ellohay! West Michigan

A Conversation with Andy Wolber

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Andy Wolber from NPower Michigan. Andy is the Executive Director of NPower Michigan. Their mission:

We provide technology services to nonprofits in Michigan, ensuring that all organizations have access to the best technology resources and know-how and can apply these tools to help create healthy, vibrant, thriving communities

We talked for about 45 minutes. High level notes:

• Team up with Macatawa Media Center in Holland, they have a earn-a-laptop program (CARE) and would definitely be a good source of information

• Check out One Economy (I did, very interesting indeed)

• Make the Community Media Center in Grand Rapids a fiduciary parent

• Take a cue from the United Way, they work with many non-profit organizations, they are a good model

• Call NuSoft Solutions, they should be interested in teaming up in some way

• Engage college students with the project

• Work with job skill training centers

He was a great source of knowledge, and has been a very generous individual. He’s also emailed be several reports, introduced me to Barb Pyle at Macatawa Media Center, and has been kind enough to allow me to write about him here in our blog.

Thank you for your contacts, advice and contributions Andy. I hope to talk to you again soon.

Have Your Say for the Future of Philly WiFi, via NTEN

Posted in benchmarks, bookmarks, feedback, wifi by forgr on May 6, 2008

If you live or work in the Philadelphia area, set aside some time on the evening of June 3 for a public forum on the future of wifi in that city.

“The promise of a city where everyone has the potential to be connected, opens new doors for economic, social and political participation.”

Read the full NTEN article here.

‘Hot Spots Cool City’ page solicits “Walled Garden” link suggestions

Posted in bookmarks, links for community, portal by forgr on April 3, 2008

Every once and a while I head over to the City of Grand Rapids ‘Hot Spots Cool City’ page to see if any new news has been posted. I just noticed that there’s a “Walled Garden” link suggestion field added to the page.

Hot Spots Cool City banner

I wonder what kind of plans they have over there… interesting.

Benchmarks, the importance of participation

Posted in benchmarks, bookmarks, discovery stages, writing by forgr on February 18, 2008

Programs like these are worth mentioning for their passionate staff, dedication to children and children at heart, and vision of encouraging others to participate. People involved are always learning, growing, teaching, sharing knowledge and passions.

When I was involved in programs like these, I knew that I could do, make, change things, change minds. I felt alive and connected and included. If people feel like they are a part of things, they care about the finished product. They gain respect for the process as well.

Personally, when someone makes decisions for me, I feel helpless, disconnected, trapped, or disposable. Think about simple everyday things in your life; when your co-worker doesn’t CC you on project developments, when your wife or husband forces you to go to IKEA all day on your day off, when your president decides to bomb a country. Think about when you were a kid and you had to go to bed at 8:00. Shitty right?

Here are some organizations, people and ideas that remedy those shitty little things that are all forced upon us.

826 Valencia, link

Earn-a-bike model, Bicycle Workshops Huston Earn-a-Bike Program, Youth Bicycle Education Network

The Tinkering School, link

Montessori, Erd Kinder projects, link

Montessori Farm Schools, link

Bre Petis, link

Make, Craft, Maker Faire, link

Cameron Sinclair’s Architecture for Humanity project, link

MSU list of grants for nonprofits, resources

Posted in bookmarks, discovery stages, donations, hardware resources, partners, players, research by forgr on February 12, 2008

A pretty good list. Thanks for the leg work MSU

“A compilation of web pages and books of potential interest to nonprofit organizations seeking funding opportunities related to computer technology.”


Piles of links, research

Posted in bookmarks, discovery stages by forgr on February 4, 2008