CTN hosts a monthly gathering called Breakfast, Brag & Borrow (BB&B). Our executive director, Kami Griffiths, launched this regular meeting in 2014, hoping that people would show up (there were pastries) and … interesting things would ensue. Kami is a master at engaging people and connecting dots many don’t readily see. She is like a matchmaker, looking to foster partnerships and opportunities that reach and serve more people and that capitalize on the huge resource of the work people are already doing. BB&B immediately was the kitchen table/conference room combination of getting to know new-to-you people and organizations and getting down to the business of “what more can we do if we combine our resources and talents.”
When I think about the things that make Community Technology Network special, I think this desire to foster collaboration and leadership in convening diverse entities is part of our brand. That April 2014 first meeting had people from the San Francisco Public Library, The Women’s Building, Bay Area Video Coalition, the SF Department of Aging & Adult Services, and the I.T. Bookman Senior Center. Attendance immediately spanned government, nonprofit, and the broad geography and demographics of San Francisco.
Kami is taking this ethos and energy beyond the Bay Area and California, starting a CTN presence in Austin, Texas. I imagine a BB&B will soon convene there. Meanwhile, Joanna Bell, digital literacy program manager overseeing our SF Connected engagement in senior centers, is leading the monthly San Francisco meeting — the third Thursday of the month (you can find it on Eventbrite).
Besides introducing people and organizations within the meeting, the event is hosted at a different venue each month, giving people a chance to see peer organizations firsthand and experience different neighborhoods. Our most recent meeting was in the Mission at dev/Mission’s location within Mission Housing Development Corporation’s Valencia Gardens site. Attendees ranged from a new nonprofit, Tech in the Tenderloin, to the user services coordinator for Barnett-Briggs Medical Library at UCSF Zuckerberg General Hospital. Sonic Communications and The Vault, for-profit entities, seized the opportunity to engage and collaborate. Sixteen people attended and lingered, pairing for deeper conversations and newly inspired ideas.
This is a place to spark imagination and partnership. You should be there!