Watch the Seattle Channel’s elections coverage and remember to vote by Tuesday, November 6

This is the first Presidential Election that King County has voted all by mail. Voters are reminded to turn ballots into ballot drop boxes before 8 pm on November 6 or make sure the ballot is postmarked November 6 or earlier.

If you’re a new voter and you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late. New voters can register in person until Oct 29. Here’s how:  http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections/registration.aspx

Registered voters should receive ballots no later than October 23. Track your ballot packet and get questions answered at http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections.aspx.

The Seattle Channel has covered the election during the last few weeks, and a roundup of the video election coverage can be found below:

 Don’t forget to vote on or before Nov. 6!

Evergreen Apps Challenge winners announced

Over $75,000 in prizes was awarded in the Evergreen Apps Challenge on October 1 at Seattle City Hall. See the list of winners and try out their apps at http://www.evergreenapps.org/congratulations-to-the-winners-of-the-evergreen-apps-challenge/

Entries were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, including Francis Benjamin, of Washington State University; Adam Gentz, of BizXchange; Mónica Guzmán, of Geekwire; Susannah Malarkey, Executive Director of the Technology Alliance; Manny Medina, CEO of GroupTalent; Jason Preston, co-founder of Dent the Future; and Bill Schrier, Deputy Director of the Center for Digital Government.

Read what judge Monica Guzman had to say in her Seattle Times blog at  http://blogs.seattletimes.com/monica-guzman/2012/10/02/living-voters-guide-whichbus-win-top-honors-in-state-app-contest/#.UGtfv6ts8hM.twitter

The apps were assessed against a range of criteria including innovation, user experience and design, potential impact on Washington State, King County, and/or Seattle residents, visitors and businesses. They also had to be available for public use for the next year.

More than 100 people joined dignataries at the awards event, which  included Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire (via video).

Evergreen Apps Challenge to award $75,000 in prizes at Oct 1 event

Winners of the Evergreen Apps Challenge will be named on October 1, 2012, at Seattle City Hall. Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine will kick off  the event with $75,000 in prizes  awarded for the best new civic apps, including two people’s choice awards. The people’s choice awards will be decided by those in attendance and everyone who registers gets a vote.

 “The intersection of technology and society inspire our storytelling at GeekWire, and this event combines these themes along with one that is close to my heart: doing well by doing good.  I can’t wait to see what the app developer community has created for this challenge,” said Rebecca Lovell of GeekWire, who is emceeing the awards ceremony.

Registration is free at http://bit.ly/UQkLvy. The event will be held Monday, October 1, in the Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, in Seattle, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Music and light refreshments will be provided.

See entire announcement here: http://www.seattle.gov/news/detail.asp?ID=13122

 

 

$75,000 in prizes for best apps – deadline Sept 6

The State of Washington, King County, and the City of Seattle are alerting local applications developers that the deadline for submitting apps to the Evergreen Apps Challenge is only one week away. Eligible entries should be submitted before 5 pm PST on Thursday, Sept 6.

The Challenge is open to people who live, work or study in Washington State and Washington small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

 “The Evergreen Apps Challenge encourages people to find interesting and innovative ways to use government data to improve their community”, said Ted Schmitt, chair of Seattle’s Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board. “This is a great opportunity for application developers, designers, entrepreneurs and anyone with ideas for improving their community to leverage the data our government creates everyday to create fun, useful and accessible tools for everyone.”

 The StateCounty, and City have all made datasets available for public use, though any data about Washington State, King County or Seattle can be used for the challenge. Review detailed rules at http://www.evergreenapps.org/ to see if your application or idea is eligible.

 Prizes will be awarded on October 1 at a celebration at Seattle Center.

 

 

What do you want to ask Mayor McGinn?

Wednesday, August 22, at 7 p.m. is Ask The Mayor on the Seattle Channel. Got a burning question?  

Here’s how to get your question to Mayor McGinn:

  1. Call 206-684-8821 during the live show from 7-8 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 22.
  2. Email: askthemayor@seattle.gov
  3. Submit a question online: seattlechannel.org/AskTheMayor
  4. Twitter: @SeattleChannel
  5. Facebook: facebook.com/SeattleChannel

 

15 Organizations Receive 2012 Boost grants

The Department of Information Technology has awarded the 2012 Communities Online Boost Grant to 15 Seattle organizations.   Funds of up to $1000 per organization were used to help enhance the use of online tools for community building and civic engagement. Congratulations to the following organizations awarded Boost Grants for 2012:

206 Zulu – The goals of the 206 Zulu project are to update their website as the ultimate resource hub for all things Hip Hop and community related. The site will include content and resources for the community to learn about the local history, news, resource directory, access archived multimedia, and be able to contribute their own stories through the site’s own integrated social media capabilities.

Afrique Service Center – The goals of Afrique Service Center’s project are to create a blog for their current website, creating an environment for community feedback and opportunities to collaborate on solutions to neighborhood and community issues.  The blog will also offer more opportunity to develop community partnerships, working together, and improving the local communities and neighborhoods

Backpack Academy – Backpack Academy will use Boost grant funds to develop a website for their local program, which will include a blog, event calendar and parent resources such as online registration and program schedule.  There will be a link to Seattle Public Schools and additional educational materials to help parents access their child’s student records and progress.

Coleman Neighborhood Association – The Colman Neighborhood Association will use Boost grant funds to transition their email listserv to a website using NextDoor.  They will also be purchasing 2 netbooks to be placed in two cafes where residents can go to blog and post other useful content relevant to their community.

El Centro de la Raza – The goals of this project are to create and online volunteer management system using their current Salesforce contact management system.  They anticipate this will lead to greater retention of their current volunteers and facilitate the recruitment of new volunteers, as more content will be available remotely.  They will continue to partner with NPower on this project as NPower originally created a customized Saleforce database for El Centro de la Raza.

El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social – El Comite Pro-Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social is seeking completely redesign their website, which will include a blogging feature, event calendar and education tool.  They will be using funds to purchase a desktop computer to better facilitate the upkeep of their site.

Feet First – Feet First will develop a widget for their current website that will allow city residents to report problem areas that prevent walkability.  The project will eventually lead to integration with a smart phone app.  Residents will be able to see the status of their actions, as this project will coordinate with SDOT and other city departments as needed.

Pinehurst Community Council – The goals of this project are to better integrate their web presence of their web blog/website (www.pinehurstseattle.org) and our Facebook and Twitter accounts using WordPress plugins and widgets.  They anticipate that by doing this they will be able to better focus on content and engaging with their audience, while making it easier for their audience to post content as well.

Powerful Voices – Powerful Voices will use grant funds to expand the use of social media to build community and connections with their stakeholders. The focus of this project is to continue implementing their strategies on these platforms: YouTube, Facebook, website, Pinterest and Constant Contact, while also launching a blog to support development of unique content.

Raja for Africa – Raja for Africa will use Boost grant funds to develop blogging capabilities for their website.  They will also be hosting classes for youth and parents to learn how to blog. The project seeks to have more engaged youth in news and blogging, building community through social media, developing user’s knowledge about Internet use, and promoting media literacy to generate real world impact.

South Beacon Hill Association – The South Beacon Hill Association will use Boost funds to create a website for their neighborhood, which will include a blogging feature, event calendar and feeds from the Seattle Police Department.

South Park Area Redevelopment Committee – The goals of the South Park Area Redevelopment Committee project will be to update their current home page with new website architecture.  The project will make it easier to navigate around the site; give a comprehensive overview of what the neighborhood has to offer; and give better connections to their government partners.

Southeast Seattle Education Coalition – SESEC has developed a basic WordPress website, www.allfivesinfive.org. This project will develop sister website pages branded for the All Fives in Five Action Summit. We will leverage WordPress functionality, including Event Manager, to manage the event and develop other functionality, including a members-only section where Action Teams can collaborate.

Unified Outreach – Unified Outreach will use Boost grant funds to expand their website to include updatable news/blog pages.  This new portion of the website will act as a hub for local artists and youth interested in participating in their charity’s programs.

Urban Financial Services Coalition – UFSC Puget Sound Chapter will upgrade their website by adding the capability of managing their contacts, connect with volunteers and to better interact with the community at-large.  They will be adding features such as a Community Talk link that will connect with government, exploring the use of Constant Contact to manage volunteer hours, and creating both volunteer and blog portals

Read more about the Seattle Communities Online Project, Neighborhoods on the Net, and access training materials and  resources at http://www.seattle.gov/communitiesonline/

Don’t miss Brainstorm this month

Join the City of Seattle and Seattle’s computer labs to “Get Online” October 3 through 8 for a week’s worth of workshops, classes and open houses on how technology and the Internet can work for you. Find out how in this month’s community tech ezine, Brainstorm.

If you have Broadstripe cable service, you’ll want to read about their upcoming franchise transfer to new owner Wave Broadband.  And, if you can volunteer for Social Media Coaching, or if your nonprofit needs some Social Media Coaching, fill out an application with Npower Seattle at Npower’s Volunteer page.

All this and more in the September edition of Brainstorm.

Grant available to engage communities & neighborhoods using online technology!

Background

The Online Boost Project was developed in response to what we learned from the Seattle Communities Online assessment and presentations at Neighborhood District Council and community group meetings. Neighborhood groups want to build their capacity to do effective outreach online, maintain their content, foster online engagement and use City widgets and tools.

We are looking for up to 15 projects who will receive up to $1000 in matching funds and will also participate in workshops with experts in using social media. Our goal is to boost their capacity through a project that takes them 3 months or less to complete. This is a one-time initiative and not something we’re currently able to commit to on an ongoing basis.  This program is administered by Community Technology Program of the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology (DoIT).

Program Goals

The Online Boost Project is designed to enhance skills and proficiency on the use of online resources for community groups with workshops, mentorship and seed funding to implement and/or increase their web presence. In coordination with the Seattle Communities Online initiative, we are seeking opportunities to enhance:

  • Increased awareness of community issues;
  • Increased community participation in problem solving; and
  • Increased interaction with government.

Online Boost grantees will have access to:

  • Up to $1000 mini-grants for a quick, specific project to be completed within 3 months.
  • Workshop (required in order to receive funding) where participants would leave the workshop knowing what resources are out there, what their plan of action will be, and how to go about implementing.
  • Mentorship and networking opportunities

The deadline is Tuesday, July 12 at midnight. The application is submitted online and all interested groups must register ahead of time in order to access the application.  You can register at: http://webgrants.seattle.gov.  If you have already registered for another grant with the City, you can log in with your user ID and password and select “Funding Opportunities” and then “Online Boost Grant.”

For help and resources visit the Online Boost Project at http://www.seattle.gov/seattlecommunitiesonline/boost.htm.

For in-person help please contact:

Amy Hirotaka, amy.hirotaka@seattle.gov, by phone at 206-733-9445; or

Vicky Yuki, vicky.yuki@seattle.gov, by phone at 206-233-7877.

TMF Success Stories: MMRTI

This post is the first in a series of “TMF Success Stories,” featuring updates on Technology Matching Fund recipients.

Overview

The Multimedia Resources and Training Institute of Seattle, or MMRTI, empowers youth to become leaders by using media technology to create stories about their cultural heritage, communities, and themselves. In partnership with the East Africa Arts and Cultural Association, MMRTI was a Bill Wright 2009 Technology Matching Fund recipient. MMRTI serves the immigrant community in the Seattle area, and, through the grant, has increased its capacity to serve more people. They have not only updated their computer equipment and software, they recently moved into a new, larger space better suited to their exciting new programming.

Programs

In addition to overseeing youth programs, MMRTI partners with local nonprofits and service providers to reach a broader community. For example, in addition to the multimedia courses offered in the past, MMRTI now holds Microsoft Word and Excel classes for adults in partnership with WorkSource. MMRTI Executive Director Assaye Abunie is excited about continuing to form partnerships with organizations to provide technology assistance and training.

One of MMRTI’s best known programs continues to be Ethio Youth Media TV, which aired weekly on SCAN-TV. Currently, many clips are available on their YouTube channel. The topics covered by the youth are issues directly affecting their community, including: cultural heritage, health and addiction issues, youth violence, and social justice. MMRTI trains youth to use Final Cut Pro to edit the video, and uses two cameras and wireless microphones for optimal picture and sound.

Individual Impact

Binyam, a participant in Ethio Youth Media TV, has benefited greatly from the program. He joined MMRTI with limited technology and media skills. As time went on, his skills increased and he became more involved in video production and editing. He brought many other youth to the program, assisting them along the way.

Binyam, along with other youth working on technical support and video production, became more visible in the community. As Binyam’s skill in video production increased, he organized some of the youth participants and made a short documentary film using the Final Cut Pro program. As a youth media and TV program lead, Binyam, with some of technical support team, has interviewed many event organizers, business people, community leaders, city officials, and government representatives. His interviews cover many community and youth issues. Topics include: violence, underage drinking, drug use, and HIV/AIDS.

Ethio Youth Media TV celebrated its 5th anniversary in March!

Using Google forms to survey community members

Google Forms – free for those with Google accounts – can perform many of the same functions as an online tool like Surveymonkey.  Since Surveymonkey charges a monthly fee for surveys over 10 questions long, it’s worth exploring Google Forms to find out if you can send out effective surveys for FREE!

Go to the Google Docs page http://docs.google.com (this requires the user to sign in with a Google account) and click on the “Create New” drop down menu.  Select “Form.”

From here, you can create a questionnaire or survey with a variety of answer types: text, multiple choice, check boxes, choosing from a list, scale, or grid.  As soon as you start setting up your survey, Google generates a live web form with an associated url that you can share or email to your contacts – the link is available at the bottom of the page.  A number of attractive templates are available to choose from, as well.

When someone fills out your survey/questionnaire, the time-stamped responses automatically fill in a Google spreadsheet.  It’s easy to export this spreadsheet into Microsoft Excel to perform a more complex analysis of responses.

Overall, Google Forms is a user-friendly, functional online survey tool.  Have fun!