Thirteen years ago on March 3, 2008, Community Tech Network acquired nonprofit status. But this isn’t how the story begins. In 2001, CTN had its start as a project of CompuMentor (now TechSoup). As a CompuMentor program, CTN thrived as a regional collaboration of informed technology and community empowerment professionals. Between 2001 and 2006, CTN worked closely with community technology practitioners to hold events, accumulate feedback from the community, and develop a series of best practice guides for bridging the digital divide.
By 2007, the ongoing need for CTN’s digital literacy work was apparent, and the transition to charitable status was made. Since then, we have continually rebranded and reinvented. We have adapted to changing circumstances and implemented new approaches. We have greatly expanded our impact, enlarged our community, and learned a lot along the way.
Today CTN is a teenager, and this year, we hit a big growth spurt. With the onset of the pandemic, our team suddenly had to rethink our whole business model — which had focused on in-person programming via senior centers, housing developments, and libraries. As we socially distanced and sheltered in place, we found ourselves asking: How can we continue reaching people in need? And how can we work with them in new ways?
Fortunately, these are questions Kami Griffiths, CTN’s executive director and co-founder, has been asking all along. Although such unforeseen circumstances have been difficult to navigate, with greater challenges come new opportunities. One of the concepts that Kami worked on from the early days became our unifying organizational focus and is now known as Home Connect. She had the vision to reach older adults unable to access programming in community settings by leveraging technology to reach them virtually at home.
This radical shift in programming would not have been possible if it weren’t for years of experience and dedicated leadership. We are proud of what we have accomplished, and we look forward to whatever the future has to offer — growing pains and opportunities alike!