History


Austin Free-Net is a non-profit formed in 1995 to ensure that the power of computers and the Internet is accessible by all in the Greater Austin community.  We help to empower people to find meaningful employment, obtain resources and take control of their lives. We teach basic computer skills, creating hope and self-sufficient computer users.

1995

  • Incorporated Austin Free-Net
  • 200 Booker T. Washington public housing development residents were taught how to use computers, scanners, digital cameras and other technology
  • Hosted first “Nothin’ But FREE-Net” community fair
  • Austin Free-Net selected by Austin’s ITEC and Government Solutions Expo to receive portion of attendance proceeds

1996

  • Opened the East Austin Media Lab
  • Recognized by then-President Bill Clinton for developing an effective model of technology access
  • Conducted summer technology programs where children from East Austin learned to use computers and published their own web pages
  • Opened Sematech-sponsored computer site at Montopolis Recreation Center
  • Received $206,900 grant from the Texas State Library for public access in all Austin libraries
  • Received $246,979 grant from the US Department of Commerce for the East Austin Community Network

1997

  • Opened the East Austin Internet Training Lab at the DeWitty Center
  • Furnished Free-Net sites in all Austin public libraries with computers and ISDN access
  • Awarded $25,000 grant from Apple Computer for upgrades to the East Austin Media Lab

1998

  •  Implemented year-long training and public access project in Austin Police Department Neighborhood Centers
  • Established training and public access in the East Austin Community Network with the Austin Learning Academy and the LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Won several awards: Global Information Infrastructure (GII) award semifinalist; Community Collaboration Award;Texas Interactive Media Award for Outstanding Public Service; Selected as national model for virtual volunteering

1999

  • Trained the first Internet co-trainers team at the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center (now SeniorLinks)
  • Participated in the International Roundtable on Information and Technology sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and the World Bank
  • Joined the Sister Project, an online dialog with Proyecto Conexiones, a school-based network in Columbia
  • Participated in several University of Texas-based research projects focused on public access and training in East and Southeast Austin
  • Joined Austin Technology Coalition and several collaborations with nonprofits working to increase public access and training
  • Hosted an East Austin Community Network panel of Austin Free-Net public access partners and customers at the Texas Telecommunity Conference

2002

  • Received $50,000 grant from the RGK Foundation

2003

  • Fix-Net begins operation to help other nonprofits with their IT needs
  • Austin Chronicle voted AFN “BEST OF: Internet Safety Net and Digital Divide Bridge”
  • Received prestigious ET3 TEC Champion Award for outstanding communication technology leadership

2005

  • City of Austin Mayor Will Wynn proclaims March 24 “Austin Free-Net 10th Anniversary Day”

2009

  • Received recognition for our work in the full-power transition to digital television from then-Chief, Media Bureau National DTV Transition Coordinator: “You provided the local knowledge and expertise that the FCC could not have duplicated under such tight deadlines.”

2010

  • Received the $9.3-million-dollar grant from Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to continue our work in reducing the digital divide
  • Partnered with IBM to receive unrestricted usage rights to their online adult reading program, Reading Companion

2011

  • Received $10,000 grant from the Lola Wright Foundation

2012

  • Received $24,000 grant from the City of Austin Grant for Technology Opportunities (GTOP)
  • Held first Technology Certification Preparatory Class
  • Re-instituted Fix-Net Technical Services
  • Began contracting training with Austin Independent School District
  • Began contracting training with Boys & Girls Club of Austin
  • Hosted first-ever Broadband Across Texas Week

2013

  • Received $24,000 grant from the City of Austin Grant for Technology Opportunities (GTOP)
  • Received grant for fund raising strategies from Greenlights for Nonprofit Success
  • Received Shield-Ayres Foundation award
  • Received the Hammill Foundation award
  • Celebrated 2-Million Training Hours for TXC2
  • Participated in the University of Texas Digital Literacy in Texas Colloquium and Conference.  There Executive Director, Juanita Budd, discussed the successes of the Broadband Technology Opportunities (BTOP) Grant.
  • TXC2 received the Computerworld Award for 2013 –