Online panel boosts tech centers
- By John Monroe
- Aug 09, 2001
America Connects Consortium, a nonprofit organization that supports community
technology centers, is sponsoring a three-week online panel discussion to
spark ideas for keeping the centers economically viable.
The online forum is the latest in a monthly series of moderated discussions
that America Connects (www.americaconnects.net)
has conducted through e-mail lists. It will feature about a dozen panelists
who will kick-start the discussion with brief presentations and then field
questions from the organization's 800-plus e-mail list subscribers.
The panel is co-sponsored by CTCNet, a nonprofit membership organization
of 500 independent community technology centers.
Community technology centers have become a popular way to provide Internet
access, computer training and other services in neighborhoods where such
services are otherwise out of reach for many residents.
At issue is how community technology centers, which generally get their
start with grant money, can continue to stay in business once the grant
money runs out. It's analogous to the problems many Internet companies ran
into when their venture capital funding dried up.
"[The panelists] will be focusing on what they see as some of the key
areas a center needs to address in getting the support of its community,"
said Stephen Ronan, managing director of CTCNet. It's not just fund-raising,
although that will be a component of it, he said. It's also successful volunteer
recruitment, sound financial systems and good relationships with local government.
The online panel discussion begins Aug. 13. Typically, such discussions
generate two or three messages a day, Ronan said. The list moderator, who
otherwise has a minimal presence, helps keep the number of questions down
by consolidating similar questions.
Only list subscribers, most of whom work in community technology centers,
can take part in the panel.
For information on how to subscribe, go to www.americaconnects.net/interact. The transcript of the discussion will
be available when it's over at www.ctcnet.org/americaconnects.