CTC Capacity Building Grant

Posted by on May 2, 2003

In June 2003, CTCNet and the Multifamily Learning Center Consortium sponsored by Neighborhood Reinvestment (with the support of the Ford Foundation) will begin a project to work with a few leading CTCs (or clusters of CTCs working in a partnership) to define and develop a broader relationship with the communities they serve. The project will help CTCs focus both on offering a richer array of activities for participants as well as on establishing partnerships with other national and neighborhood organizations. The project is also intended to build CTCNet’s capacity to support CTCs nationwide in their community building efforts. The degree to which a CTC becomes an integral part of its community will measure its success as a community institution and center participants should have a real role in directing and sustaining center operations.

CTCNet, NRC/LCC, and Ford will select centers that represent geographic and programmatic diversity to test and build multiple models of this work around the country. Priority in the first phase may be given to centers located in proximity to CTCNet offices, which are in Cambridge, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago and San Diego. Selected CTCs will be places that engage diverse groups of people and contribute to positive local change. The selected CTCs will already have a mission that extends beyond technology; have active and engaged stakeholders; and be stable enough in their existing operations to take on this kind of new project. The selection will include stand-alone CTCs, CTCs that are part of multi-service agencies, and CTCs that are part of networks.

We anticipate that each of the selected sites will receive some technical and financial assistance for the project’s planning phase to be conducted between June 2003 and December 2003 to build a strategic plan, identify partnerships, test some activities, and begin to build capacity in order to implement major changes. CTCNet will work closely with BCT Partners (http://www.bctpartners.com), the Project for Public Spaces, Lisa Servon from New School University, and a national advisory board to carry out this work.

We intend to collaborate with the selected sites to secure funding for two additional years, which will be dependent upon the success of the planning phase.

The leading CTCs will be selected using the following criteria:
? Location in distressed neighborhoods undergoing economic upheaval
? Deep understanding of the community and various cultures represented
? Demonstrated excellence in delivery of community technology programs
? Strong community participation in programs that have been offered
? Creative ideas for use of technology to promote community development
? Strong and committed leadership
? Existing successful partnerships with other CTCs, nonprofits and governmental agencies
? Staff history of generous assistance in building skills of others in the field

If you are a CTC or network of CTCs in partnership that meet many of the above criteria, please fill, download and complete the form at http://www2.ctcnet.org/cdev_app.doc and send it to ctcdev@ctcnet.org by May 21.

This project was developed in response to a report prepared for the Ford Foundation titled, “Community Technology Centers as Catalysts for Community Change” by Stephen Davies and Andrew Wiley-Schwartz of Project for Public Spaces, Randal Pinkett of BCT Partners and Lisa Servon of New School University. The
report (http://www.bctpartners.com/papers.htm) outlined essential recommendations that would help bridge gaps between the fields of community technology and community development and increase the capacity of community technology centers to become a force for positive social change at the community level.

CTCNet, BCT, and the National Advisory board will:
? Brief CTC participants on the project’s work thus far and its research results
? Structure and frame the conversations with the community technology/community development advisory board
? Train and consult with CTCs regarding how to approach assessment and planning tasks in their communities
? Conceptualize tools to be created for Years 2 & 3 that would be used to bring the project to scale

Kavita Singh
Executive Director
Community Technology Centers’ Network (CTCNet)
http://www.ctcnet.org — 617.354.0825, x10

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