Closing the Digital Divide
for WV Rural Families and Communities

Nonprofit Collaboratives is a grant project funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program. The purpose of the grant is to improve Information and access to technology in West Virginia. The grant uses several methods to accomplish this aim, including computer training, graduate nonprofit management workshops, continuing social work education, and partnering with nonprofit agencies throughout the state. West Virginia University, as a grant partner, hosts the project at the Division of Social Work. The Governor's Office on Technology (GOT) contributes funding for the project, while the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Families (GCCF) contributes matching funds through participation in the project by its Family Resource Network's (FRNs) member agencies. Multi-County Community Action Against Poverty, Inc., (Multi-Cap) matches trainees time. The West Virginia Community Action Directors Association (WVCADA) contributes matching funds through participation in the project from its statewide network of agencies. Operation of facilities for technology training is contributed to the project by the West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG). Software Valley gives consulting time to the project.

Dr. Karen Harper-Dorton and Dr. David G. Williams are the Co-Principal Investigators for the project. Administrative Assistant for the Burgess Center, Ms. Linda Grandon, works with Ms. Courtney Ostaff, Graduate Assistant, who manages many day-to-day activities of the grant project. Faculty and technology trainers provide many learning opportunities as does the Division of Social Work's Continuing Education Program, an important source for information and access to technology for community-based professionals and others involved in lifelong learning.

The main thrust of Nonprofit Collaborative's efforts to date has been offering computer training to nonprofit agencies in West Virginia. Nonprofit Collaboratives has trained over 600 individuals on personal computer usage, and reached thousands more through various news articles, flyers, and its webpage. Statistical data about West Virginia's social service agencies' technology usage have been collected through a massive survey effort, and are currently being analyzed. Another survey has been conducted on computer trainees' demographic data and technology use interests. Future plans include an intensive grant writing offering, further work with WVCADA and the FRNs, and program evaluation.

Nonprofit Collaboratives
Division of Social Work, School of Applied Social Sciences
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
West Virginia University
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