What We Do
Community Technology Network (CTN)
Although the average Californian depends on the Internet for employment, education, health care, services, and civic life, a 2008 study reflected that the digital divide was continuing to widen in California, particularly for Latino and low-income residents. Eighty percent of Californians at that time thought the Internet was an important information source; however, only forty percent of residents with household incomes of less than $40,000 had Internet in their homes, as opposed to ninety percent of those with household incomes of more than $80,000..
For years, many individuals and organizations imagined the accessibility gap would be closed by San Francisco's free municipal Wi-Fi network, until a key partnership in the project fell apart in Fall 2007.
To help bridge this gap, many organizations and centers were providing access to computers, the Internet, and IT training; yet, inequalities of accessibility were still apparent. Geographical gaps in one area coexisted with overlaps of service in another. Resources for technology programs were scarce, and organizations and community centers were continually "reinventing the wheel" as there was a noticeable dearth of shared learning and collaboration between these digital inclusion community programs.
The mission of CTN is to catalyze and advocate for digital inclusion and literacy by providing training, mentorship, networking and volunteers to underserved communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
CTN's Volunteer Program matches eager and qualified volunteers with technology centers in communities throughout San Francisco. Opportunities to connect, learn and share in person abound at their monthly Networking Meetup, and their online Network Directory serves San Francisco as a comprehensive community technology resource.
By initiating and managing partnerships with public technology center managers and constituents, CTN equips low-income residents of Bay Area housing developments with the technological tools and resources they need to explore educational, professional and social opportunities in and beyond their communities.
Finally, CTN enables peer feedback and support that empowers community technology practitioners to leverage, develop and improve upon curricula and services. In this communal workflow, practitioners develop innovative courses and products, explore ideas and disseminate resources directly to colleagues throughout the region.
Full Circle Fund Role
Originally, Community Technology Network (CTN) was a project of CompuMentor (now called TechSoup Global), but their national and international focus prompted a transition away from CTN in 2006. Subsequently, a committee led by Barrie Hathaway, Chairman of the Board at CTN, gathered to assess community needs and determine CTN's direction. This committee's interviews and surveys of more than 25 community technology agencies, yielded results proving CTN's continued relevance and viability.
In the first year of the grant, from 2007-2008, Project Lead Kami Griffiths and other members of Full Circle Fund's Technology Circle were integral in the development of CTN as it adjusted its organizational structure as an independent organization. In June 2008, with support and funding from the Full Circle Fund, CTN received 501(c)3 status. During the second grant year, Full Circle Fund assisted with more tactical projects such as strengthening the volunteer program, creating a plan for a mobile application and supporting the new Executive Director.
Full Circle Fund's multi-year partnership with CTN has yielded significant results:
1 Californians and Information Technology, Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Survey, June 2008 2 "'Digital Inclusion' Efforts Give Training, Gear", Agam Shah, PCWorld.com, April 13, 2008
Community Technology Network
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