CENTER START-UP MANUAL

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1 COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGY CENTERS NETWORK CENTER START-UP MANUAL With Support From: Nationa Science Foundation U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Deveopment Surdna Foundation

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3 Community Technoogy Centers Network Center Start-Up Manua

4 1997, 2000 by Education Deveopment Center. 2002, 2003 by Community Technoogy Centers Network (CTCNet) A rights reserved. This manua was deveoped with support from the Nationa Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Deveopment. A revised 2002 edition was prepared with support of the Surdna Foundation. However, the opinions expressed herein do not necessariy refect the positions or poicies of those agencies or organizations, and no officia endorsement shoud be inferred. Printing of this 2003 edition was donated by AOL Time Warner. This manua is avaiabe on the Web at Printed copies may be ordered for $25, incuding shipping fees. Checks shoud be made payabe to CTCNet and maied to: Community Technoogy Centers Network (CTCNet) 372 Broadway Street Cambridge, Massachusetts Editor / principa author: Antonia Stone. Revised/updated 2003 edition editor: Karen Zgoda Manua design by Jonathan Bruce Cover design by Tom Sobczynski Cover photograph by Peter Mier CTCNet Staff Executive Director: Karen Chander, Managing Director: Stephen Ronan, Director of Programs and Poicy: John Zotner, Project Coordinators: Benjamin Cain, Een Caffrey Garza, Hoy Harrie, Trang Le, Marissa Martin, Anne Nevie Davis, Johanna Pabst, Eiott Wiiams, Office Manager Wendy Peveri-Conti AmeriCorps*VISTA Member Dan Schackman, Ohio CCCN Coordinator: Angea Stuber, New technoogies scout: Phi Shapiro, Founder: Antonia Stone CTCNet, 372 Broadway, Cambridge, MA (617)

5 Center Start-Up: Timeine and Process Preface What is Community Technoogy Centers' Network (CTCNet)? CTCNet supports community technoogy centers so that they may better serve their constituencies. CTCNet offer resources to enhance each affiiated center s capacity to provide technoogy access and education to its community. CTCNet activey encourages onine and in-person communication among organizations and individuas working to expand access to technoogy. CTCNet affiiate members are independent community service, socia action, and/or aternative education agencies or programs. A share a commitment to providing technoogy toos for those who otherwise might ack access to them, aong with a wiingness to be active in the CTCNet community, open to sharing expertise, success, faiure, and resources. CTCNet is an expansion of the Paying To Win Network, which itsef was an outgrowth of Paying To Win's Harem Community Computing Center. That Center, estabished in 1983, was the first pubic access computer faciity in the country to be ocated in a owincome neighborhood. Thus, CTCNet brings to the deveopment of this manua 20 years experience in starting, operating, supporting, and sustaining neighborhood technoogy access programs. For more information about CTCNet, pease visit the Web site at Evoution of this manua Eary in 1996, CTCNet was asked to assist Georgetown University in preparing a manua for the US Department of Housing and Urban Deveopment's Neighborhood Networks initiative. In agreeing to work with Georgetown, and recognizing that much of the content woud be coming directy from its affiiate members, CTCNet retained the i

6 Center Start-Up Manua right to amend or extract text and information that coud contribute to its own manua. Georgetown was extremey cooperative and even provided CTCNet with copies of the disks containing the text of the HUD pubication with fu permission to use as it saw fit. Accordingy, a first draft of this manua was made and distributed to a CTCNet affiiates at the June '96 A-Affiiates Conference. Affiiates were asked specificay to critique the content, the sequence, and to identify missing or sighted areas as we as those that coud be shortened or omitted. Most importanty, they were encouraged to offer anecdota support from their own experience so that this fina version can refect the broadest expertise possibe. The wiingness to share experience is the cornerstone of CTCNet, and this manua has been enriched by that wiingness on the part of CTCNet affiiate members and potentia affiiates, so many of whom have given so generousy of their time - to read and reread, critique and offer constructive feedback, suppy documentation, and, most importanty, share their hard-won successes and even some of their mistakes so that others may find a cearer and easier path. CTCNet and EDC staff, too, have invested time and energy in the preparation and countess revisions of this materia. Karen Zgoda took the ead on editing and revising the 2002 edition. To each of them, my persona thanks, and, in particuar, to Stephen Ronan without whom it simpy woud not have happened. Dedication This manua is dedicated to a Community Technoogy Centers, past, present, and future, and to the peope who make them happen and keep them open to serve those who otherwise woud have itte or no opportunity to engage the power of technoogy in service of their own ife and earning goas. Antonia Stone Founder, CTCNet ii

7 Tabe of Contents Preface How to Use This Manua... 1 Chapter One: Timeine and Process...3 Chapter Two: Mapping Community Resources Chapter Three: Determining Program Focus Chapter Four: Staffing Chapter Five: Software Seection and Criteria Chapter Six: Space, Hardware, and Security Chapter Seven: Scheduing, Outreach, and Sef-Evauation Chapter Eight: Budgeting, Funding and Sustainabiity Chapter Nine: Preparing a Business Pan

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9 Center Start-Up: Timeine and Process How to Use This Manua Read It Regardess of the needs you have to address, the state of your pans or your operation, you' want to have an idea of what this manua addresses and where you can go for the information you need when you need it. So, browse through the entire manua. You' see that each chapter separator contains a detaied guide to that specific chapter. In genera, you' see that each chapter addresses specific issues, that there is a section reporting experience of affiiates reevant to these issues, and, in many cases, an appendix of potentiay usefu materias and/or resources. In browsing the manua, you' aso note that there is ots of white space. The manua has been formatted to provide ampe room for your notes and comments. Use the Sections as They Become Appicabe to Your Needs Not everyone is in the same pace at the same time. Whie the sequence of the manua is designed for start-up centers, there is penty of materia that is appicabe to centers aready in some stage of operation. If you are in a funding crunch, Chapters 8 & 9 (Funding the CTC, and How to Prepare a Business Pan) may be hepfu. If you're thinking of expanding your software ibrary, Chapter 5 may give you some insights. If you need to repace or take on additiona staff, you might want to ook carefuy at parts of Chapter 4, and so on. It is our intention that this manua may outive your start-up phase, producing guideines for addressing operationa issues as they arise. Pease note that you are wecome to photocopy part or a of the manua in order to share materia with coeagues for non-commercia purposes. 1

10 Center Start-Up Manua Te CTCNet About Your Experience Using the Manua The success of this manua in addressing the mutipicity of issues confronting the vast variety of CTCs depends overwhemingy on its abiity to represent the actua experiences of centers. Enarging on the experience aready contained can ony enrich the content and substantiay assist centers that may be using this manua in the future. Communication is key. So et CTCNet know what is usefu, what is not, what you'd ike to see in future editions, and most importanty, what your own experience has been. 2

11 1 c h a p t e r Timeine and Process Why is Community Technoogy Needed (CTC)?... 3 What is a Community Technoogy Center (CTC)?... 5 How is a CTC Created?...6 How Long Wi it Take to Create a CTC?...6 How Shoud a CTC Steering Committee Be Formed?... 8 What Wi the Governance Structure of a CTC Look Like? Documentation Additiona Resources... 14

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13 Timeine and Process 1 c h a p t e r Timeine and Process "In the word today you have to have some computer experience and I sti didn't know a thing about computers. But what coud I do? I had no money for computer casses or transportation to get them and I certainy didn't have money to buy a computer." Nancy Farrow, as submitted by Linda Berno Rya Schoo Why is Community Technoogy Needed? The community technoogy movement began as a grassroots, community response to provide access to technoogy resources where inequities existed. Community technoogy centers, or CTCs, aow ow-cost or free access to a sorts of computing technoogies in an environment supportive of earning. Those abe to harness and appy the power of technoogy have access to a wide variety of opportunities that span education, empoyment, arts & media, and communication. Community technoogy heps ensure that peope are not deprived of such opportunities due to a ack of persona resources whie at the same time fostering community deveopment and connectedness. An Annie E. Casey Foundation report found that: CTCs are popuar with chidren, youth, and aduts. Both the peope who come to earn about computers and the staff who run CTCs recognize that computer proficiency is associated with success in schoo and in the workpace. Mastering this compex, modern too is a powerfu, affirmative experience -- one that offers chaenge as we as hope. CTCs address a wide variety of needs and interests, both community and individua. These incude becoming iterate, earning business computer skis, practicing math skis, creating newsetters and brochures, paying games, performing research onine, assembing a computer, and administering a computer network. Often community members create onine information systems about their neighborhoods, cutures, or famiies. They experience the computer as a powerfu and versatie too. ("Computer and Com- 3

14 Center Start-Up Manua munications Use in Low-Income Communities: Modes for the Neighborhood Transformation and Famiy Deveopment Initiative," avaiabe at CTCs can make a cear statement about the importance of embracing diversity by thinking and panning for a members of the community. This is especiay true for those organizations providing access to and training on technoogies that faciitate participation and independence for peope with disabiities. CTCs have an opportunity to pay an infuentia roe in increasing access within their organizations and communities. A peope benefit from an environment in which it is easier and safer to move and function. Disabiity is a universay common occurrence and characteristic of the human condition. The US Census Bureau states that in the United States there are 54 miion peope with disabiities or neary one in five peope with a disabiity. Peope with disabiities are the nation s argest minority. (Nationa Organization on Disabiity. Cosing the Gap Expanding the Participation of American with Disabiities (N.O.D./ Harris Survey of Americans with Disabiities A Summary). A disabiity is a condition caused by an accident, trauma, genetics or disease, which can affect or imit a person s abiity. A disabiity can affect or imit a person s mobiity, hearing, breathing, vision, speech or menta function. A disabiity can be visibe, such as a spina cord injury necessitating wheechair use, or invisibe, such as diabetes, heart disease, epiepsy, hearing oss, menta retardation or a earning disabiity (Kaies, J.I. & Jones, D, Guide to Panning Accessibe Meetings, Independent Living Research Utiization (ILRU) Research and Training Center on Independent Living at TIRR, Houston, 1993.) Neary everyone has been affected by disabiity whether by contact with a famiy member or through persona experience. There is an 80 percent chance that most peope wi experience a significant temporary or permanent disabiity at some point in their ives. The incidence of disabiity is highest in communities of coor, poor and rura communities. 67% of a aduts with disabiities are unempoyed. Disabiity (seen or unseen) is a part of every community and it is critica that everyone move toward a more accessibe environment. Community technoogy has become a too of both individua and community empowerment. The technoogy we have today enabes peope to take charge of their own ives, aowing a richer experience because it does not channe what one is doing. Rather, technoogy aows for greater sef-expression, sef-directed earning, and opens up new pathways for community interaction. New technoogy wi continue to deveop in response to and in anticipation of our needs, and our communities have a responsibiity 4

15 Timeine and Process to ensure that these technoogies are accessibe to a community members. Hence, CTCs are a vita, community-buiding resource, providing opportunities for continuing technoogy iteracy amidst a backdrop of arger societa inequities. What is a Community Technoogy Center (CTC)? Describing the roe of CTCs, Seatte City Panner, David Keyes stated: CTCs are stepping-stones to opportunity, equaity and civic participation for youth, senior citizens, minorities, ow-income peope and new residents. These centers aso serve as foca points for job ski deveopment, ifeong earning and community buiding. CTCs may be stages for cutura activity, eectronic hearings, pubic events and conferencing. CTCs are often part of arger programs and can be found in community centers, pubic faciities, non-profit agencies and schoos, housing communities, and ibraries. CTCs provide a range of services from genera access to advanced training. They usuay incude access to computers and the Internet and may be inked to other community network technoogy services such as web or emai hosting. CTCs use a range of information technoogies and appications to do their work. In essence, a CTC is a community service, socia action, and/or educationa faciity where computers and reated communications technoogies are avaiabe to peope who otherwise might have itte or no opportunity to use or earn to use these technoogies. A CTC may be an independent agency dedicated to this mission, or it may be a program within a nonprofit organization. Each CTC has its own unique quaities, yet a share a commitment to technoogy access and a beief that a CTC can be a means for participants to increase their sef-sufficiency. A successfu CTC offers opportunities to improve education eves, gain job-reated skis, and buid persona and community capacity. It can offer a pace where participants gather together and ink with the entire community. An important criterion for success wi be the degree to which the CTC becomes an integra part of its community. Participants can and shoud take part in the panning process and have a rea roe in directing and sustaining center operations. 5

16 Center Start-Up Manua How is a CTC Created? The start-up process for a CTC generay moves through the foowing steps: 1. Form a CTC Steering Committee to serve as the governing body for the CTC or as an advisory committee to the agency's existing governance structure. 2. Engage in a process of community mapping to identify interests and needs of prospective participants. This process shoud aso identify assets and strengths avaiabe through community enterprises and community members themseves. 3. Form partnerships and deveop commitments for assistance from members of the community (e.g., space, vounteers, funding, equipment & furnishings, etc.). 4. Research community technoogy needs. Structure program offerings in response to identified needs and interests (e.g., adut education, afterschoo sessions, job preparation, eder services, famiy and pre-schoo programs). 5. Conduct a piot program to test the panned programming structure and to further refine concusions reating to community interest and need. 6. Consider and pan for the operationa needs of the CTC (e.g., space, hardware, software, personne, and resuting financia requirements). 7. Deveop a business pan identifying the CTC's operationa and financia projections so interested parties and funders can buy into the effort. 8. Engage in whatever additiona fund-raising, space and equipment acquisition, staff and vounteer recruitment is necessary to make the pan operationa. Note -- Do not pan to start fu operations unti the Steering Committee is satisfied that the CTC has sufficient backing to stay in operation for at east 12 months. How Long Wi it Take to Create a CTC? The time required to create a CTC depends upon many variabes, such as staff, computers, participants, space, and avaiabe funds for operations. For exampe, a CTC can be estabished within a short time if a supervisor, hardware, and space is readiy avaiabe. In genera, however, it is ikey to take at east a year to estabish a CTC. This timeframe 6

17 Timeine and Process assumes that Steering Committee members have constraints upon their time, such as fu-time jobs and famiies, which means that the time given to the CTC wi be imited. The foowing is a suggested timeine for the creation of a CTC, beginning with the decision to proceed: Months 1-4 Form the CTC Steering Committee (see beow). Conduct the first meeting of the Steering Committee; estabish subcommittees of the Steering Committee. Institute community mapping of neighborhood institutions (see Chapter 2). Research the creation and estabishment process of other CTCs in your oca region. Identify agencies to partner with. Conduct the second meeting of the Steering Committee, incuding new members identified through community mapping. Gather in-depth information regarding intended constituency needs and assets (see Chapter 2). Formaize Steering Committee membership to refect constituency needs, assets, and information obtained in community mapping process. Determine governance structure for the CTC and, if necessary, initiate process for obtaining non-profit status. Design a fund-raising pan (see Chapter 8). Months 5-8 Hod Steering Committee meetings once a month. Determine the programmatic focus(es) of the CTC to refect identified needs and interests of the community (see Chapter 3). Buid partnerships with neighborhood institutions. Deveop a eements of a business pan (see Chapter 9). Impement the fund-raising pan. Design a strategy for ongoing operations and conduct a piot program. Acquire physica space for the CTC. 7

18 Center Start-Up Manua Months 9-12 Hire a professiona to run the CTC (see Chapter 4). Identify software programs for the program needs of the residents (see Chapter 5). Acquire computers and software (see Chapters 5 and 6). Deveop a memorandum of understanding for each partnership, carifying partner roes and responsibiities. Prepare and move into space. Wecome the assistance of vounteers with initia orientation sessions (see Chapter 4). Conduct piot program and finaize strategy for ongoing operations. Pan a grand opening event. Be sure to conduct outreach to the oca media for coverage of this event (see Chapter 7). Open the CTC. How Shoud a CTC Steering Committee Be Formed? One of the most important tasks that the CTC wi undertake is assembing the Steering Committee. Assembing the Steering Committee is important because the CTC organizer rarey has a the experience needed to estabish a CTC. The CTC organizer can marsha the expertise needed by recruiting and seecting peope who possess the necessary skis and experience to deveop and grow a CTC. Therefore, at a minimum, the Steering Committee shoud consist of: CTC organizer Representatives from the proposed CTC constituency Representatives of the oca business community Representatives from the educationa community One or more professionas The number of members of the Steering Committee is a function of the CTC needs. As 8

19 Timeine and Process key neighborhood institutions, as defined in Chapter 2, are identified, their representatives may be added to the Steering Committee. This section wi discuss the roes and basic tasks of each Steering Committee member. CTC organizer This is the prime mover/organizer whose idea it is to estabish a CTC - the agency head or an empoyee, a community activist, a teacher, an owner/manager of property. The organizer pus the pieces together and makes, or deegates, key decisions about how to make the CTC operationa. It may be that the CTC organizer becomes the Center Director, or, when a Center Director is hired, deegates the buk of the operationa decisions to the Director. In the atter case, the reationship between the organizer and the Center Director becomes coegia, simiar to that between a CEO and the Board Chairperson (see the Staffing section of Chapter 4). Community representatives The CTC is being designed to serve residents of the immediate and/or the surrounding community. Residents must active participants on the Steering Committee from the beginning. Tenant organizations, neighborhood associations, oca reigious institutions, community service agencies, PTAs, etc. are good sources for community representatives. In addition, someone with expertise in meeting the technoogy needs of peope with disabiities and functiona imitations (for exampe, someone from an ATA Assisitve Technoogy Resource Center) shoud be invoved. Community representatives serve as the iaison with the intended CTC participants. They pubicize the deveopment of the CTC in and for the community, and their experience serves to inform the Steering Committee of the needs, interests, and assets present in the community. Business community representative Representatives from the oca business community can bring specia skis, expertise, and possiby other business support to CTC deveopment. For exampe, a oca technoogy company representative may be abe to offer knowedge about computer hardware and software; a corporate representative from a human resources company may offer expertise in staff deveopment and training; and an empoyment services representative coud hep with job preparation and pacement. Such foks are typicay we-connected to other business eaders in 9

20 Center Start-Up Manua the community and can offer feedback on oca commerce needs. Consider connecting with area business associations and oca Chambers of Commerce. Professionas The CTC wi need a variety of professiona advice and/or service at various stages of its deveopment. For exampe, an accountant is needed to set up the accounting system. Tracking and reporting of income and expenses is important for severa reasons. First, if federa funds are being used to start the CTC, the CTC may have to have an independent accountant certify that the costs of the project were what the CTC said they were. This certification wi be difficut and costy without an accounting system in pace that generates reguar income and expense reports. Second, the accounting system wi assist the organization in keeping within its budget. Third, funders wi want to see the CTC s track record. The records generated by the accounting system are an important piece of the track record. This accounting system shoud be computerized and the staff must receive training in its use. The CTC shoud consider obtaining the services of an attorney to assist in the estabishment of the CTC. The kinds of activities for which a awyer may be needed incude: estabishing the CTC as a nonprofit corporation under state and federa aw; entering into subcontracts or partnerships; reviewing eases and/or obtaining variances from the oca panning body as necessary for use of the proposed space as a CTC; and reviewing any insurance poicies. A marketing/pubic reations professiona can aso provide a vauabe service to the CTC in the creation of a marketing and community outreach pan, and as an advisor on the issue of deveoping a strategy for the ong-term future of the CTC. These professionas have the foowing expertise: abiity to write press reeases and pace them in newspapers; experience writing grant proposas; and access to oca media organizations such as teevision, radio and cabe stations. Marketing/ pubic reations professionas may incude a pubic reations company executive, a pubic reations speciaist from a oca corporation, or a professor of pubic reations. 10

21 Timeine and Process Representative of the educationa community Representatives from the educationa community (oca schoos and their PTA's, coeges, and universities, ibraries, museums, and adut education programs) wi be vauabe members of the Steering Committee. Educators not ony wi know what the schoo system offers but aso may provide entry to the other systems as we. The educationa community aso may be a vauabe source of vounteer instructors, professiona deveopment opportunities, education programs, and so forth. Other members After severa months, the Steering committee may discover a need for adding new members. For exampe, peope with knowedge of equipment acquisition, fundraising, and hiring may be vauabe. In addition, as neighborhood institutions with resources that the CTC can tap into are identified by the Steering Committee (see Chapter 2), representatives of these potentia partners shoud be added. What Wi CTC Governance Structure Look Like? One of the first issues the Steering Committee must address is that of governance. Committee members must agree upon a framework under which the CTC wi operate and they must specify the nature of the decisions that are to be the responsibiity of the different components of that framework. There are mutipe options. The most ikey incude: Governance by an existing non-profit agency. If the CTC is to be an addition to offerings of an existing service agency, no separate governance structure may be needed. On the other hand, it is strongy recommended that the agency estabish a sub-committee of its existing board or a separate advisory group, simiar in membership to that recommended for the Steering Committee, to assist the Center director in handing issues pecuiar to CTC operation. Such issues might incude outreach and program promotion, hardware and software donations, technoogy-skied vounteers, resource identification, and fund-raising opportunities. Governance by the community. Here, the Steering Committee deveops organizationa documents (such as artices of incorporation, byaws, a mission statement) that are required for the estabishment of a nonprofit entity that is tax-exempt according to section 501(c)(3) of the Interna Revenue Code. This entity woud then be governed by an eected board of 11

22 Center Start-Up Manua directors whose primary responsibiities woud be to make sure that the CTC: n n n is cear about its purpose; has enough money; and, does what it is supposed to do. An aternative to aunching a new non-profit corporation or simiar entity is for the Steering Committee to seek a coaboration with an existing nonprofit that is wiing to serve as fisca agent. Having a fisca agent buys time for the Steering Committee to proceed with panning and operationaizing the CTC before becoming bogged down in the technicaities of setting up a forma governance structure of its own. The disadvantage is that the fisca agent charges a fee to cover the expenses incurred, usuay between 5% and 15% of the gross revenues earned by the CTC. Governance by the property owner or manager. If a property owner or manager is the primary catayst for the creation of the CTC and/or providing a majority of the financing, he or she wi make the decision as to whether the CTC wi be wi be under the management contro of the forprofit enterprise or independenty run under the auspices of a non-profit organization, which might either be one that is estabished specificay for this purpose or, perhaps, an existing nonprofit that provides other services to residents. In making this decision, the owner/manager must recognize that for-profit entitities sedom quaify for donations or grants that are taxdeductibe for the donor. Property owners often find that governance by a non-profit organization heps ensure stronger ties to the community, increasing the program's ikeihood of success. Whether the Steering Committee of the CTC is constituted as a Board of Directors or as an Advisory Board, it shoud meet on a reguar basis. It shoud consist of between 5 and 15 peope to aow for ordery meetings and constructive work to be performed. Subcommittees shoud be constituted to aow incusion of non-members. The Board/ Committee's major responsibiities, both in the organization and impementation phases, are poicy deveopment, fisca oversight, and fund-raising. Its major CTC contact is the Center Director. 12

23 Timeine and Process Documentation The process described in this chapter shoud resut in the production of certain items that wi be necessary in formuating a business pan (see Chapter 9) and assist in the day to day operation of the center: a ist of Steering Committee members with their affiiations, addresses, phone numbers and emai addresses; minutes of a Steering Committee meetings; a timeine for opening the CTC together with a preiminary ist of tasks to be addressed and the designation of those responsibe for foow through (this timeine wi be added to and made more detaied as pans for the CTC progress); and a description of the proposed governance structure for the CTC, aong with any documents required for non-profit status appication (shoud that be the determined governance structure). 13

24 Center Start-Up Manua Additiona Resources Board Cafe BoardSource - Buiding Effective fective Nonprofit Boards bridges.org - Guides to Running a CTC Computers In Our Future Tookit - CTC StartUp Checkist Deveoping Your Strategic Pan Free Compete Tookit for Boards Greater Boston Broadband Network Poitics of Pubic Access Cabe and the Community Technoogy Movement; Sponsored by the CTC Vista Project and the Coege of Pubic and Community Service at UMass-Boston, avaiabe as video on demand Interna Revenue Service Charities & Non-Profits Neighborhood Networks Lessons Learned in Starting and Running a Neighborhood Networks Center - June Sampe of a Board of Directors Committee Work Pan 14

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