Fall-Winter 2002-2003

CTCNet Update
by Daniel Schackman

Karen Chandler

In September, CTCNet Executive Director Karen Chandler announced that she is leaving CTCNet in 2003. Said Chandler, "It is with very mixed feelings that after nearly four years of service to CTCNet members, I have decided to move on. My primary reason for leaving CTCNet is so that I may move back to California to be closer to loved ones."

Chandler joined CTCNet as a Project Coordinator in 1999 when she designed and coordinated the Leadership Development Institute, the CTCNet intensive training program for center directors, orchestrated two CTCNet National Conferences, assisted in developing partnerships, and provided general support services to member centers. She served as the Acting Executive Director from June 2000 until June 2001, when the Board of Directors voted to name her the Executive Director, sharing the leadership role in the organization with Stephen Ronan, Managing Director.

Karen Chandler at CTC VISTA Pre-Service OrientationChandler would like to return to international development work which she developed a passion for while working in the community building field for two years in Cape Town, South Africa. Responding to the news, Erroll Reese, President of the CTCNet Board of Directors said, "As Board President, I would like to thank Karen for her role in the success of CTCNet over the past four years and wish much success to her in future endeavors."

CTCNet Opens Washington, DC Office

This fall CTCNet expands its reach to the heart of national policy and foundation activity with the opening of a Washington, DC office. The October 1, 2002 opening marks the culmination of one of CTCNet's strategic goals set last fall in response to affiliate feedback which called for CTCNet to take a leading role in shaping digital divide policy in our nation's capital.

John Zoltner
John Zoltner, the newly hired Director of Policy and Programs, has an extensive background in community technology at the grassroots and national levels. Most recently, he has worked for Gateway at Edgewood Terrace and Technology Works for Good, which provides technology resources to DC area nonprofits.

"John's initial focus will be on establishing a CTCNet location in DC and on building cross-sector partnerships on behalf of CTCNet affiliates," said CTCNet Executive Director Karen Chandler. "We are extremely pleased that John will join CTCNet and we look forward to seeing our DC presence grow."

CTCNet Receives HHS—Compassion Capital Fund Grant

On October 3, 2002, when U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson announced the recipients of a $30 million Compassion Capital Fund, CTCNet was listed as the recipient of one of its major demonstration project grants.

"Connections for Tomorrow," a project of CTCNet and three partners—the Association of Christian Community Computer Centers (AC4), the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA), and the Illinois Community Technology Consortium (ILCTC)—will be funded at approximately $2.25 million for Year One of the three-year project, with two-thirds of the budget ($1,499,770) federally funded. One-third of the project's budget ($750,000) will be made up of matching funds from non-governmental sources. Connections for Tomorrow will provide technical and operational training and support to faith- and community-based nonprofits in Massachusetts, Illinois, and California. Half of the federal funds ($750,000) will be awarded in the first year to Illinois-based organizations, with grants in years two and three to California and Massachusetts.

The Connections for Tomorrow project will start up, expand, and improve programs that incorporate technology into social services—everything from organizational management and capacity building to learning programs. The first year of the grant will be dedicated to programs for at-risk youth and to homeless individuals, including those with disabilities.

CTC Success Stories Winners

CTCNet has just announced the winners of the third round of the CTC Success Stories contest. The contest was organized to highlight the work being done at affiliate centers. Winning centers receive their choice of either a free CTCNet conference registration or a one-year extension on their current CTCNet membership.

Round three winners are:

  • "Hot Links," Town Tech CTC , Brattleboro, VT, by Jeanie Crosby
  • "Sorenson Computer Center: A CTC Success in Salt Lake City," by Sean Martin
  • "Joe Booth is Doing His Thing—A Thing Called Success," Street Tech, CA, by Paul Lamb<

You can read the winning stories and all of the entries as well as those from previous rounds at the Success Story web site.

New Round of Leadership Development Institutes (LDIs)

With renewed support from the AT&T Foundation, CTCNet will conduct four Leadership Development Institutes (LDIs) in the upcoming year, beginning in November in Miami, FL.

Since March 1999, CTCNet has held twelve Institutes around the country. LDIs have become one of the key venues for training CTC leaders in center start-up and capacity building. Since 1999, approximately 230 participants representing 180 organizations and 31 states have attended. The CTCNet LDI web site provides updated information about the Institutes.

Save the Date! CTCNet Conference 2003 set for June 26-29 in D.C.

The twelfth annual CTCNet conference will take place at the Grand Hyatt Washington. This next conference will provide a special opportunity to showcase to the capital's policymakers the outstanding work that CTCs are doing around the country.

For an interesting and informative perspective on the '02 conference in Austin, see Steve Cisler's summary; for a perspective on the entire program.

CTCs as Technology Assistance Providers

As a network of 700 community technology centers, sharing good ideas and wisdom from the field with the field goes to the heart of CTCNet's work. In 2002, with funding from the Surdna Foundation, CTCNet set out to explore the state of the community technology center field in the quest to deliver technology assistance that supports nonprofit organizations in their communities. CTCNet contracted with Summit Collaborative to interview community technology practitioners doing this work to get a snapshot of the field.

CTCNet set out to gather information to answer the following questions:

  • What are the different ways that CTCs are delivering nonprofit technology assistance to community-based nonprofit organizations?
  • How is nonprofit technology assistance linked to other CTC programs such as access, job training, computer training, youth programs, and others?
  • What are the evolving practices, opportunities, and challenges in delivering technology assistance to nonprofit organizations?

As the interviews progressed, several themes clearly emerged. Through collaborations or informally, community technology centers are putting their technology experience to work to deliver technical assistance and training to nonprofit organizations. Some CTCs are revising basic computer skills curriculum to fit the needs of nonprofit staff members. The expertise CTCs gain in helping to establish and support other community technology centers is in some cases helping them to advise nonprofit organizations to address "back-office" issues (technology for organizational use such as fundraising, planning, or financial management versus computer labs for programmatic or service delivery). Some CTCs are addressing the critical issue of sustainability by providing such services as community help desks that offer just-in-time technical support. Other CTCs are taking an entrepreneurial approach, doing market analysis and business planning leading to the launch of technology assistance programs.

A lot of this work is in the early stages of development and is still evolving. However it demonstrates that community technology centers have the potential to play a substantive role to help strengthen existing community infrastructure by providing technology assistance to community-based organizations.

—Excerpted from the Executive Summary of "Community Technology Centers as Technology Assistance Providers to Nonprofit & Community Based Organizations," a report prepared for CTCNet by Beth Kanter, of Summit Collaborative, available in Word and PDF format. The full report includes an assessment of the challenges and opportunities that technology assistance to nonprofits provide and seven case studies/profiles of CTCs that are doing this.

Dan Schackman is a CTC VISTA working directly with CTCNet.

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