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Chris Cope

  1. Why does NCF's work matter?

In 2000 as the then current NCF Executive Director, I authored a document called "Opportunities, Challenges and a Sustainable Future." A review of this document will give the reader a good sense of my priorities when it came to NCF's future and focus on the good that we were doing for the community. NCF has made tremendous progress since then now, when connectivity has been highlighted to be not just useful, but an absolute necessity philosophy through the COCID-19 pandemic I believe that our work continues as a grass roots community organization where everyone is welcome and where everyone can find a useful way of communicating and developing community.

NCF has become an integral element in Ottawa and an important part of the community fabric. Here are a few things that I laid out then and continue to believe in terms of why NCF’s work matters:

We provide safe, affordable, reliable, up-to-date Internet access and help in learning how to use it securely.
We make getting and using a FreeNet membership something that is easy, safe and fun.
We focus on people and community issues, and are not so preoccupied with technology issues.
We provide valuable mentoring and training, which we are well known for, and help people get online who might otherwise be left out – we are frequently finding new ways to offer help to "newbies."
Our work fosters a sense of community and pride in being part of Ottawa’s online scene and part of NCF.
Our strength is how we understand our niche, know and believe in our purpose, and focus on helping the people who need us most.

2. How do you plan to use your skills to further NCF in its mission?

My experience as a previous Executive Director, as a member of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board, and more recently as Past Chair equips me well to serve on NCF's Board of Directors. I offer a great deal of sensible continuity to NCF's ongoing operations.

I am well acquainted with both the culture and the process of NCF and have already put considerable time and effort into mapping NCF's future, This experience together with a seasoned business career developed in my professional positions equip me to offer reasoned input, based on direct experience and excellent community networking exposure. My business experience spans a variety of management situations giving me additional business savvy, and the business acumen to make a strong contribution to NCF's Board decision-making capability. In my present position at the City, I continue to be involved in projects that help connect our community and will undoubtedly learn about many new collaborative opportunities available to NCF.

NCF has been deeply involved in many outstanding community projects. I am proud that several of these were based on visions and ideas that I had of NCF's opportunities and future and came about because of my leading the then-current management team through the proposal stage. Because of my understanding of these projects, I can not only help bring new Directors up to speed, but also can play an important role in ensuring that the Board provides informed and stable stewardship as current projects unfold and begin to bear fruit.

I have has a wealth of community and private sector contacts and can assist NCF in positioning itself well in our community. I can assist with the necessary liaison and networking with our community partners.

3. Additional information

Chris Cope is employed by the City of Ottawa as an Economic Development Officer, in the Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Department. He is responsible for the City’s program to use Community Improvement Plans (CIPs) to provide incentives to commercial property owners in certain neighbourhoods to upgrade their properties. Previously, he led the initiative to make high-speed Internet available to all rural residents and continues to play a role on the City’s Connectivity Working Group. Previously, Chris steered the push to make long distance charges a thing of the past between Ottawa addresses, whether rural or core.

Cope was Director of SmartCapital Special Projects at the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) where he held the additional titles of Executive Director of EduNET and Executive Director of ORCnet. EduNET was a not-for-profit partnership of Carleton University, the University of Ottawa, La Cité collégiale and OCRI. ORCnet was a grass-roots organization of rural champions, supported by the City to aggregate broadband demand in Ottawa's rural communities.

He was employed as NCF's Executive Director from early 1997 until the end of 2000. As ED, Chris was directly responsible for day-to-day operations including staff management, volunteer coordination, and liaison with corporate and community partners to deliver and enhance NCF's services.

Chris joined NCF's Board in the spring of 2001. He was elected as NCF's President and Chairman of the Board by his fellow Directors in April of 2001 and continued to serve in this position until the present.

Cope has been a member of both the Executive and Audit Committees since being appointed President, and in 2002, 2003 and 2005 he was NCF's AGM Chair. Chris is a member of the current Board of Directors and Past Chair

Chris has been directly involved with community access since joining the National Capital FreeNet in 1995.