DANEnet’s mission is to make information technology accessible and affordable through education and services for nonprofit organizations and individuals with barriers.
Our vision is to make Dane County the most connected place for everyone.
Here’s a quick look at how we got to where we are today:
DANEnet (then known as Dane County Community Information Partnership) is founded as part of the UW Extension Division. Two full-time staff focuses on teaching nonprofits about the new “World Wide Web” and getting them set up with websites. One of our first projects is setting Stoughton Community Center up with a website, then commissioning high school students to interview senior citizens at the Stoughton Senior Center to write up stories about their lives. Those stories are posted to the Stoughton Community Center website, connecting the important work they do and the people they serve to the outside world.
DANEnet breaks away from UW; becomes 501(c)3 with 40 nonprofit clients.
In addition to nonprofit clients, we contract with WI Dept of Transportation to manage their website (and we continue to do so for over 20 years).
Thanks to funding from the WI Dept of Public Instruction, we are commissioned to provide after-school technology programming to area middle schools, which blossoms into more than 20 years of community tech education, primarily among at-risk youth.
Our staff grows to meet the needs of over 100 clients. Our Tech Solutions program grows, as does our educational programming.
We establish Everyone On Madison, a local branch of the national Everyone On program, which focuses on closing the digital divide through computer classes, low-cost computers, help signing up for low-cost internet, and community tech repair clinics.
Our educational programming is put on hold due to the COVID pandemic, and our Tech Solutions team works to ensure our nonprofit clients can continue their important work remotely. In response to the pandemic worsening the effects of the digital divide, our Everyone On Madison program becomes the Digital Equity Project and partners with direct service providers (social workers, caseworkers, educators, and healthcare staff) at partner agencies to identify vulnerable families and adults, then provides them with refurbished computers and information about affordable internet. This helps them stay connected to crucial resources and have access to remote job opportunities and healthcare visits during the COVID lockdown.
Through funding from generous donors and the Madison Community Foundation, our Digital Equity Project is able to offer regular, free Walk-In Computer Help Clinics at Madison Public Library and Monona Senior Center, helping hundreds of adults better understand how to use their computers, smartphones, or tablets. Our Digital Equity Project‘s Refurbished Laptop Program gets revamped during a 6-month hiatus due to lack of funding, and relaunches in July. (Since the COVID lockdown, this program has leveraged our network of nonprofit partners to distribute over 400 donated, refurbished computers to low-income households and seniors without computers.)