Summer 2003

CTCNet: Our Journey
by Daniel Schackman

CTCNet has had a fantastic journey over the past years, starting as a small coalition of six technology access programs on the East Coast and developing into a national network of more than 1200 community technology centers. Throughout this period of growth, we have remained committed to our mission to support community technology centers so that they can better serve their constituencies: low-income communities where people gain access to computers and computer-related technology.

The organization was founded in 1990—as the Playing To Win Network—by the late Antonia "Toni" Stone, a former math teacher who during the early 1980s had started a computer technology center in the basement of a housing development in Harlem. In the early 1990s, Ms. Stone cooperated with EDC in an application to the National Science Foundation (NSF), which resulted in a five-year ($2 million) grant to support the extension of the network's services, the expansion of its membership, and its evolution into an independent, self-governing non-profit organization. The grant also supported sustained, professional evaluation of the Network and its affiliates. At the start of the grant the organization's name was changed to the Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet). Consistent with its NSF grant goals, CTCNet has now incorporated in Massachusetts as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with a board of directors representing its affiliate organizations.

While at EDC and supported by the NSF grant, CTCNet and EDC staff produced several widely-used publications, including:

These publications have all been made freely available via the web and can be found at the CTCNet Publications web site.

For its blend of Internet-based activities, including web site and regional, national, and topical discussion lists, CTCNet was named the 1998 winner in the Public Access category of the America Connects Consortium funded through the U.S. Department of Education to provide technical assistance to community technology centers throughout the United States. In 2002, CTCNet joined with the Association of Christian Community Computer Centers (AC4) and the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) to manage the Connections For Tomorrow (C4T) project, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also at this time, the network was joined by 515 former PowerUP Centers.

Now, we are poised for growth in exciting new areas, from community development to regional organizing to international connections.

To the future, and beyond!


Dan Schackman, CTCNet's CTC VISTA and Special Conference Issue Editor for the Community Technology Review

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