Our mission is to unite organizations and volunteers to transform lives through digital literacy.
We believe that access to the Internet is a human right, and that those without the skills to use a computer are at risk of social and economic disadvantage. Public services and essential information are increasingly moving online, and many people are unable to access those resources. Many fine organizations are working to spread Internet connectivity to the underserved, but access to technology is only a partial solution. Connectivity needs to be coupled with digital skills training that is relevant and delivered in a way that won’t intimidate the adult learner.
In 2018, Community Technology Network turns 10 years old. Our goal to delete the digital divide has been consistent, but the pace of change means the goalposts are constantly being moved. Therefore, CTN must continue using its decade of experience to build a more inclusive digital world for the future in which everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of life online.
During its next 10 years, CTN will be taking the good fight beyond the Bay Area, initially in central Texas, with a mission to establish additional digital inclusion hubs wherever we find meaningful partnerships that serve communities in need of digital skills.
Community Technology Network gained its 501(c)3 nonprofit status and became an independent nonprofit organization in 2008 with grant support from the Full Circle Fund.
However, our origins can be traced back to 2001, when we started as a program of TechSoup (then called CompuMentor) to address a rapidly growing need for public digital literacy training. In 2007, our role was reviewed in a community survey, the results of which clearly indicated an ongoing need for CTN’s digital literacy work, and the transition to charitable status was made.
Back in 2008, when CTN became a nonprofit, Twitter was just a fledgling social media experiment, Facebook had barely begun its rise to world dominance, and Instagram wasn’t even a twinkle in its creator’s eye. Ten years on, the internet is central to everyday life, and access to it has become a right, not a privilege.
During those 10 years, CTN grew from one volunteer Program Manager and a handful of helpers to an organization of over a dozen staff, 60 active volunteers and 50 partner locations. It also spread its sphere of influence beyond San Francisco to the wider Bay Area. Today, CTN is led by an active and diverse Board of Directors comprising community leaders, business leaders, and technology advocates from local nonprofits.
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.
Laurie had a substantial career in the for profit world, working for large corporations like Fireman’s Fund Insurance (3 years) and North American Mortgage Company (7 years), and smaller enterprises from LLCs to entrepreneurial start-ups (10 years). Thematically, she has worked in the space that is between end-product technology and the user of it. She has managed internal and consumer-facing help desks, telecomunications and network functions, as well as training and customer support operations. She negotiated and managed large vendor contracts and managed corporate-wide technology implementation projects. In 2008, she shifted her career to the nonprofit arena working for TechSoup for four years before joining Community Technology Network. In parallel, Laurie has volunteered in homeless shelters and multiple arts organizations. She served on the Boards of AXIS Dance Company and Robert Moses’ Kin for 3 years each. She is in her tenth year serving as a SFMoMA School docent and her fourth year as an Art Docent for the Goldsworthy sculptures in The Presidio.
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.
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.
Joanna is a Bay Area native and an NYU graduate with a BA in Sociology and French. Following college, she spent over two years working and traveling abroad, from volunteering in a women’s shelter in Thailand to teaching horseback riding in rural New Zealand. After returning home to California, she spent a year as an Americorps member managing students and volunteers at Reading Partners then moved on to a development role at a volunteer-based nonprofit. Thanks to these experiences, Joanna brings to CTN a love of teaching and a passion for motivating volunteers to support meaningful change and is excited to empower seniors through digital literacy.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Jannell has personal, professional, and volunteer experience working with underserved communities. She is fluent in Spanish and has a variety of experience mentoring, teaching, and leading groups of people. During her time at San Francisco State University, she studied Child and Adolescent Development and grew in her passion to meet the needs of both the youth and adult populations. Even more so, she is excited to share her skills and knowledge to further support San Francisco adult communities through digital literacy.
Sabrina is a native of Hong Kong. She first came to the States as a cultural exchange student in the early 90’s. After spending several years in Arkansas and South Carolina, she decided to make the Bay Area her home. Along with her patient and caring personality, Sabrina brings to CTN her extensive experience managing multi-cultural projects in the financial services, advertising and market research arena. Sabrina is fluent in English and Cantonese, and conversational in Mandarin. She wants to use both her language and technical skills to help people to enjoy the benefits of using technology and not feel left behind in the digital age.
As a Program Manager with nearly 20 years in the field Jessica has managed projects for clients including Camp Fire USA, Austin Opera, The Thinkery and many others. As Knowbility’s Community Programs Director, Jessica oversaw the fundraising, organization, development, promotion, and marketing of their global outreach efforts. Her work on these programs includes rallying top tech talent to implement, teach, and advocate for accessible web design; organizing communities both locally and abroad to learn and practice accessibility; and working to provide classroom support nationwide for students who use assistive technology. Jessica successfully raised over $100K in grants and sponsorships for programs in 2016 and facilitated the implementation of the new company brand. Specializing in nonprofit program management Jessica speaks at conferences, leads training workshops, and brings a whole-team approach to leadership. Jessica has a degree in Nonprofit Administration from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.
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.
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.
Jared has been involved with CTN for many years as a volunteer. In the spring of 2017 he joined as a staff member and provides digital literacy support at senior centers and housing developments, focused on the Mandarin Chinese and Spanish bilingual/monolingual populations. His dedication to closing the digital divide resulted in winning multiple awards, including CTN’s 2017 Digital Changemaker Award. Jared had a background in technology training, translation, and consular communications. He has studied at Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley and is multilingual, with an active knowledge of seven languages.
After studying at City College of San Francisco, Eve transferred to San Francisco State University and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She believes that no one is too old to learn and especially appreciates seniors who have the courage to learn new things at their age. She feels thankful that this society provides them chances to learn and is grateful that she can share her own ability with others. The result is a win-win: learners acquiring new knowledge and her finding her value in society.
A lifelong learner Margaret, could not imagine modern life without technologies and the internet. Her passion is to share her knowledge and help people. She joined CTN and found her calling in teaching seniors how to use computers as a life enrichment tool. Currently Margaret provides digital literacy instruction to Russian speakers at a senior housing development in San Francisco. Margaret holds masters degrees in economics and computer science and has worked as a software engineer to design, develop and support numerous applications and websites.
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.
Margaret is a Senior Manager at Accenture, focused on high tech and platform clients in San Francisco and across the bay area. Over the last six years at Accenture, she has developed expertise in digital transformation, strategy, and enablement in sales and sales operations. Prior to joining Accenture, Margaret was a Product Manager in Online Strategy for Fidelity Investments, based in Boston. She has called San Francisco home for more than four years now after growing up on the east coast and two stints in Chicago. Margaret holds an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and a BA in Classics from Northwestern University.
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.
Katy is the Information Security Officer for a bank in San Francisco. She began studying, researching and writing about privacy law during law school, and then embarked on a career in compliance and risk management as a consultant with KPMG and as the Director of Anti-Bribery Compliance at Visa Inc. Katy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Natalia is a Diversity Recruiter at Facebook where she is an advocate for those whose talents and perspectives are underrepresented in the tech industry. Prior to working at Facebook, Natalia worked as a Recruitment Manager at Teach For America and taught 2nd grade at an all-boys school in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Natalia holds a masters degree in teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education and a bachelors degree in history from New York University.
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!
The Barrios Trust
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.