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Changing Policy and Philanthropy




Dec 22, 2000


Michael Margolis

I had the chance to read your NTIA speech the other day and was delighted by its message. I find it's critical for more folks to keep asking the "so what" behind community technology and look at the purpose and the relevance of their technology uses. I am weary of organizations that look at technology simply as a program of their organization, when it should really be looked at as a tool for changing the way in which they "do business" and enabling greater impact related to their mission. Of course, you always have to create incentives for change and resetting the bar.

We've learned a lot in the past 2 years looking at how nonprofits re-tool for the digital age and must change their approaches to organizational management, program delivery, and performance; not to mention their relationships to the private sector. This is where the rubber meets the road. There's a lot of work to be done in resetting expectations across the sector for what's possible, not to mention reframing the public will and consciousness. The Digital Divide should be about economic empowerment and getting folks into the prosperity mainstream. The next challenge in demystifying technology is to develop metaphors that are culturally relevant for catalyzing the transformation of organizations and the constituents they serve. They need to talk and act more like the private sector (nexus of power) that they are trying to engage...

I felt your speech rang true to that message. Thanks.


With the holidays upon us, I wanted to send you a warm greeting and best wishes for the New Year and thank you for your contribution to CitySkills' efforts. Below you will find an update on CitySkills programmatic and organizational growth during in the past year. The founding of CitySkills has proven to be both an exhilarating and challenging process. Twenty months ago, CitySkills was little more than a highly ambitious concept birthed out of the experience and lessons learned of CitySoft, Inc. and our co-founder Nick Gleason.

Due to massive changes brought on by technology innovation and the New Economy, American employers have been unable to find enough qualified talent to meet their growing technical needs. We wondered why more urban adults weren't finding their way into these high-growth, high-paying jobs? After some thought and research we recognized the dire need for a national nonprofit like CitySkills to broker resources, centralize best practices, advocate for change and catalyze the growth and impact of community-based job training efforts.

CitySkills has come a long way in the past year, establishing itself as nationally-recognized leader and resource for workforce development and the emerging Internet sector. We have been fortunate by an outpouring of support and interest from across the industry, practitioners, foundations, and policy-makers during our initial start-up.

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