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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. C-CAN ACTIVE ADVISORY BOARD, 67 CENTERS ACC/CTCNET SEED C-CAN VOLUNTEER (MINNESOTA) OPERATION VOLUNTEER EXEC FUNDING, ADC HUB: RECRUIT AND DIRECTOR, AC*VISTA FOUNDATION, MATCH TECH 2000 MEMBER MINNEAPOLIS VOLUNTEERS FOR FOUNDATION, COMPUTER LABS IN-KIND DONATIONS BY VOLUNTEERS

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    NAME STAGE OF ORGANIZATIONAL NO. OF FUNDING PROJECT WORK

    DEVELOPMENT STRUCTURE MEMBERS

    AACIS (SAN PHASES II & III OF COMMUNITY OVER 250 ACC/CTCNET SEED EVALUATION TOOL ANTONIO, TX) THREE-PHASE ADVISORY COMMUNITY FUNDING, LOCAL DEVELOPMENT DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEES, PARTNERS FUNDS, TIF (TEXAS 1999 PROJECT MANAGER, INFRASTRUCTURE PART-TIME FUND), U.S. DEPT. INSTRUCTORS OF COMMERCE TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY PROGRAM (TOP), SOUTHWESTERN BELL FOUNDATION MINI-GRANT MCEP REGISTRATION STEERING 6 PARTNER ACC/CTCNET SEED OUTREACH, (MONTANA) PHASE (25 PEOPLE COMMITTEE ORGS FUNDING, ROCKY RECRUITMENT, FOR INITIAL MOUNTAIN ADA FUNDRAISING 2001 TRAINING) CENTER RDNORTH BAY 5 LOCAL AFFILIATE OF 156 MEMBERS ACC/CTCNET SEED 3 ANNUAL NBCCC CYBERCITY CYBERCITY PETALUMA ED. FUNDING, CASH SYMPOSIUM CONSORTIUM, ROUNDTABLES FOUNDATION, GRANTS FROM CA STEERING VARIOUS LOCAL COMMITTEE COMPANIES, IN-1995 KIND SUPPORT (ORIGINALLY FROM LOVAL PETALUMA COMPANIES, NET) EDUCATIONAL, GOVERNMENT GROUPS; ALL-VOLUNTEER NETWORK CTN OF THE ACTIVE STEERING 180 ORGS, ACC/CTCNET SEED REGIONAL MEETING BAY AREA, CA OPERATION COMMITTEE INCL. 220 FUNDING, INDIVIDUALS SALESFORCE.COM 2001 FOUNDATION, IN-KIND DONATIONS FROM CTCNET (EMAIL LIST), SALESFORCE.COM, CAL. CONSUMER PROTECTION FOUNDATION; ALL-VOLUNTEER NETWORK PSACT INCORPORATING SCTA STEERING ? ACC/ CTCNET OUTREACH TO (WASHINGTON) AS NPO CORP. COMMITTEE SEED FUNDING, POTENTIAL PARTNERS BECOMING PSACT ARC (ASSOCIATED 1999 (AS FOUNDING BOARD OF RECREATION SEATTLE DIRECTORS COUNCIL) COMM. TECH. ALLIANCE)

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    #1: CTCNET NEW ENGLAND

    ; Mission and goals: The CTCNet affiliates of the Northeast are committed to supporting the

    programmatic and information-sharing needs of CTCNet members in this geographic region.

    While the group has a long-standing history of activity with CTCNet, none of its work is

    formalized. Short term, this regional collaborative is interested in solidifying its leadership

    base and building the resources to support a full-time regional coordinator. Long term, the

    collaborative would like to see increase in the information resources, training, and funding

    available to affiliates.

    ; History: CTCNet affiliates in the Northeast are fortunate in that early development of the

    affiliate network came from this region and helped to create a strong base for community

    technology in most of the urban centers in eastern Massachusetts from which this

    collaboration has grown. Additionally, funding through the NSF in the mid-90s provided

    these affiliates with a full-time (and later, part-time) regional coordinator. The region has

    been meeting regularly and since then has not had a formal plan or agenda for activities and

    has been organizing on an ad hoc basis.

; Stage of Development: Currently the collaborative has enough internal identity and

    cohesion to operate as an entity.

    ; Organizational Structure: The organizational structure is in its infancy. There is currently

    a steering committee, which will oversee the activities of the NE CTCNet Regional

    Coordinator slated to start 8/26/02.

    The steering committee will work with the coordinator to determine the programmatic

    priorities of the organization. The Coordinator will execute the committee's agenda and

    provide feedback and development input to the group.

    ; Decision-Making: Decision making will / does involve all stakeholders (affiliates, steering

    committee, and program staff)

    Currently consensus is the primary method for reaching decisions.

; Delegation of Work

    Starting 8/26/02, a full-time AmeriCorps*VISTA member, Adam Cohen, will have a one

    year commitment to begin this work with guidance from the steering committee (Marlene

    Archer, Jennifer Dorsen, Claire Murray, Felicia Sullivan, and a CTCNet staff person from

    the national office)

    The steering committee will provide oversight, general programmatic direction, and

    supervisory support to the Coordinator. The Coordinator will execute the program activities

    of the collaborative possibly with assistance from volunteers / interns.

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    ; Membership Criteria: Criteria for membership are currently being defined. As it stands

    now any affiliate of CTCNet residing in New England and / or individuals / organizations

    committed to the broader goals of CTCNet are welcome. This may change as the

    collaborative formalizes it. There are currently no accurate counts of those involved. This

    will be determined through the needs / asset mapping process.

    ; Number of Members: At this time, CTCNet affiliates within a 120-mile radius of Metro

    Boston are the primary participants in the collaborative which are about 100 CTCs and

    associated organizations.

    ; Communication Tools: All forms of communication will and are being used by program

    staff and regional affiliates - email, telephone, email lists, website, face-to-face meetings, etc.

; Other Networks with which CTCNet New England Communicates: The group is in regular

    communication with other CTCNet affiliates nationwide and has participated in several

    dialogues (face-to-face, online, and via phone with other collaboratives).

    Specifically, existing CTC collaboratives in Dorchester, MA (Codman Square), Lowell, MA

    (Lowell Community Technology Consortium), Chicago, IL (CTCNet Chicago Chapter),

    Minneapolis, MN (Tech Consortium), California (Computers in Our Future), Boston, MA

    (Greater Boston Broadband Network) and publication by ACC on model collaboratives have

    been useful.

    Additionally, Habitat for Humanity, International, Alliance for Technology Access, Boys &

    Girls Club of America, and the Alliance for Community Media have provided food for

    thought.

    ; Funding: With seed funding from ACC through CTCNet, we have been able to recruit and

    secure a full-time VISTA volunteer who will work with leadership to begin building the

    necessary financial and programmatic infrastructure to move the collaborative forward.

    Currently funds to support the Coordinator have come from a $2K seed grant from ACC

    through CTCNet combined with support for the staff person through the CTC VISTA

    Project.

    The Somerville Community Computing Center is providing space to house the VISTA and

    Lowell Telecommunications Corporation and the Newland Education Center has provide

    staff time for recruitment / development activities.

    Seeking funding to support the remaining administrative costs is a major priority for the

    collaborative during the next year.

    ; Evaluation: Once established, the consortium will create an evaluation plan to assess the

    impact of our activities. Certainly the needs /assets mapping will provide survey type

    information and attendance at regional meetings may provide further evaluative data. The

    collaborative has not determined any evaluation strategies beyond this.

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    ; Who’s Involved? : The collaborative currently runs regional meetings, shares information via the [ctcneweng] email list, and works in sub-groups with each other and other organizations. CTCs in the collaborative represent every constituency and programmatic activity of the larger affiliate organization.

    Through its affiliate-base, the region has close relationships with major academic institutions (i.e. UMass-Boston, MIT, UMass-Lowell, etc), government agencies (i.e. Dept. of Education, HUD, city municipalities), national sister organizations (i.e. Science Quest, EDC, Boys and Girls Club, etc.) and corporate entities (i.e. AOL, Verizon, etc.). However, none of these entities see themselves as interacting with a regional collaborative per se.

    It is unclear at this time to what extent individuals are involved. There is no formal mailing

     list or database of individuals.

    ; Project Work: The ACC seed funding allowed the collaborative to recruit and secure a full-time AmeriCorps*VISTA member to jumpstart the collaborative's activities. $1500 of these funds will go to the CTC VISTA project as an application / training fee and $500 will be put towards the Coordinator's attendance at the 2003 CTCNet National Conference in Washington, DC.

    ; Project Impact: Thus far, these funds have allowed the Northeast CTCNet affiliates the necessary motivation to move forward with their plans to formally develop the region. It is unlikely that the group would have moved so quickly without these funds.

    ; Network’s Current Primary Challenges: Major challenges faced by the collaborative are as

    follows:

    o securing resources to ensure the long-term sustainability of collaborative

    coordination

    o defining and formalizing collaborative structure, membership, and relationship with

    national organization, CTCNet

    o providing continued leadership and guidance to coordinator

    o providing necessary outreach and resource support to a diverse number of affiliates

    in a geographically disperse area

    ; Plan of Action: The group has determined that the priorities are as follows:

    o recruit and secure a regional coordinator

    o map the needs / assets of existing CTCs in the region

    o determine and implement an appropriate organizational structure for the

    collaborative that would allow for fundraising and resource development to support

    the regional affiliates (may include becoming an official chapter of CTCNet)

    o create a development and fundraising plan that will work towards covering all

    programmatic and administrative cost of regional activity

    o organize and conduct quarterly regional meetings and/or trainings focused on the

    development and resource needs of collaborative members

    o build online information sharing use and resources (i.e. current email list and new

    website)

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    #2: NEW YORK CITY TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES CONSORTIUM (TRC)

    ; Mission and Goals: The Technology Resources Consortium (TRC) represents more than 50 New York City organizations that are committed to bringing computers, technology, and related resources to schools, students, nonprofits, and community-based organizations, particularly in under-served and under-resourced communities. Resources may include volunteers, donations of computer hardware and software, technical assistance, professional development, curriculum development, and more. TRC members represent a wide range of organizations, and include organizations that provide resources as well as organizations that receive resources and volunteer services.

    ; History: The thread that links all those that attend TRC meetings and use the TRC email list is that they are affiliated with a nonprofit organization, corporation, or governmental agency that is committed to bringing computers, technology, and related resources to schools, nonprofits, and community-based organizations located in or serving under-resourced communities. Founding ideas include:

    o Groups working in this field should avoid the duplication of efforts. By meeting and

    sharing information at TRC meetings, participating groups can keep abreast of other

    programs and initiatives and can identify areas for potential collaboration. There’s

    too much to be done for groups spend time reinventing the wheel.

    o The Digital Divide in New York City is too big for any one group to bridge alone.

    At first, there was some degree of wariness about sharing ideas openly. Many

    member groups were just starting their programs, and there was fear of competition

    both in terms of mission and in terms of potential funding streams.

    o The TRC is an incubator for ideas but should not itself execute them. During the

    TRC’s first year, most group leaders felt that the TRC itself should not incorporate as

    a separate 501 (c) (3) from the beginning. No member group not even New York

    Cares was in a position to take on additional formal administrative or

    programmatic responsibility (and dedicate the staff to do this). In addition, it was

    felt that introducing dues or fundraising needs would jeopardize the informal and

    collaborative nature of the group that was developing.

    o Resources provided by TRC members include volunteers, donations of computer

    hardware and software, technical assistance, professional development, curriculum

    development, and other similar services for New York City.

    ; Stage of Development: The Technology Resources Consortium (TRC) was established in

    September 1998. Representing and serving New York City, monthly TRC meetings draw representatives from nearly 30 organizations each month; since its founding, more than 125 different people representing more than 50 organizations have attended meetings and joined the TRC listserv. New York Cares is the coordinating force behind the TRC. The TRC is led by a steering committee that is representative of the membership at large. All participants in TRC meetings are connected via an e-mail list, for ongoing communication and information sharing.

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