a leading non-profit focused on bridging the digital divide and
supporting community leaders solving local challenges from around the world, has
been selected by The Tech Museum Awards as a 2006 Tech Laureate in the Equality
category sponsored by the Swanson Foundation. Catalytic Communities was chosen
among 951 applicants from 58 different countries as a leading technology
innovator whose contributions have greatly benefited humanity in the area of
equality. The organization, along with 24 other Tech Laureates, will be honored
at The Tech Museum Awards on November 15th at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.
I have been honored to work with
Catalytic Communities as a volunteer since I met the founder Theresa Williamson
at the Omidyar.net member gathering in Chicago in July of 2005.I currently serve on
their development advisory board. I am very charged up about Catalytic
Communities for several reasons—
people and groups can create innovative and effective solutions to their own
issues. And the empowerment of peer-to-peer sharing (rather than the
disempowerment of big orgs imposing solutions). Local solutions shared
technology and help bridge the digital divide through trainings and accessible
Of course as a member of the
development advisory board, I have to use this opportunity to encourage you to
support CatComm. We raise our entire budget through online donation challenges
at Pledgebank. To lend your hand, join the pledge at http://catcomm.pledgebank.com.
Sharing a bit about something I am looking forward to getting involved more and more with in the coming months in Chicago.
This sliced up extraction is taken from something the amazing Michael Maranda put together to challenge us to get involved in launching a collective for digital access and community benefits:
We're here to get down to brass tacks. What is needed, in practical terms?
We already have some of what we need through our informal network of
organizations and concerned citizens ... and it's up to us to connect more
effectively, in the absence of appropriate level of funding/community
investment from public and private sector.
We have no choice but to step up, 'cause if we don't we'll have fallen much
further behind and given up too much of what we value.
Organizations need space, staff, volunteers.
People need effective organizations with the above resources, safe spaces
for civic discourse on any and every issue they want to pursue, and networks of
opportunities and mentors to help map the paths to these opportunities.
We need streams of equipment that we can pump through refurbishing programs
... (and where equipment no longer of use can be recycled in an environmentally
We need public institutions dedicated to addressing these problems
aggressively and accountably.
The terms of what we need: space, staff, volunteers, equipment, skills ...
are clear. Let's map what we have and what we need and see if we can match
together what we've already got collectively. Let's figure out how we can
invest in efforts that we can share ...
There are many things that each of our organizations re-invents because
we're going it alone while a collective investment of many in a common resource
will produce something of greater and more lasting value, making all of us more
organically connected and more individually viable.
Thursday, September 14 there will be a meeting convened by CTCNet Chicago at
the Pui Tak Center (Noon) - we're going to take this opportunity in the history
of Chicago as our moment in the Movement for Digital Literacy, Access &
The bottom line is were taking the future in our collective hands.
You have my personal invitation to this meeting.
Spread the word. Whether you have a CTC or Technology Learning Center or are trying to
form one or just want to support the movement in a meaningful way....
Where would I be without the web? One Web Day celebrates the connection and collaboration that the web enables us to have.
I couldn't do the work I do without the web. I have serviced clients without ever meeting them or even talking on the phone. And those that I do meet or call also connect with me online. I live in Illinois, but most of my clients are not in Illinois, some are not even in the US. Some of my friends like to remind me that the work I do is something I could, because of the web, do from anywhere there is an internet connection. Anywhere. And this is just the beginning. In the last month, I have started wiki collaborations. Several ideas I have brewing heavily involve online collaboration, often by international participants. Not only couldn't I do my work without the web, more and more my work is the web.
My personal life? Yeah, well with friends spread from sea to shining sea and beyond, the web connects us. Whether it is sharing ideas and photos of potential bridesmaid dresses or talking on Voip, the web connects us, enables us to talk in ways we couldn't have done as freely without this medium. I have friends from my online community, some I consider good friends though I may not even know their home address. And my intereactions with them are all web-based. In fact it is odd when you do finally meet them face-to-face to start to put a body with a writing style or opinion.