VCN Charitable Status application

Vancouver FreeNet (now called Vancouver CommunityNet) applied for Charitable Status on July 29, 1993. Below is the Statement of Goals that was attached to the application form. Also attached were a Certificate of Incorporation, Constitution and By-laws, financial statements and list of officers. Questions 15 to 18 were answered “no”.

Vancouver Regional Freenet Association

Preamble

There is almost universal agreement that access to computers and telecommunications is fundamental to the economic prosperity of individuals and the country. As public libraries are the “people’s university”‘ FreeNet will become the “people electronic library”, serving as an extension to current libraries. The emphasis will be on educational material that individuals can select so as to follow their program of self-improvement and education and thus play a more active role in the economic and political life in Canada.

The VRFA will provide a computer and telecommunications facility to accomplish the following goals.

Goals

  1. To establish and operate a full FreeNet community computer utility in the Lower Mainland of B.C.

    VRFA will be available, free of charge, to all members of the community regardless of financial circumstances. There is a membership fee to join VRFA and an active Fundraising Committee. Membership is however, voluntary and funds raised through subscriber non-profit organization or through corporate/foundations grants will be used to provide the free service. Non-members will have the same access to information and telecommunications resources as members.

    FreeNet is non-commercial project which will neither pay for the information it provides nor charge users for access to it. There will be no material benefit to any corporation, profit or non-profit entity.

  2. To encourage the development of a wide range of community information resources.

    VRFA has established a Taskforce for the Disenfranchised to work with community organizations which would not normally have access to microcomputers or the skill to organize their information or opinions to make them publicly available electronically. The Taskforce will work with anti-poverty organizations, Native groups, Women’s health groups, groups representing the disabled, etc.

    Our objective is to make the provisions of the community information a global reality to the Lower Mainland community organizations.

  3. To encourage the broadest possible participation of information providers making their information available on the FreeNet.

    The VRFA Fundraising Committee will attempt to raise funds from service clubs and other organizations to provide microcomputers to community groups that do not have that resource. The System Design and Database sub-committee will also provide training and support to community organizations who do not have trained staff or volunteers.

    In addition, an information provider support group will be established to allow information providers in VRFA policy.

  4. To work towards the widest possible public access to government and other information through FreeNet and other non-profit organizations.

    VRFA is working through the Fundraising Committee to get microcomputers for public access in community centres, neighborhood houses, senior centres, and other locations where access is not currently available.

    VRFA is also co-sponsoring a Fall educational conference on Information Policy entitled “Partnership for Public Access” with the British Columbia Library Association, the B.C. Freedom of information and Privacy Association, and the SFU Centre for Writing and Publishing. The conference will explore, with a wide-range of community groups, the issues associated with access to government information.

  5. To work toward building a network of similar in services in cities and towns internationally.

    VRFA is actively working with other FreeNet organizations across Canada and particularly the Ottawa FreeNet to develop FreeNets across Canada so that access to community and government information becomes a global reality in Canada regardless of geographic location, income, age, gender, ethnic group, or physical or mental capacity.

  6. To work with other Canadian FreeNets create a Canadian free computing network.

    One of the prime objectives of VRFA is to create a link between FreeNets across Canada. VRFA is participating, at substantial cost, in the first national FreeNet organizing meeting in Ottawa in August as part of our commitment to link Canadian FreeNets.

  7. To educate and encourage the public in the use of computer telecommunications and information retrieval.

    VRFA is currently holding monthly orientation meetings to introduce the concept of FreeNet and computer telecommunications. Special meetings have been held with specific groups in the community such as seniors and the cultural organizations. VRFA will also train individual users in how to access FreeNet once it becomes an operational reality in Vancouver.

  8. To research ways to improve and expand public access to and use of electronic information resources and facilities.

    VRFA has a Hardware/Software Committee and a System Design Committee which is exploring ways to provide easier interfaces for public use. It is also exploring with other organizations and companies the possibility of developing a new interface for FreeNet. VRFA will own any software that is developed and will distribute it free of charge to other FreeNet organizations.