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February 25, 2003

grant-writing for local work

In between dealing with various financial issues involving CIRCLE, I wrote most of a proposal to the NSF to support high school classes for the next two years—including money for curriculum development, assessment, and research. The specific activity that we'll ask NSF to fund is map-making. If funded, our kids would make a whole variety of interactive maps of their community that they would post on their website: asset maps, network maps, environmental maps, problem-solving maps, and historical maps of the County. My current dream is that we will get funding from several specialized sources to suppport work in particular fields over the next 2-3 years. One source might fund a journalism after-school program on Tuesdays; another would fund map-making on Wednesdays; and still another would support community history work on Thursdays. (Clearly, since I have another full-time job, I would only be able to come to these classes occasionally.) All the classes would produce material for the Website. Once the site was full of valuable material, we would convene community leaders and citizens and say (in effect): This is something that belongs to all of us, because it reflects the richness of our community. Would you like to join us in adding material? Would you like to run the site as a nonprofit association? We're at your service, and we're willing to back away if it's time for someone else to manage things.

The idea, in short, is to strengthen the community by building a new independent association connected to a Website. But to get people interested, the site has to have content. And since no one wants to fund us to build an association, we need to go after specialized funders in various content areas—such as NSF for geography. We'll see if it works.

Mike Weiksner and Archon Fung have contributed nice replies to my posting on the blog.

Posted by peterlevine at February 25, 2003 04:04 PM