontribal institutions to enable such institutions to improve and expand their capacity to serve Native Americans and low-income individuals. NationwideEvery Year on March 23U.S. Department of Education12/27/2022
EducationTruist EPIC GrantThe $1 million Expanding Potential in Communities (EPIC) Grant program supports broadband initiatives in the southeastern United States, funded by Truist Financial Corporation’s Truist Cares* initiative, a $50 million philanthropic pledge to help rebuild communities in the company’s markets affected by COVID-19. As the administrating partner, the Internet Society will support local broadband expansion by funding complementary Internet connectivity solutions to help alleviate disparities in education, employment, and social welfare that are exacerbated by lack of access to broadband.NationwideApplication Deadline:
Feb 19, 2021
Internet Society12/19/22
EducationAbell Foundation GrantsThe Abell Foundation is dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life in Maryland, with a focus on Baltimore City.  The Foundation is committed to improving the lives of underserved populations by supporting innovative, results-oriented efforts to solve systemic social, economic, and environmental problems. MarylandApplication Deadlines:
Mar 1, 2021
May 3, 2021
July 1, 2021 and
Oct 15, 2021
Abell Foundation12/19/22
TelehealthCommunity Empowerment The NB3 Foundation’s Community Empowerment (national grantmaking) is designed to provide Native American communities, tribes and Native-led organizations with resources, tools, information and inspiration needed to create measurable impact and sustainable change in their own communities that benefit their children’s health. NB3 Foundation approaches its grantmaking by recognizing that Native American communities have the inherent knowledge, assets and values to address Native children’s health. By employing a variety of funding pathways, communities are able to focus their efforts at the levels they believe would have the most impact.NationwideApplication Deadlines:
April 12, 2021
Notah Begay III Foundation04/12/2021
TelehealthIdaho Rural Health Care Access Program (RHCAP) Awards funding to projects that help rural communities improve access to primary medical and dental healthcare through telehealth, community development, and recruitment/retention projects. IdahoEvery Year on Aug 30Idaho Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care 08/30/2021
TelehealthFoundation for Rural Service Community Grant ProgramGrants to support a variety of local efforts to build and sustain a high quality of life in rural communities across America. Focus areas include business development, community development, education, and telecommunications. NationwideEvery Year on
Sep 30 
Foundation for Rural Service 09/30/2021
TelehealthRural Health and Safety Education Competitive Grants ProgramFunding for community-based outreach education and extension programs at land-grant colleges and universities that provide individuals and families based in rural areas with information on health, wellness, and prevention. Projects should utilize telehealth, telemedicine, and distance learning strategies for education and training in minority rural communities related to opioids, preventing spread of COVID-19, and/or mitigating infection and transmission of COVID-19. NationwideApplication Deadline:
Apr 29, 2021 
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture 
04/29/2021
TelehealthNovarti COVID-19 Community Response FundGrants to support local initiatives and communities in the United States impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Novartis U.S. Foundation 11/11/21
TelehealthStrengthening Access to Care for Opioid Use Disorder Patients During the COVID-19 National Public Health Emergency: Recovery Support ServicesGrants to support projects designed to strengthen access to evidence-based opioid use disorder recovery services for vulnerable and high-risk populations during the COVID-19 national emergency. NationwideApplications accepted on an ongoing basis Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts 11/11/21
TelehealthDigital Healthcare Interventions to Address the Secondary Health Effects Related to Social, Behavioral, and Economic Impact of COVID-19 (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)Supports research to strengthen the healthcare response to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies. The main focus is the role and impact of digital health interventions to address access, delivery, and effectiveness of health assessments and interventions for secondary effects during and following the pandemic, particularly in populations who experience health disparities and vulnerable populations. NationwideApplication Deadline:
Mar 2, 2021 
National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute on Aging
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
12/15/2022
TelehealthCalifornia Behavioral Health Telehealth GrantsTelehealth infrastructure support to address the needs of individuals with substance use disorder and/or mental health disordersCaliforniaApplication Deadline: 
Aug 3, 2020 
California Department of Health Care Services
The Center at Sierra Health Foundation 
12/16/2022

Sand Cherry Services Include:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Financial Modeling
  • Funding Applications/Management
  • Auction Support
  • RFP Process
  • Vendor/Resource Selection & Management
  • Contracts and Negotiation
  • Network Engineering & Design
  • Construction
  • Financial/Budget Planning
  • Consumer Sales & Customer Care
  • Technical Operations
  • Project Management
  • Recruiting
  • Compliance
  • Reporting & Analysis
  • Funding Reimbursements
  • Community Outreach
  • Communications
  • Government Affairs
  • Supply Chain Management