Our mission is to unite organizations and volunteers to transform lives through digital literacy.
Public services and essential information are increasingly moving online, and many people are unable to access those resources. Worldwide, 4.4 billion people have never been online, and some of those people live right in the tech-savvy San Francisco Bay Area.
Many fine organizations are working to spread Internet connectivity to the underserved, but access to technology is only a partial solution. As Community Technology Network founder Kami Griffiths says, “That’s like giving a car to someone who doesn’t know how to drive.” Fortunately, Community Technology Network is working hard to close the digital divide through education and outreach. Because of Community Technology Network programs, people who have never used a computer before have learned to access social services online, video chat with family a continent away, read the news, and more.
In 2001, Community Technology Network started as a TechSoup (formerly CompuMentor) program at a regional community technology meeting of the America Connects Consortium. Even in its early days, Community Technology Network filled a rapidly growing need for public digital literacy training. The young project thrived and empowered San Francisco Bay Area communities through digital literacy. Community Technology Network produced a series of Best Practices Guides and other valuable resources for community technology teachers and trainers.
In 2007, a committee interviewed and surveyed more than 25 community technology agencies. The results clearly indicated a deep and ongoing need for Community Technology Network’s digital literacy work.
In 2008, with funding from the Full Circle Fund, Community Technology Network was granted 501(c)3 nonprofit status and became an independent nonprofit organization.
Today, an active and diverse Board of Directors leads Community Technology Network and its staff. The Directors are San Francisco Bay Area community leaders, business leaders, and technology advocates from Bay Area nonprofits. The Community Technology Network Board directs organizational priorities, business activities, content development, and events.
With nearly 15 years of experience working in the public sector, Kami has developed a passion for helping people gain access and better utilize technology, after witnessing firsthand how the digital divide and low literacy levels were aiding the cycle of poverty. She has worked for the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation, managing 27 public access computing centers, teaching computer classes and establishing their volunteer trainer program. As the Training and Outreach Manager for TechSoup Global, Kami greatly expanded her knowledge and understanding of the nonprofit technology field, having conducted over 200 interviews with librarians and producing over 100 webinars. She is a founding member of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and speaks nationally about digital inclusion.
A native of Oakland with over 5 years of experience in adult education, Heather is driven by her passion to provide access to equitable educational opportunities for underserved communities. With a background in program support, curriculum development, and instruction in nonprofit, university, and community college settings, Heather has focused her career on empowering her students through English language and digital literacy training. She has also volunteered as a tutor for English language learners through the nonprofit Mujeres Unidas y Activas and the SEIU UHW-West & Joint Employer Education Fund. She is fluent in Spanish and holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and Latin American/Latino studies from U.C. Santa Cruz, a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from San Francisco State University, and a certificate in educational technology from Merritt College.
Laurie’s childhood includes New York City and Venezuela, though she was mostly schooled and raised in California. She started college with law school in mind, but her first modern dance class changed her forever. Laurie is a proud alum of the Mills College master’s program in dance, though college employment turned into a career helping people use technology. She ended up in large companies helping staff use applications to make work easier and in start-ups using the Internet to provide services to customers who sometimes got confused. Throw in some adventures in telecom and you could say she’s seasoned. Laurie loves helping the “relationship” between people and computers work.
Kate immigrated to the United States from Belarus in 2011. In Belarus, Kate studied psychology and volunteered as a surveyor. She also volunteered in a nonprofit organization to provide support to physically disabled youth so they could integrate into society. She has experience as an office assistant at San Francisco General Hospital and recently earned a certificate from the Office Assistant Program from LEN Business and Language Institute. She is fluent in Russian and is studying English as a second language at CCSF. She considers herself to be tech savvy and wants to help people stay connected in the digital world, especially those who are immigrants. She thinks CTN is the right place to share her enthusiasm for helping people.
After teaching high school English for many years, William felt a tremendous accomplishment when he retired several years ago. Still, he was motivated to continue his teaching and learning experiences. He is a volunteer tutor in the San Francisco Library’s Project Read program where he coaches adults to read. In 2015, he started at CTN as a digital literacy tutor through the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). He receives much satisfaction supporting the seniors in their various pastimes. After tutoring in the computer lab at several senior centers, he became involved as one of the actors with Castro Senior Center Radio Players. In July 2016, William joined CTN’s staff as a Program Coordinator, He expects to share insights and experience developing adult literacy with our volunteer corps to support seniors in improving both technology and reading literacy.
Andrea started out with CTN as a volunteer in the Ready, Set, Connect! program in 2013 and is now stepping in as the coordinator for the program. She graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and cultural studies. Andrea has a substantial background in youth development and working with underserved and marginalized populations. She also has experience with digital marketing, social media, and website development along with visual and multimedia arts.
Dawei (David) is a full-time college student, who is from China. As a computer science major, Dawei is dedicated to serving communities with computer technology. He brings experience and skills from tutoring Diablo Valley College students struggling with math. He volunteers as a Computer Docent in the Concord Library and started with CTN as a volunteer digital literacy tutor in low income housing. Hoping to help more people enjoy the convenience of technology, Dawei is now teaching basic computer classes to senior residents in Oakland. He believes technology should serve people and everyone deserves to use technology. He loves to see a smiling face when someone gets help understanding their device. While continuing to study in college, Dawei is committed to spending his spare time helping the community with his computer knowledge.
Samantha is a poet, activist and community leader whose deepest desire is to help communities transform for the better. She believes the key to sustaining any community is developing the consciousness of its people and providing access to its resources. She sees digital literacy as a key factor in maximizing how individuals communicate, create tools to solve societal issues and compete for better jobs and services. She is a Masters in Public Administration candidate at San Francisco State University and earned a BA in English from Spelman College.
Ashleigh brings technology program and project management experience across the healthcare and software delivery spaces to the CTN Board. As a consultant, Ashleigh has provided program management expertise to major bay area healthcare and technology organizations including Washington Hospital, Practice Fusion, Autodesk and Alameda Alliance for Health driving critical project delivery and organizational alignment goals. Ashleigh has deep experience in dispersed team management, business model creation, budget management, and large scale project implementation. In the non-profit sector, she has volunteered for extended periods in Africa and Europe driving educational forum delivery and continues to expand her involvement in the Bay Area. In her role with CTN, Ashleigh seeks to expand CTN’s offerings to bridge the digital divide between patients and new software systems that are changing the traditional healthcare landscape.
Matt’s major focus of the past 15 years has been helping to lead the movement to leverage telecommunications as a force for social impact. Having co-founded 3 companies and 2 nonprofits, Matt is currently co-founder and CEO of Sparrow, a national wireless carrier in the U.S. focused on using mobile services, devices and cloud based apps and content to help end cycles of poverty both in the U.S. and abroad. Matt writes and is published extensively, having co-edited and authored the Nonprofit Guide to Going Green (Wiley & Sons) as well as many nationally published articles over the past 5 years including the Washington Post, The Hill, and San Jose Mercury News. He frequently speaks and lectures on telecom and sustainability. In addition to the Community Technology Network, he sits on the boards of the American Sustainable Business Council and City Craft Ventures Foundation. Matt holds a BA in Telecommunications from Indiana University and MBA from George Washington University.
John is the Vice President of Finance at TechSoup Global, a 200 person technology focused non-profit based in San Francisco. John joined TechSoup Global in 2001 and is now the senior financial executive responsible for all aspects of the organizations financial management including creating and executing against annual budgets, overseeing the preparation of all audits and tax returns, as well as continuously managing all ongoing financial aspects of TechSoup Global’s global operations. Prior to joining TSG in 2001, John spent his first seven years in the Bay Area helping to launch and grow a number of early stage technology startups. During the two years immediately prior to joining TechSoup Global, John was the co-founder & CFO of MyRaptor.com an online travel portal that received significant funding before the bottom fell out of the venture capital market in early 2000. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Mr. McDermott graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University with a BA in History in 1992 – before heading west to follow his dreams (and escape the East Coast’s humidity).
Steven immerses himself in the fascinating convergence of work, technology, education, community, real estate, and the environment. Recognizing growing needs and opportunities to impact communities through digital literacy, he shares his entrepreneurial attributes to help advance the CTN mission. With over 17 years of experience in HR consulting, training, operations, and leadership, he is currently founder and principal of GravitateTraining geared for micro- to mid-sized enterprises. Whether for major organizations, start-ups, or start-up operations within major organizations such as Kaiser-Permanente, Steven’s direct contributions and strategic guidance have helped diverse businesses nationwide do better business. While holding a degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, he is also recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management as a certified Senior HR Professional (SPHR). Steven has enjoyed greatly volunteering and serving for various non-profit groups, including Habitat for Humanity, the National Association of Asian-American Professionals, the Northern California HR Association, and the National Diversity Council.
Vivek Palekar is a Global Manager at Chevron based in Richmond California. Over the last 11 years at Chevron, Vivek has held several leadership positions of increasing responsibility in the Downstream and Chemicals organization. Vivek has deep experiences at the intersection of technology, innovation and strategic business and organizational management. He has successfully managed large and globally dispersed teams. He is an accomplished Project Manager and serves on various Strategic Decision Review Boards. Vivek brings diversity of experiences in the non-profit and social sector. For more than a decade, he has worked on projects with several Bay Area non-profit organizations such as the Bay Area Rescue Mission, United Way, Project Open Hand and Alameda County Meals On Wheels. He is also a Middle School Science Fair Coach at the Harvest Park Middle School in Pleasanton. Vivek has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Penn State and an MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Devaki Raj has been living in the Bay Area for the past 3 years working on Analytics at Google. She is a fierce advocate of working with the under represented, having worked at Jumpstart and having organized the Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival before coming to the Community Technology Network (CTN). CTN is a natural transition for her, coming full circle from volunteering in high school at a local assisted living facility teaching basic computer skills to the elderly. She is excited to be part of CTN because it mixes her following passions: working with the diverse populations, internet access for all, and being part of an engaged and excited group. She earned a B.A. in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford and a MSc in Applied Statistics from the University of Oxford.
Preston is a technologist living in San Francisco. His work in the digital justice movement includes supporting digital literacy trainings and public computer centers in Philadelphia, developing community wireless networks in DC, Detroit, and Brooklyn, and teaching community activists how to develop and maintain their own communications infrastructure while a field analyst at the Open Technology Institute. He also supported the operations of the Code for America Brigade network, a national network of civic technologist volunteers. He currently works at MonkeyBrains, a local San Francisco internet service provider, as Field Operations Supervisor.Preston holds a B.S. In Electrical Engineering and a minor in Spanish from Georgia Tech.
Gayle Samuelson Carpentier is the Chief Business Development Officer at TechSoup Global. Upon joining the TechSoup Global in 2001 as the program’s founding Business Development lead, Ms. Carpentier developed the strategic structure of its product donation service. The service allows nonprofits to find a large array of donated technology in one place, while still reflecting each donating company’s unique philanthropic goals. In her expanded role, Ms Carpentier works with all sections of TechSoup Global to grow and maintain the unique focus of direct services and benefits to the nonprofit and civil society sector. Whether scoping business criteria for new international partners, negotiating multi-national donation programs, developing business strategies and structures for new initiatives or speaking out on the essential need for corporations to support nonprofit efforts, she continues to expand and stretch the market understanding and interpretation of the role technology plays in the overall health of the sector.
Steve spent over 30 years in technical sales support for IBM and Xerox. His range of activities included marketing, education, training, technical writing, and sales and operational management. Deep technical assistance to a variety of clients in the S.F. Bay area revolved around the deployment and use of UNIX-based systems, though his activities also included supporting systems running Windows, Linux, and recently OS X and IOS. Now retired from the private sector, Steve has engaged with numerous non-profit organizations, including most recently Jewish Vocational Services Technical Access Center, assisting clients in their job search, and Amnesty International USA, where he is a volunteer Legislative Coordinator for the State of California. Steve graduated from the State University of New York with an MBA and MS in Computer Science, along with a BA in History.
Sarah Gerrish brings more than eight years of experience in nonprofit marketing and fundraising to CTN. Having lived in the Bay Area on and off since 2007, Sarah feels a strong connection to the communities in San Francisco. She has worked closely with six nonprofits in the Bay Area in a variety of capacities, from advising their leaders to hands-on volunteering. In her spare time, Sarah volunteers as a computer tutor at her local SF library branch. Sarah graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee with an MA in Communication and a certificate in mediation and negotiation. She currently works for the San Francisco SPCA.
With the valued support of members of local and regional business communities, Community Technology Network remains poised at the forefront of technological empowerment and education in the San Francisco Bay Area. As we look forward to regional expansion and the integration of our resources in communities beyond the Bay Area, we also invite the support of any individual or organization that recognizes alignment between our mission and their own. We welcome contributions of time, resources, information, financing, and services, and are always happy to discuss possibilities with our supporters. Feel free to contact us for more information on how you or your organization can support CTN!
California Consumer Protection Foundation
Comcast – Internet Essentials
Consumer Technology Association Foundation
Crescent Porter Hale Foundation
Frontline Arts Web Design
Full Circle Fund
Junior League of San Francisco
Latino Community Foundation
SF City & County Department of Aging and Adult Services
Werner-Kohnstamm Family Fund
Yahoo Employee Foundation
We are also very fortunate to have many generous individual donors. If you would like to contribute to our work of closing the digital divide, visit our donation page.