Skip to main content

Illinois Connected Communities

Illinois Connected Communities is a collaboration among the Illinois Office of Broadband, the Illinois-based Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, and local philanthropy. The six-month program is designed to engage a cohort of communities through best practice curriculum, expert consultation, and a state grant of up to $15,000.  Approximately 50 hours of free consultation helps communities define their technology goals; measure current levels of broadband access, adoption, and use; and seek additional technical assistance and funding to meet community needs.

By the end of the six-month program, each Illinois Connected Community completes a community-driven, broadband strategic plan that articulates the community's broadband vision and identifies an action plan for progress toward improved broadband access in the areas of community and economic development, education, civic engagement, healthcare, agriculture, and more. 

In 2020-21, an initial cohort included four school districts, two community-based organizations, two local governments, two county-level organizations, and two economic development groups:

  • Brown County School District 1
  • City of Harvey
  • Housing Authority of Champaign County
  • Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois
  • Mattoon School District 2
  • McKinley Park Development Council
  • Mercer County Better Together
  • Neighborhood Network Alliance
  • Palatine School District 15
  • Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163
  • Region 1 Planning Council (Winnebago County and City of Rockford)
  • Village of Flanagan

 In 2021-22, a second cohort included one school district, two community-based organizations, three local governments, and two county-level organizations:

  • City of Carrollton
  • City of Waukegan
  • Community Builders (Chicago)
  • Fairmont City
  • Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (Tazewell County)
  • Internet Freedom for McHenry County
  • North Chicago CUSD 187
  • The Center: Resources for Teaching and Learning/Latinx Digital Leaders Now (DLN)