The meeting was held in Eastern Michigan University's McKenny Union and was called to order at 7:15 a.m.
Mr. Stanger distributed the minutes of the March 8, 1995 meeting. With a correction to the minutes of the meeting of March 1, 1995, the minutes of the meetings of February 22, 1995, March 1 and March 8, 1995 were approved by the Board.
Mr. Barr distributed a letter he received from C. Ashley Bullard, District Director of the Internal Revenue Service, informing him that the Huron Valley Community Network was exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501(c)(3). Mr. Barr also distributed to Board members a two-page document describing the substantiation and disclosure requirements for charitable organizations. Mr. Barr said he hoped to submit later in the week the application to the Michigan Attorney General's office for the HVCN to be licensed to solicit charitable contributions.
Mr. Barr reported that he met on March 14, 1995 with a group on people wanting to apply for a Department of Commerce Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) grant. The group agreed to try to form a telecommunications computing consortium--Washtenaw Information Networks (WIN)--that would file a letter of intent to apply for a TIIAP grant by the March 23, 1995 deadline. The group authorized Linda Vengroff to sign the letter of intent for the proposed consortium. Mr. Barr introduced the following resolution:
Resolved: Huron Valley Community Network declares that it shall be a member of the Washtenaw Information Networks, a consortium of computing and telecommunication interests in Washtenaw County, Michigan with and for the purpose of forming, executing, and transmitting a letter of intent to the United States Department of Commerce declaring the intent of the consortium to apply for a TIIAP grant on or before April 20, 1995. Such letter of intent to be delivered to the Department of Commerce on or before March 23, 1995. It is further resolved that the Huron Valley Community Network authorizes Linda Vengroff to execute the letter of intent on behalf of the Washtenaw Information Networks consortium and to cause the filing of the letter of intent with the Department of Commerce.
The Board passed the resolution. Mr. Barr stated that the Directors of GREX and Arbornet were asked to vote on similar resolutions. Members of Washtenaw Information Networks were scheduled to meet on Monday, March 20, 1995 at 5:30 p.m. at the New Center Building in Ann Arbor to finalize the letter of intent.
Ms. Vengroff reported that the attendees at the March 14, 1995 WIN meeting perceived as their grant goal increasing computer access to information and communication for those currently without such access. Ms. Vengroff said the WIN group discussed purchasing a bank of modems. Ms. Howard stated that within this calling area, the site to place these modems would be the University of Michigan. The WIN group also discussed: 1) setting up a WIN consortium computing system that would connect to the resources of each of the consortium's members; 2) partnerships with community information providers; and, 3) providing access for non-users of computers, including training and terminals at public sites, such as libraries. Ms. Howard stressed how important it was to provide access to those who are not current computer users. To achieve the goal of wide public access, she thought we should consider buying fewer modems (which really help those who already have computers) and using the money instead for direct lines to terminals in public places. Ms. Vengroff reported that the WIN group discussed contracting with Eastern Michigan University to: 1) serve as WIN's fiscal agent for the grant; and, 2) perform an information systems communication inventory of Washtenaw County. This would include telephone and cable company rights-of-way. The inventory would be made available to the public via a geographic information system (GIS). There was some discussion of EMU and Washtenaw County working together on the GIS.
Ms. Howard attended a TIIAP grant-writing workshop in Albany N.Y. on March 11, 1995. She said that the final grant proposal must address how the grant project would be economically sustained after the grant funding ends. An economic engine for the project must be identified. Ms. Head said we should keep in mind the word 'sustainablility.' Ms. Howard reported that it was emphasized that all partners in a project must benefit from the project. For example, it would not be adequate for an organization to donate money to a project and not directly benefit from the project. Ms. Howard said that the grant application must identify and define the problem of some group of people that the project will address/solve.
Mr. Barr asked if a problem for this region might be that so much is going on with different groups with no easy way to discover the scope of these activities, that duplication and wasted effort and expenditures are hard to avoid. Mr. Barr suggested that a press release be issued after the letter of intent to apply for a TIIAP grant is filed.
Ms. Howard asked if we could use volunteer in-kind services as matching funds for the grant. Ms. Vengroff replied that such in-kind contributions could be used. Ms. Vengroff said she thought we would have to get some money from the business community and not just rely on grants. Detroit Edison, Ameritech, Columbia Cable, and Michigan Consolidated Gas were mentioned.
Ms. Head asked about the involvement of Washtenaw Community College (WCC). Ms. Howard reported that WCC was involved with Merit in the Conduit Project--creating partnerships with small business to get them connected to the Internet. The Board agreed to try to get a letter of partnership with WCC for the grant application. Mr. Barr said we should remember to include the University of Michigan's School of Library and Information Studies as a partner.
Ms. Vengroff observed that even if we do not get the grant, the WIN partners should continue to meet to cooperate with one another and to take advantage of other grant opportunities. The culture of the different partners would be maintained and mutually beneficial goals could be pursued.
Ms. Howard distributed copies of the TIIAP's Notice of Availability of Funds and the Guidelines for Preparing Applications.
Ms. Vengroff said that after the letter of intent to apply for the TIIAP grant was filed, a committee should be formed to lay out the costs and configuration of the hardware and software needed. Another committee should work on the training aspects of the project.
Ms. Head reported that she had signed up to go to the 2nd Ties That Bind Conference in Cupertino, California.
The next Board meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 1995 at 7:00 a.m. at Eastern Michigan University's McKenny Union.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:13 a.m.