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Our field, community technology, grew exponentially during the

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Our field, community technology, grew exponentially during the

    America Connects Consortium

    Regional Development 2002

    Edited By Daniel Schackman

    Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet)

    A Partner of the America Connects Consortium (ACC)

    Led by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC)

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    SUMMARY P. 3

     #1: CTCNET NEW ENGLAND P. 7

     #2: NEW YORK CITY CTR P. 10

     #3: GREATER PHILADELPHIA CHAPTER OF CTCNET P. 15

     #4: TENNESSEE KORRNET P. 21

     #5: C-CAN, MINNESOTA P. 27

     #6: AACIS, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS P. 31

     #7: MONTANA COLLABORATIVE EMPOWERMENT PROJECT P. 37

     #8: NORTH BAY CYBERCITY CONSORTIUM P. 42

     #9 CTN, CALIFORNIA P. 48

     #10 PSACT, WASHINGTON P. 52

     ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS P. 60

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SUMMARY

    The America Connects Consortium has concluded a two-year project administered through CTCNet, to document and support the work of regional networks of CTCs and other organizations aiming to eliminate the digital divide. By bringing together these community technology leaders, the intention is to create added value to the work that each individual organization is doing by mutual support, resource sharing, fundraising, and a focus on regional interests.

    One component of the regional development portion of ACC is the seed-funding grants. In early 2002, CTCNet selected 10 consortia to support at a critical stage of their development. Grants of $2000 were provided to each of these networks. In some cases, the $2000 meant the difference between getting off the ground and remaining in the idea-phase of a network. Examples of projects undertaken with the seed grant included securing an AmeriCorps*VISTA member through the CTC VISTA Project as a full-time regional coordinator and conducting the first-ever needs assessments of CTCs in a given area.

    In all cases of the regional consortia, the impetus for development comes from the field. The activity and leadership is present and striving to institutionalize the network in some way. CTCNet aims to facilitate this growth while allowing specific objectives and project work to be defined by the regional network.

    Though there are differences in the history of the development of each of these networks, almost all of the ten grantees are non-incorporated networks and collaboratives, rather than structured 501(c) 3 organizations. The benefits of collaboration among those in the field doing the work in specific communities, without the strictures of a new level of bureaucracy, are strong and have great promise for building the field. That being said, there are some challenges that all of these regional networks share in the development phase that need to be addressed in order for them to run smoothly and maximize their potential.

Major challenges include:

Financial Resources: Funding for the work of the networks, tapping into regional funding

    opportunities without detracting from individual funding for organizations.

    Human Resources: Staff to do the work of the networks. Right now most of these networks are operating with volunteers and VISTA members, with leadership provided by key members of the community technology field in their regions both individually (for example as unpaid Executive Directors) and collectively (for example as Steering Committees).

    Another issue in that regard is the availability of people to do this work, on top of their full-time job responsibilities.

    Organizational Structure: Defining a structure that can support the work that needs to be done and that provides continuity, sustainability, institutional memory, and the ability to plan long-term goals.

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    Outreach: Making sure that the networks include a critical mass of community technology and digital empowerment organizations in their respective regions, so that their knowledge base is being drawn upon for the benefit of all, and that they in turn can benefit from access to and participation in the regional networks.

Collaboration with other regional and national groups: To draw on the strengths of these groups

    and not duplicate services.

    Setting up regional work: Some of the networks cover vast regions that require a commitment of time and money to bring members together in a central location.

    It appears that these networks are well aware of these challenges and are planning strategically to meet them, either through steering committees or outside consultants.

    The following profiles document the regional consortia as they existed at the end of the seed funding program (September, 2002). Each network was asked to capture its work in categories reflecting all aspects of the consortia, such as: Mission/Goals, Stage of Development Funding, Project Work and Impact, and Membership.

How to use this document:

    We hope that this report will be of great interest to each of the ten regional networks profiled, so that they can learn from each other as they move ahead with their work. We also hope that this document can be both useful to and inspiring for those who are venturing forth to build new regional networks. Each profile provides a narrative of the process of building a regional network, and each category of information covered can be referred to individually to get a cross-section of how each network has faced these particular challenges.

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    SUMMARY

    NAME STAGE OF ORGANIZATIONAL NO. OF FUNDING PROJECT WORK & DEVELOPMENT STRUCTURE MEMBERS

    FOUNDING

    DATE

    CTCNET ACTIVE STEERING APPROX. 100 ACC/CTCNET SEED REGIONAL NEW ENGLAND OPERATION COMMITTEE FUNDING, COORDINATOR CTCVISTA (AC*VISTA MEMBER) 1996 PROJECT NYC TRC ACTIVE STEERING 50 ORGS, 180 NO OPERATING TRC WEB SITE OPERATION COMMITTEE INDIVIDUALS BUDGET; (WWW.TRCNYC.ORG) 1998 ACC/CTCNET SEED FUNDING, SMALL DONATION FROM NY CARES FOR MEETINGS AND PRESENTERS PHILLY EARLY PLANNING 8-15 ACC/CTCNET SEED SURVEY OF LOCAL CTCNET DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE REGULARLY FUNDING, IN-KIND CTCS, DISSEMINATION ATTEND DONATIONS BY OF SURVEYS PLANNING MEMBERS 2001 MEETINGS 35 ON PLANNING EMAIL LIST 50-100 ATTENDED REGIONAL MEETINGS 251 ON PHILLY CTCNET EMAIL LIST o TENNESSEE ACTIVE 501C3 HOSTS 600 ACC/CTCNET SEED DATABASE & WEBSITE KORRNET OPERATION LOCAL/REG. FUNDING, CITY OF INFO ON PUBLIC GOVERNMENT KNOXVILLE, KNOX ACCESS COMPUTER 1996 AND NPO WEB COUNTY, IN-KIND LABS, COMPUTER SITES DONATIONS FROM CLASSES VOLUNTEERS, KNOX COUNTY, U OF TENN