I am pleased to report to the member/owners of the National Capital FreeNet that we have made some encouraging progress in the past year and although significant, difficult challenges remain, I believe that we are on the right track. The progress we have made should be considered as the first phase of a course of action that will continue through 2002 and beyond. As we face the ever-increasing challenge of sustainability, we need to redouble our efforts and maintain our focus in order to consolidate our gains and to continue this momentum.
We made significant progress in refashioning our executive structure. The Board of Directors, markedly strengthened following the 2001 Annual General Meeting, continued to refine details of the governance model, which was adopted in 2000. We finished the year on track with our budget and approved a strategy outline and operational plan to carry us through 2001 and several years beyond.
As the Board became more effective, it has been better able to help our new Executive Director come to grips with the unique needs of a volunteer-driven community organization.
This is the area upon which we must focus sharply in the coming year. We must improve our service to members, so that we will be able to hold onto current members, attract new ones, and increase the donations that keep the NCF truly independent. Additionally, we must recognise that our greatest source of untapped 'capital' is the skill and experience of our members and other supporters. Our goal is to make FreeNet a busy, welcoming, rewarding place for citizens to contribute their know-how, thus discovering an enjoyable way to do something satisfying and worthwhile for our community and ourselves.
The coming year is shaping up as busy, challenging, and, in my judgment, among the most productive years ever for the National Capital FreeNet. As we move to introduce new and exciting services such as Thin Client and NCF's own WebMail service, we lay the foundation for membership growth by focusing on what we have always done best -- introducing people to new technologies and communications tools and helping people to learn how to use them.
My term as President has had this unanticipated effect on me personally: I have become more keenly aware that NCF is truly a group of citizens who pool their time, talent, and cash to do good things for themselves and the community. When I use the term "we" I mean you, me -- all of us. Together, we are the National Capital FreeNet. So, a thanks goes to all of us, for encouraging and supporting what I think is a great asset to our community.