It has indeed been a pleasure to have the opportunity to be Chair of the NCF Board off and on for the last 17 years. My association with National Capital FreeNet has been both humbling and extremely rewarding. My connection with FreeNet began as a member, and later, in 1997-2000 I was the organization's second Executive Director. Most recently, I have enjoyed a continuing role as a Director and Chairman of the Board.
Our Executive Director Shelley Robinson will be reporting on the wonderful progress we have made this year, but I would like to focus on a few key milestones that occurred this year:
On September 28th 2017 we celebrated something very special; our 25th anniversary. It was a remarkable milestone that brought more than 150 people together at City Hall to celebrate our long and proud history as one of Canada's leading community networks. To commemorate the historic occasion, we officially launched a paper book, edited by Alex Parsons entitled 'aa000: 25 Years of National Capital FreeNet'. The event was also an opportunity for FreeNet to focus on what we are doing now to ensure our future remains as bright as ever.
As a volunteer-driven, not for profit organization, I know that I speak for all directors, past and present when I say how immensely proud I am that National Capital FreeNet — now in its second quarter century — continues as an important part of the community fabric. There is no question that our longevity is the result of continued engagement from all of you as well as the ongoing support from the broader National Capital community.
During 2017, we worked our way through considerable change and made huge progress in advancing our community-focused mandate. We collaborated with Ottawa Community Housing to launch our new Community Access Fund or 'CAF' with a special program for families who would not otherwise be able to afford internet. We have worked with partners and funders to deliver dozens of workshops and create new resource materials. We made all our DSL packages unlimited use for no additional cost, significantly upgraded our network, changed bookkeeping services, changed auditors and increased HelpDesk and other staff.
In short, it's been a challenging, invigorating and gratifying year for all of us. It has been a personal pleasure for me to have chaired a board that has been charting this course amid constant technological and societal change and I look forward to all that's still to come.
As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any ideas to help make NCF even stronger. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.