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Austin Skyline

Serving the Greater Austin community since 1995

Our History

Austin Free-Net is a 501(c)(3) a nonprofit organization that has been working to bridge the Digital Divide in the Austin area since 1995. This timeline features major milestones, key leadership, publications, and more.

from

1995

  • Incorporated Austin Free-Net

  • 200 Booker T. Washington public housing development residents were taught how to use computers, scanners, digital cameras and other technology

  • Hosted first “Nothin’ But FREE-Net” community fair

  • Austin Free-Net selected by Austin’s ITEC and Government Solutions Expo to receive portion of attendance proceeds

from

1996

  • Opened the East Austin Media Lab

  • Recognized by President Bill Clinton for developing an effective model of technology access

  • Conducted summer technology programs where children from East Austin learned to use computers and published their own web pages

  • Opened Sematech-sponsored computer site at Montopolis Recreation Center

  • Received $206,900 grant from the Texas State Library for public access in Austin libraries

  • Received $246,979 grant from the US Department of Commerce for the East Austin Community Network

from

1997

  • Implemented year-long training and public access project in Austin Police Department Neighborhood Centers

  • Established training and public access in the East Austin Community Network with the Austin Learning Academy and the LBJ School of Public Affairs

  •  Won several awards: Global Information Infrastructure (GII) award semifinalist; Community Collaboration Award;Texas Interactive Media Award for Outstanding Public Service; Selected as national model for virtual volunteering

from

1999

  • Trained the first Internet co-trainers team at the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center (now SeniorLinks)

  • Participated in the International Roundtable on Information and Technology sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and the World Bank

  • Joined the Sister Project, an online dialog with Proyecto Conexiones, a school-based network in Columbia

  • Participated in several University of Texas-based research projects focused on public access and training in East and Southeast Austin

  • Joined Austin Technology Coalition and several collaborations with nonprofits working to increase public access and training

  • Hosted an East Austin Community Network panel of Austin Free-Net public access partners and customers at the Texas Telecommunity Conference

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2002

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2003

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2005

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2009

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2010

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2011

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2012

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2013

  • Received $50,000 grant from the RGK Foundation

  • Fix-Net begins operation to help other nonprofits with their IT needs

  • Austin Chronicle voted AFN “BEST OF: Internet Safety Net and Digital Divide Bridge”

  • Received prestigious ET3 TEC Champion Award for outstanding communication technology leadership

  • City of Austin Mayor Will Wynn proclaims March 24 “Austin Free-Net 10th Anniversary Day”

  • Received recognition for our work in the full-power transition to digital television from then-Chief, Media Bureau National DTV Transition Coordinator: “You provided the local knowledge and expertise that the FCC could not have duplicated under such tight deadlines.”

  • Received the $9.3-million-dollar grant from Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to continue our work in reducing the digital divide

  • Partnered with IBM to receive unrestricted usage rights to their online adult reading program, Reading Companion

  • Received $10,000 grant from the Lola Wright Foundation

  • Received $24,000 grant from the City of Austin Grant for Technology Opportunities (GTOP)

  • Held first Technology Certification Preparatory Class

  • Re-instituted Fix-Net Technical Services

  • Began contracting training with Austin Independent School District

  • Began contracting training with Boys & Girls Club of Austin

  • Hosted first-ever Broadband Across Texas Week

  • Received $24,000 grant from the City of Austin Grant for Technology Opportunities (GTOP)

  • Received grant for fund raising strategies from Greenlights for Nonprofit Success

  • Received Shield-Ayres Foundation award

  • Received the Hammill Foundation award

  • Celebrated 2-Million Training Hours for TXC2

  • Participated in the University of Texas Digital Literacy in Texas Colloquium and Conference.  There Executive Director, Juanita Budd, discussed the successes of the Broadband Technology Opportunities (BTOP) Grant.

  • TXC2 received the Computerworld Award for 2013 –