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October 16, 2008

5 Years Later: A OneCommunity Update

Five years ago this month, Case Western Reserve University initiated the formal establishment of a non-profit organization known as OneCleveland. It's mission was to leverage advanced technology capabilities to attend to community priorities. Most of you will know that the organization, now known world-wide as OneCommunity began here at Case Western Reserve University investing its "internet services" checkbook and making a number of temporary key leadership and technical resources available as the fledgling organization began to take shape.

What may be less well known is the journey these past five years. Yes, Case Western Reserve University now has a lot of bandwidth (7 years ago we had 36 Mb/s access to OARNet. Today we have burstable access up to 1G/s (1000 Mb/s) to the internet plus additional capacity through NLR, Internet 2, and OARNet). In addition, we have partnered with OneCommunity to establish the wireless cloud around university circle which daily has over 1000 users jumping on as visitors.

But OneCommunity has grown up to be much more than just its relationship to Case Western Reserve University. It has its own staff of nearly 40. It has an annual operating budget approaching $20m a year, and its geographic footprint in NEOhio now extends to 22 counties. The mission remains largely the same as the early insight to 'connect, enable, and transform' NEOhio through advanced technology. It now has hundreds of subscribers in the non-profit and public sector, connecting thousands of facilities like schools, hospitals, and government offices around the region. More than 1 million end-users in NEOhio are connected to OneCommunity.

The three foci's of OneCommunity are (1) access, (2) healthcare, and (3) education. At yesterday's Board meeting, Scot Rourke, the CEO of OneCommunity outlined to the Board $13m of work in rural healthcare and education, a large services contract working with Cuyahoga County, exciting work with the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Akron-based hospitals and many other health care facilities in advancing the NEOhio Regional Healthcare Information Organization, and finally an update on a 5 year $25m grant with the Knight Foundation. OneCommunity is building a National Center of Digital Excellence in Akron on Community Networking efforts.

The Board also endorsed a multi-year Strategic Plan which I trust will be broadly circulated in due course.

All this and much more had its start here at Case Western Reserve University. As we approach the five year anniversary date I thought it might be of some interest to share a bit of the story of this collaborative effort in this blog (a review of this blog space helps to chronicle some of the efforts over the years).

At the same time, I want to take this opportunity to share with you that we at Case Western Reserve University are not finished finding ways to use and leverage advanced technology to attend to community priorities (including our own). We will soon be announcing new pilot activities which I hope will create their own stories and community capacity. Perhaps some of them will evolve to be as exciting and potentially transformational as OneCommunity.

If you are interested in more information about OneCommunity, feel free to let me know (or checking out the web site). If you're interested in helping with some of the early thinking around new, scalable activities just drop me a note.

The OneCommunity journey has hit an important third phase. I hope NEOhio takes some pride in OneCommunity's accomplishments and at the same time we remain vigilant and committed to its future success through active participation and engagement.

Lev Gonick
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio
October 16th, 2008

Posted by lsg8 at October 16, 2008 12:22 PM and tagged

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