Winter-Spring 2004

CTCNet — Update Now, Looking Back & Looking Ahead

Kavita Singh

Kavita Singh
2003 saw many changes for CTCNet, as the organization restructured under a new Executive Director, Kavita Singh, and moved its headquarters to Washington, DC while retaining its satellite offices in Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; San Diego and San Francisco, CA. What follows details some of our accomplishments as well as recent developments and plans for the 2004.

Ryan Turner Joins CTCNet as Director of Policy & Communications

Ryan Turner

Ryan Turner is joining the CTCNet staff in Washington, DC, as Director of Policy and Communications as of February 17th, 2004. Ryan brings unique experience and knowledge from his six years at OMBWatch where he was responsible for research and outreach around nonprofits' use of technology for policy and advocacy, and the policy issues surrounding their use.

Ryan's work at OMB Watch was marked by his creation and leadership of the NPTalk email list and his involvement from the beginning of the Digital Empowerment Campaign. He managed NPAction, OMB Watch's online resource for nonprofit advocacy, and monitored policy issues relating to the digital divide, electronic government, technology assessment and evaluation, the identification of emerging trends and model practices of nonprofit technology, and worked on research projects with OMB Watch's Community Education Center.

Prior to joining OMB Watch, Ryan worked as a research specialist with the Washington, DC-based Police Executive Research Forum, reviewing and analyzing information for a federally funded homicide investigation improvement and model-development program. He also served as projects coordinator and editor for the Character Education Partnership, a national nonprofit coalition of organizations and individuals providing resource information on moral education programs in the United States. Ryan holds a BA in Politics with a certificate in American Studies from Princeton University.

As announced by CTCNet Executive Director Kavita Singh, "Ryan has been a close friend to the network for many years providing guidance to the CTCNet staff on several issues. We're looking forward to his work with us to shape activities that will support members at the federal level, and assist members to advocate at the state and local level. His significant knowledge of and work with policy and non-profit advocacy efforts will help continue the groundwork that John Zoltner and our Policy Committee have begun. Welcome Ryan!"

Note: John Zoltner, who has been CTCNetÕs Director of Policy and Programs, moves into a new role directing CTCNet's Strategic Partnerships and Development activities.

CTCNet: Transforming Communities

As CTCs continue to provide digital access to people and communities to improve lives, programs are increasingly focusing on the use of technology for community-wide development. Understanding the need to think more broadly about CTC services and impacting communities, CTCNet has started shaping its own programmatic objectives around these themes. These projects include:

  • Connections For Tomorrow (C4T) provides grants and professional development to organizations serving at-risk youth and homeless people in California, Illinois and Massachusetts.
  • The Wireless Project has piloted the provision of Internet access in housing communities in the Lower Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.
  • CTCs as Catalysts for Community Change is helping CTCs nationally take on a broader community agenda, position themselves as stronger community centers, and develop into better public spaces.
  • The new Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods (YSVN) Learn & Serve America project focuses youth on community needs and engages them in research and service to develop new young leaders at the grass roots.
"Building Connected Communities: The Power of People and Technology,"CTCNet's 13th Annual Conference will be held in Seattle June 11-13, 2004. As always, we look to the CTCNet membership and other support organizations to provide the content that will help demonstrate the work of CTCs and their relationship to community development.

2003 Success Story Contest Winners Announced

To date CTCNet has collected fifty CTC Success Stories from members around the U.S. All these stories help demonstrate and document the successes, challenges, and importance of CTCNet's collective work.

The most recent contest held in the fall, requested stories highlighting regional organizing, intergenerational programs, and new residents. It was difficult to select three from among the 14 submissions, but the selection committee finally settled on the following powerful stories:

"The Ghosts Behind the Story"
Cambridge Community Television, MA
Written by Maurice Anderson, a retired elder, 69-going on-65 senior citizen. Maurice tells us about trading in his Brother word processor, learning how to use a computer, writing and publishing a book of poetry, writing a script, and shooting and editing his own digital video memoir.

"Lower Roxbury TGH"
Madison Park Timothy Smith CTC, Boston, MA
Written by Nyvia Colon, the story transports us to Madison Park Village, Timothy Smith CTC, a place where "[e]veryone shares their learning; the facilitator facilitates the learning process, while students share what they know with each other. The room is filled with laughter as the kids take center stage to teach their parents how to insert a clip art or work on the Internet. At times you hear, 'Ma, just move the mouse and click, don't be nervous.' And at times you hear: 'Sandra, stop playing games, we need to finish the class work.' All in all everyone is working together to ensure they learn what they are there to learn, because no one wants to wake up on Saturday morning, spending 4 hours in a learning environment, just to go home the same way they came in. They learn that everyone has something to offer no matter his or her age.

"The Way My Life is Going Now is Just Perfect"
Korean American Community Services (KACS), Chicago, IL
Written by Mario Argueta, a participant in the Youth Community Technology Program (YCTP) at KACS. The YCTP combines technical training and life skills development with particular emphasis on the value of civic life. Mario shares his experiences at his internship and his future goals. "[He has] work experience to put on [his] resume, and [is] also giving something back to the community. [His] long-term goals [are] to get a degree from a college and make the rest of [his] life comfortable."

All stories from all five contests are accessible on the Success Stories web site.

CTCNet Reaches Out Globally

This past Fall 2003 CTCNet emerged onto the world stage of the community Information and Communication Technology (ICT) efforts. In December, Executive Director Kavita Singh, along with Board members Felicia Sullivan and Felicia Davis, attended the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) conference in Geneva, Switzerland. CTCNet was invited by Microsoft to be part of their Partners in Potential exhibit showcasing 15 Microsoft-supported (either through software donations or funds) projects from every continent. Kavita was also invited to present on a conference panel.

Felicia Sullivan and students from Singapore at WSIS

At the WSIS in Geneva: CTCNet board member Felicia Sullivan with a group of high school students from Singapore.
As Felicia Sullivan described it: "This international gathering of government, business, and civic sector representatives was like a gigantic working group seeking to create some sense of collective work on how to effectively use information and communication technologies (ICT) within the context of development in all senses: economic, social, cultural, political." The event provided a fertile environment for discussion about CTCNet's role in the international digital empowerment movement, discussion that continues here at home.

Some of the main points of interest that the CTCNet team gained from the conference:

  • The importance of sharing our work with other similar international organizations and in turn, learning from them
  • Potential global control of the Internet through the U.N. or another international organization rather than through ICANN
  • Understanding basic limitations outside the U.S., such as the availability of electricity
  • Intellectual property and copyright issues
  • The potential of open source material in the democratization of technology globally
  • Ensuring that our technology resources are used for social and human development solutions, relevant to our various constituents
  • Considering our services in the light of social entrepreneurship or microenterprise
  • The importance of assessment and evaluation of projects
  • The need to collect data on the efficacy of our domestic work
  • The need to combat perceptions that there is no digital divide in the U.S.

While at the WSIS, CTCNet and four other technology networks in North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean joined in the formation of the Telecenters of the Americas Partnership (TAP) with a videoconference on Tuesday, December 9. Lead partners teleconferenced from sites in San Juan, Mexico City, Vancouver, Washington, DC, and Geneva. TAP comprises the world's largest Community Technology Network, representing more than 4,000 members.

The alliance between the Aspira Association, Pacific Community Networks Association (PCNA), ChasquiNet, Somos@Telecentros, and CTCNet brings together the strongest regional networks in the Americas to study the costs and benefits of greater integration among the myriad of regional telecenters that have emerged across North and South America. "All of the organizations involved have created strong networks of telecenters in their respective regions," says Kavita. "We seek to examine and share best practices between countries, streamline workload and costs, enabling individual technology centers to maximize resources and, ultimately, better serve our communities."

Art McGee at WSIS

Art McGee, CTCNet Advisory Board member, at WSIS.
The agreement calls for the team to develop a system that provides easy access to the best telecenter tools and resources; the production of a comprehensive survey of major relevant telecenter activities in the Americas; and the creation of a long-term plan outlining the optimal structure, activities, and budget for an effective TAP partnership, including content development and distribution coordination, co-sponsoring research, and cultivating solid relationships among telecenter practitioners and network leaders internationally. "Technology is a powerful tool that can have a positive impact on a community's social, educational and economic needs, particularly in the low-income and rural areas that we serve," says John Zoltner of CTCNet and Chair of the Partnership. For more information on the Partnership, contact John at

2003 Annual Report Highlights: Transitions

The year 2003 saw many changes for CTCNet. Kavita Singh began in March as CTCNet's Executive Director and the organization continues to re-structure with the support and guidance of CTCNet's Board of Directors and Advisory Board. In November, CTCNet moved its headquarters to Washington, DC while retaining staff in Cambridge, MA, Chicago, IL, San Diego, CA and San Francisco, CA.

Member Services are receiving more focused attention with a new Member Services Coordinator, Stephen Quinn, to lead these efforts. Stephen, who coordinated the 2003 CTCNet Conference in Washington, DC, is working with staff and associates to develop our website and tools that will provide more detailed information on member centers and programs and better demonstrate CTC activities.

Annual CTCNet Conference. The 2003 conference was held in Washington, DC, drawing six hundred (600) of our members and associates to a convocation on "Creating Our Future: Shaping the Agenda of Community Technology." Along with more than 50 workshops, the location of the conference in the nation's capital inspired CTCNet to host its first Community Technology Education Day on Capitol Hill and featured the CTCNet President's Reception, recognizing leading community technology advocates for their commitment to the field.

Leadership Recognition. In addition to the Toni Stone Innovative Initiative Award presented each year at the CTCNet conference, and the Success Stories, CTCNet was proud to continue to recognize leaders in the community technology movement and present the first Outstanding Community Technology Leader Awards. In September, CTCNet collaborated with the Education Technology Think Tank (ET3) to recognize thirty leaders at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference. The awards were conferred by Congressman Major Owens (D-NY) at a ceremony in Washington, DC.

CTCNet also presented three Leadership Development Institutes (LDIs) in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle, providing professional development and best practices to 75 of our members.

Cash Grants and Professional Development. In 2003, CTCNet provided more than one million dollars in cash grants to 50 community-based organizations. Grants were administered primarily through Connections For Tomorrow (C4T) and the Catalyzing CTCs for Community Change project.

National Service. In August, the forty newest members of the CTC VISTA Project had their Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) at the campus of U Mass Boston. This year VISTAs are serving 28 CTCs in 19 locations around the country.

International Cooperation. CTCNet and four other technology networks (Aspira Association, Pacific Community Networks Association (PCNA), ChasquiNet, Somos@Telecentros) announced the new Telecenters of the Americas Partnership (TAP), forming the largest international community technology network. Partners will convene in Mexico City in February 2004 to continue planning collaborative activities.

Executive Director Kavita Singh and Board Members Felicia Davis and Felicia Sullivan attended the WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) in Geneva, Switzerland.


Dan Schackman is a CTC VISTA doing national CTCNet support work out of the office in Cambridge, MA.


What has been learned from TAP and the WSIS meeting about CTC and CN initiatives in Mexico?

Posted by: Don Samuelson at February 18, 2004 08:01 AM

I just wanted to know more about the WSIS and see if I could help or contribute in anyway.

Posted by: bryan t at November 14, 2005 07:43 PM
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