masthead: TOP's News from the Field

bullet TOP's FY2002 Grantees Off to a Great Start

bullet Community Technology Centers Grants

bullet Portland Launches "Housing Connections

bullet The East Palo Alto Community Network

bullet The Mother of All Online Glossaries

bullet Online Tech Glossary in Spanish

bullet Digital Village Grant Program

bullet Fill in Government Forms Electronically


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TOP's FY2002 Grantees Off to a Great Start

TOP's Fiscal Year 2002 grantees have hit the ground running. Here are some examples:

  • The Neighborhood Knowledge California Telecommunication Project assembles a wide variety of public and private databases to expand opportunities for home ownership through fair housing and lending research, education, and policy development.

  • Project GILEAD is developing the nation's first online service linking faith-based human service providers and their clientele in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • The Emery Water Conservancy District is developing an interactive network to help resolve land use conflicts and improve security and public safety in the state of Utah.

  • The The Chicago Police Department, in partnership with the Chicago Office of Emergency Communications, the Chicago Fire Department, and Motorola, is using TOP funds to wirelessly extend public safety officials' IT infrastructure.

  • The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts is developing an online community to sustain professional development opportunities in literacy and the performing arts for early childhood educators.

  • The Kalispel Tribe of Indians (Usk, WA) is using broadband digital network technologies to assist Indian tribes in eastern Washington preserve and sustain their shared tribal culture, history, and language.

  • The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, & Consumer Protection is integrating data kept in various locations, in both manual and electronic media, into one cohesive system, significantly improving the Department's enforcement capabilities and increasing the potential for early detection of potentially disastrous problems.

Community Technology Centers Grants

The Community Technology Centers (CTC) grant program of the United States Department of Education promotes the development of model programs demonstrating the educational effectiveness of technology in urban and rural areas. The program assists eligible applicants in creating or expanding community technology centers that will provide disadvantaged residents of economically distressed urban and rural communities with access to information technology and related training.

This year, the program is emphasizing accountability and outcomes. Grantees will be expected to establish measurable outcomes, use research-based "what works" approaches to program services, supply data on the extent to which outcomes were met, and provide evidence of immediate and long-term impact of program services.

Approximately $15 million in grant awards will be awarded by September 30, 2002. Individual grant awards will range from $75,000 to $300,000. Anyone interested in applying to this program should review section 5511 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 for more details about the CTC program.

Further information on the upcoming competition is available from the CTC Team at

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Portland Launches "Housing Connections"

On May 2, 2002, the City of Portland (a TOP grantee in Fiscal Year 2000) announced the launch of Housing Connections, Portland's state-of-the-art web-based housing system. The project involves a partnership of the City, regional governmental agencies, the housing industry, and advocates for fair and affordable housing.

The website makes current housing information available to anyone with Internet access; in the future, Housing Connections will help develop special community access stations through a partnership with the Housing Authority of Portland. The site is free for landlords who wish to list their units and for anyone to use to search for housing.

Housing Connections brings the concept of one-stop-shopping via the Internet to Portland's complex housing market. The project creates a single access point for the region's numerous housing opportunities, including over 10,000 rental units offered by four County housing authorities, dozens of property management firms, and hundreds of private landlords, in addition to affordable homes for sale.

The City of Portland provided web architecture and site design for the project. The May 2nd launch of Housing Connections is the first phase of the project, the Housing Locator, which provides a custom search engine and web platform hosting the region's inventory of affordable housing. Phases 2 and 3 will go online within a year and will add a Housing Problem Solver to help people find needed services and shelters and a Housing Connector, which will enable users to apply for housing and services online.

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The East Palo Alto Community Network

The East Palo Alto Digital Village, PluggedIn, and key sponsors Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft Corporation, and the Technology Opportunties Program, inaugurated the East Palo Alto Community Network. The Community Network consists of an online community resource center and a number of conveniently located Technology Access Points (TAPs), where residents can use technology to further their individual and community goals.

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The Mother of All Online Glossaries

NTIA's Institute for Telecommunications Sciences in Boulder, Colorado, has launched a massive, 8,000-term online telecommunications glossary.

Incorporating terms and definitions from telephony, National Security/Emergency Preparedness, National Information Infrastructure, radio communications, television, "intelligent networks," and data processing, among others, the glossary provides "a uniform, up-to-date set of definitions for the general terminology used in telecommunications."

The glossary is arranged alphabetically, and incorporates a keyword search engine. Just about every definition is extensively hyperlinked to other definitions within the glossary.

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Online Tech Glossary in Spanish

WorldCom's Tecnoguía website is an online, searchable Spanish and English glossary featuring more than 1,000 frequently-used high-tech and Internet-related terms.

Developed in cooperation with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, this web-based resource will help users to overcome existing language barriers with easy to understand definitions and translations of terms frequently used in the Information Age.

The Tecnoguía, which literally means "techno-guide," makes it easier and more enjoyable to navegar por la red (surf the Internet), conversar por la red (chat online), descargar archivos (download files), or enviar un mensaje electrónico (send e-mail).

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Digital Village Grant Program

Hewlett-Packard has announced a new grant program! Digital Village will help underserved communities across the United States fulfill their aspirations for participation in the digital age. Three U.S. communities will be selected to work with Hewlett-Packard to develop a three year community technology partnership plan.

H-P's Digital Village program will give five million dollars to each of the three communities to pay for equipment and technical assistance, including planning and staff support, over a three year period. The community of East Palo Alto, California (home to TOP's grantee Plugged In) will be the first participant in the Digital Village Program.

HP's commitment to its neighbors in East Palo Alto spans nearly three decades and includes a range of contributions in the areas of education, economic development, and recreation.

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Fill in Government Forms Electronically

Surfer software allows you to take selected government form files and fill them out immediately, right on your computer. The filled form can then be printed or emailed, and can also be saved with the data filled in.

To download the software, go to the GSA Fillform website. Once you have downloaded Surfer, close your browser and run the installation file. Installation takes about a minute.

Now, whenever you want to fill in one of those pesky SF-424As or generate a new SF-424, simply go to the Fillform website, log in, and open the form. Surfer will automatically load itself and then open the form for you. From here, you can immediately start filling in data. What you see onscreen looks exactly like a closeup of the form, but works pretty much like a spreadsheet; totals are computed automatically.

For TOP grantees wishing to amend their project budgets, this means that you can fill out an amended SF-424A and email it to your program officer and get feedback right away.

The process of downloading the software, installing it, and generating your first form takes about 10 minutes. Check it out. Not every form used by TOP is available, but the list will probably expand as more users take advantage of the service. Surfer is a product of Intercon Associates Inc.

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TOP's News from the Field
is brought to you by
Don Druker and Judy Sparrow

The material appearing in this newsletter has been
checked for accuracy; however, we suggest that,
when writing about a particular TOP grantee, you
contact the organization for background and updates.

To leave a comment or ask a question,
you can email TOP at:
or write:
Room 4092
U.S. Dept. of Commerce
1401 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230