Erin Devoto, City of Seattle’s New Chief Technology Officer

pictureOn March 11, 2013, the City Council confirmed Erin Devoto as Seattle’s new Chief Technology Officer, following her January appointment by Mayor Mike McGinn. Devoto has served as the acting chief technology officer and the acting director of the Department of Information Technology since May 2012, where she previously served as the deputy director since 2007.  “Erin has successfully advanced our broadband initiative by thinking creatively and forging new partnerships in both the public and private sectors,” said Mayor McGinn.

Devoto most recently has worked as the Mayor’s lead advisor on the City’s efforts to build next-generation fiber-optic broadband in Seattle. She sees an important link between the City’s work to encourage enhanced Internet services and digital inclusion. “As over half of the American public own and use smart phones for Internet access, we want to continue to create opportunities for providers to increase the choices available to residents throughout Seattle,” said Devoto. “More choices at a variety of cost points can make technology relevant and useful for marginalized populations.”

Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative Mini Community Matching Grant

The Mini Community Matching Grant provides matching funds of up to $2,500 for community-based projects to supplement existing Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI) services and that serve youth referred by one or more of the three SYVPI Neighborhood Networks (Central, Southeast and Southwest Seattle). The SYVPI Neighborhood Networks, through the Mini Community Matching Grant (CMG), seek small innovative projects that engage, uplift, educate and support youth who are deemed at risk of perpetuating or being a victim of violence.


Deadline: applications accepted year round

Large Projects Fund – Department of Neighborhoods

The Large Projects Fund provides funds of up to $100,000 to support groups in building community relationships around a project. Projects must demonstrate a capacity to build a stronger and healthier community and:

  • Provide a public benefit and be free and open to the public.
  • Emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the community.
  • Demonstrate a community match of volunteer labor, donated professional services, donated materials, and/or cash.


Deadline: May 6, 2013

Civic Partner Program

The Civic Partner program awards funding to arts and cultural and heritage organizations in all disciplines with a minimum three-year history of serving Seattle residents and visitors. The City’s investment is aimed at creating broad public access to a rich array of quality arts opportunities while promoting a healthy and diverse cultural community.
Deadline: June 12, 2013

African Chamber Supports Computer Literacy in Rainier Beach

Peter Gishuru, Yohannes Beshi and ACPNW intern Ida Goitem with students at the lab

Peter Gishuru, Yohannes Beshi and ACPNW intern Ida Goitem with students at the lab.

Peter Gishuru, the President and CEO of the African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest (ACCPNW), was talking with a recent immigrant from Kenya, who complained of not knowing how to operate a computer. “I do not even have email,” he said. Unable to find employment, this man wanted to volunteer at a local senior center, even though manning the front desk, and thus the computer, would pose a dreaded task. Like him, many African immigrants and refugees struggle with a notable lack of computer skills.

To address this gap the African Chamber of Commerce received funds from the Technology Matching Fund to implement a computer literacy program at the Center for East African Community Affairs (CEACA). Located in the Rainier Beach United Methodist Church, CEACA maintains a 15-unit computer lab that is fully equipped with Internet access, is wheelchair accessible, and offers daycare facilities for families. Centrally located and easily accessible by public transportation, Rainier Beach is an ideal location to offer computer classes to its 300 members.

The program successfully launched in November. Classes are held on Saturdays and begin with time to share coffee and doughnuts to create a welcoming environment. Volunteers work with students to teach a variety of skills, ranging from computer basics to learning how to conduct a job search online and using social media. In addition to helping students gain technology skills, a key goal for Peter and Yohannes Beshi, executive director at the CEACA is to create the instructional, practical and administrative organization necessary to continue classes beyond the life of this grant.

For more information on the project contact Peter Gishuru. Beta Launches, a new national library sponsored hub for digital literacy has just launched in beta. The site will have self-directed tutorials and a community of practice for those at libraries and community organizations who are working to bridge the digital divide. This project is being managed by the Public Library Association with initial funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). They are very interested in getting feedback. See more about the project on their “about” page.

Take a Peek: Cable Renewal Website

Seattle’s Office of Cable Communications (OCC) has a new website to help residents stay informed on Comcast franchise renewal activities.  Click here to find the new Franchise Renewal page.

Although Comcast’s current franchise doesn’t expire until January 2016, federal law starts the renewal process three years prior to its expiration. The extended time allows the City to gather community input on Seattle’s cable-related needs and interests, and to review Comcast’s performance under their existing franchise. This information supports the City’s negotiations for a new franchise agreement.

One of the first ways the OCC will gather residents’ input is through an online survey. That survey will begin in early fall 2013, and will be posted on the Franchise Renewal webpage.  In early 2014 there will also be community meetings and a telephone survey to gather broader community input for this Comcast renewal process.

Residents can also – at any time – submit their cable-related comments or complaints to the OCC via an online comment form at, or by calling the Cable Line at (206) 684-8498.

The OCC wants to hear from many residents all across Seattle for this renewal process. Check out their website and let your views be known!

Cyberbullying Hits 25 Percent of Teens

Elizabeth Landau of CNN reports that as many as 25 percent of teenagers have experienced cyberbullying at some point, said Justin W. Patchin, who studies the phenomenon at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He and colleagues have conducted formal surveys of 15,000 middle and high school students throughout the United States, and found that about 10 percent of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last 30 days.

Online bullying has a lot in common with bullying in school: Both behaviors include harassment, humiliation, teasing and aggression, Patchin said. Cyberbullying presents unique challenges in the sense that the perpetrator can attempt to be anonymous, and attacks can happen at any time of day or night. There’s still more bullying that happens at school than online, however, Patchin said. And among young people, it’s rare that an online bully will be a total stranger. “In our research, about 85 percent of the time, the target knows who the bully is, and it’s usually somebody from their social circle,” Patchin said.

Read more here.