• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.


Sustainability Through Community Engagement

Page history last edited by PleuratD 11 years, 7 months ago


Grassroots digital inclusion efforts are historically very difficult to sustain without strong community partners.   This session features brief presentations on four successful but very diverse approaches to community partnership-building, followed by open discussion of this vital subject.  Who are the key partners in your community and why?  What’s your approach to seeking and managing successful collaborations?  How have your partnerships led to more sustainable strategies for technology adoption and access?  Don't forget how this is done, make your notes below!  

Time: Tuesday 1:30-2:30


Location: Ballroom 


Moderator: Bill Callahan, OneCommunity 

Panelists: Cecilia Garcia, Benton Foundation; Will Reed, Technology for All; Lynda Goff, OneCommunity; Bill Gruber, Time Warner / Cleveland City Council Neighborhoods Technology Fund.






How we think about IMPACT. How we think about ALLIES.


Sustainability: where are you going to get more money? How can programs continue past a grant period? Do they need to?

     Organizations aren't able to anchor themselves with a single grant source - have to find numerous avenues for funding.


We need the stature, sense of necessity along with the relationships to attract funding - People need to talk to US - not the other way around.

OR, have a user/customer base and market share - they pay you instead of applying for grants/funding (haven't found one that works with CTC's)


Cecilia Garcia: Benton Foundation

Executive Director


Founded by Chales Benton


Sound Partners to Community Health Program

     Developed a complex community collaboration model


New Routes to Community Health

     3 year program

     8 sites selected along the country

     LA, Chicago, St Paul, Atlanta, Oakland, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco

          1. Has Health Care Provider

          2. Media Broadcasting

          3. Immigrant Population & Representative


Lessons Learned


Engage community members in all aspects of the porcess

  • Generate priorites for the project
  • Offer opportunities for leadership and risk taking
  • Envision a different future
  • Participating in evaluation of the project


Building effective and authentic collaborations in communities - need effort and support. Time is a requisite.

Essential to identifying social capital - sum total of assets in a community including skills and experience of community leaders.


Building on existing community strengths

  • Organizations working in the community gain power when they are connected to existing assets
  • Youth act as brokers among languages cultures and service systems
  • Active engagement most often occurs in those places where community members feel comfortable and safe


Brought up issues previously unaddressed in the community

Broadband enabled reach to go beyond the immediate community by soliciting outside input


Leave communities better equipped than when the project started

  • Foster collaborative leadership within the community
  • Bridge divides and help build social capital in the community
  • Urge others to speak


Time, Effort, and Support

     Granters need to pay attention to relationships and the time involved in establishing them


Different topic each time a grant was written - e.g Childhood Obesity


Common understanding of who the stakeholders are


Impact of economic downturn on immigrant organizations

     Adjustments needed to be made - a partner had to back out because of lack of sustainability

     Granters need to not give up - identify a new leader and move forward


LA Cares, Chinese Senior Center


Will Reed - Technology for All



Relationship with Rice University


Technology as a tool to empower low income communities


Started with

Idea, Donor, and a Partnership with MD Anderson YMCA


Enron helped fund - board of directors partnered. 

     Great relationship in terms of funding and staff


"You don't always know everything about your partners."


Upon collapse, funding was cut immediately.



"If they partner with someone else, their available resources get smaller. Dividing up the money."



"Through partnership, not only is there more capacity, but more knowledge, and larger potential for funds."


Who are our partners?


Past: SBC, Microsoft, Enron, Compaq, BP, TIF, Technology Opportunities Program (TOP), SmartForce Learning Solutions for the Human Enterprise, CBOS (Community Based Organizations)


Tech 4 All was able to help with the transition of Katrina victims to the Astrodome to get internet access and computers for the dislocated people trying to find family members.

Working with partners makes things happen.


Present: 70 CBO's, austinfree.net, Rice U, National Science Foundation, BTOP, Methodist Hospital Research Institute, MAIN (Metropolitan Austin Interactive Network), Microsoft, National Institute of Health.


Rice U - helped created a public wifi network

Methodist Hosp - device to send HIPA compliant data over the internet for a quick diagnosis based on a few factors


Texas Connects Coalition: Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Nuevo Larado


Future - whatever it holds, CBO's will be part of the equation.


What can we do that is mutually beneficial?

How can we, by both working together, get the most of the partnership?


Lynda Goff - Winston NET

Model for sustainability


IT Director at Wake Forest University

Needed to get fiber from Med School to Undergrad

     Do that, and around the city too! Share with K-12 admin, City Gov't, etc.


Generating a non-profit - WinstonNET - to provide broadband internet services to institutions. 

     Decided to charge some nominal fee for usage, to use that funding towards a Digital Inclusion program in the City.

     2001 - created Community Technology Centers.

          Rec Centers, Libraries, Churches, YMCA

          Computers were donated by corporations


Through the collaboration of WinstonNET - became a recipient of PCC & SBA programs


Digital Bridge Training Program (3 year grant, Volunteer-based)

     County made it a permanent position after measuring success of the program - one coordinator.


Community-based Organizations that work together that are thinking about Digital Inclusion


Bill Gruber

Shaker Hts - City Attorney


Adelphia was a partner and funder.


Use regulation and de-regulation to leverage funds for neighborhood tehnology and centers.


State level - Utility commissions.

     First - Deregulate Phone Services

     Generated a funding source


When Adelphia came to purchase Cable Vision - there was a locally regulated monopoly.

     Idea from Community Members (Bill Callahan) requested funding for neighborhood tech centers.

     $3M to Neighborhood Tech Programs through the Cleveland Foundation

          Board - oversee the grant fund, including Adelphia officials, Cle Foundation, and Cle City Council

     $500K more came along afterwards


How to best utilize $3.5M?

     $1M over every 3 years to be spent - building computer centers

               Up to $50K per grant - to create those centers based on geography 

                                                 to support existing centers

                                                  to support programs that help centers ( CAP, Inc, computer refurbisher )


Time Warner issued 159 grants over 9 years, $2.7M given out. Average grant of $17K.


Should be around $2M left for new centers.


Groups that had received funding in the past will continue to be funded as they are invited back to continue to sustain.



For Bill

How many centers are still in existence? How have they been evaluated?

- 13 recipients last year - have been around for at least 9 years. Evaluation comes from outside consulting, presentations from the center.


For Lynda

Has the fiber been utilized for households?

- Only for institutions at the moment, elected officials blocking additional usage of the fiber optics. 

What about muni wifi?

- Question has been posed but nothing gone through


For Cecelia

Correlation with SBA/PCC Programs?

- Deep involvement allows leadership to emerge through the partnership, which can work very well with BTOP programs


For Bill

What in particular is being used to help with sustainability for those 13 centers?

- Decrease the operation cost - shared staffing, low cost hardware/software needs

- Dollars: where will the funding come from afterwards? 5-6 years left

- How can you be an aid, using technology, to other organizations and initiatives in your community and piggyback?


Digital Vision - helped centers seek funding. First plan- find partners, big partners, to help.


For Will

With Rice, Provide broadband wireless access around the neighborhood?

- Not to households. But to health clinics, public computer center. Mesh network. Outside the laboratory access - tools, antennas, etc.

9,000 users - free access


How is this sustainable?

- National Science Foundation Grants have provided funding

- "White space"

- Catalyst for funding in its own because of its relations with the medical fied


For Lynda

What initiated the partnership with the educational institution? 

- Fiber infrastructure being built around the city. Mission statement for the organization lead to Digital Inclusion project. Wake Forest University was a leader that saw this happen


For Will

How does the mesh network get started? Research? Studies?

-Put antennas for the mesh networks on homes in the community that folks are proud of, that they provide feedback on. Instead of researching, jumped right in which produced great results.


For Bill Callahan

Where is the visionary leadership here in Cleveland to put all of these pieces together? Case Western, Public Broadcasting, Public Library, First Community Foundation in the Country, and One Community

- 1C is the local equiv. of WinstonNET - providing fiber services to non-profits in the region. Established 7 years ago with Case Western, Lev.

- $40M CCI grant and SBA grant - the pieces are there now

- Digital Inclusion piece - institutional network - How do we do it? Value in the community is slower but making progress.

- Leverage assets to seek additional funding - relationships and business assets to attract

- Kevin Kelley's Ward 13 has launched public Wifi neighborhood


Find a program or outcome to attach to - 50-60% of municipal budgets are related to public safety.


For all panelists

How do all programs relate to workforce development?

Lynda - Perhaps a good source of funding and sustainability

Jason S - Work Stops having funding reduced

Cecilia - Community Colleges are a great resource to partner with for this purpose


Comment - Workforce development and training breed creativity and additional skills - the HR departments of companies ignore this which is a missed opportunity.


What are our priorities and those of the corporations? How can we make this issue of workforce development a funding priority?


Francine: Community College - Foundation for Florida Community Colleges - to look for influence of CC's with workforce development


  • Zero in on STEM program students (Science Tech Engineering Math) - they provide students with laptops that must be used to help increase digital literacy in their families.
  • Basic skills literacy


How to make it a priority - Evaluation, evaluation, evaluation. Document what you're doing, take the issue seriously, and set the agenda based on your findings from that evaluation.


North Carolina - 5 projects - WinstonNET, Small Olive Hill CDC, NC Central University partering with other universities (heavily black) on an SBA grant, and an infrastructure grant. None of these projects are connected to each other.

Not an issue of resources - but organization and political organization.

Where is the overlap where they can meet?


Comments (3)

Jason Schroeder said

at 1:51 pm on Jun 28, 2011

Get the community members engaged in all aspects of the process including:
1 - Generating priorities
2 - Offering opportunities for leadership and risk taking
3 - Envisioning a different future
4 - Participating in evaluation

cchapman@... said

at 2:36 pm on Jun 28, 2011

cchapman@... said

at 2:39 pm on Jun 28, 2011

Bill , how are u approaching helping each of the organizations you are working with to become self-sustaining?

You don't have permission to comment on this page.