The Charles River Public Internet Center’s mission is to advance technology and Internet literacy for adults and youth by empowering people with the technical skills necessary for economic success.
Our vision is driven by providing “access for all.” This goes beyond simple access to computers and the Internet; technology education, job training, and individual support are also integral to our vision.
Technical training equips people with the skills to obtain better jobs, communicate with people and institutions in their daily lives, and locate needed services and resources – all of which ultimately improve the quality of life for members of our communities.
Access also includes the opportunity and ability to tap into useful, valuable content on the Internet and in classes. CRPIC runs classes and community programs that speak to things that matter most in our lives: money, jobs, skills development, and personal enrichment.
Boston Computer Society
CRPIC/The American Computer Foundation is the progeny of the Boston Computer Society (BCS), one of the first organizations in the world dedicated to helping tech geeks connect to each other and computer resources. It was founded in 1977 by thirteen-year-old Jonathan Rotenberg and Richard Gardner. Over the next 19 years, BCS became the go-to organization for an ever increasing number of people interested in this new technology and in exchanging ideas and information with other like-minded individuals. By the 1990’s, it was the largest such organization in the world with more than 30,000 members, 75 user groups, over 150 group meetings per month, and dozens of newsletters and publications. Its membership included Bill Gates, Mitch Kapor, Daniel Bricklin, Mike Markkula, Dan Fylstra, Tracy Licklidder, and many other industry pioneers. BCS hosted dozens of major industry and product announcements, the most famous being Apple’s east coast release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984.
By the late 1990’s the personal computer had become established in offices and homes and the internet was rapidly becoming available and user friendly. Computing was not just for the geeks and early adopters any longer. The need for a central resource such as BCS to collect, share, and publish information began to wane, but the need to help the rest of the population become computer and internet literate exploded.
The Charles River Public Internet Center/American Computer Foundation
In the late 1990’s BCS Board members, Dan diBartolomeo and Arthur Nelson recognized that the personal computer and internet would fundamentally change the way in which we conduct business, communicate with each other, and manage our lives. They foresaw the massive need for access to equipment and the internet and the training that would enable individuals, corporations, and organizations to effectively use it. They founded CRPIC/ACF in 1999 as a private nonprofit experiment dedicated to fulfilling that challenge. Almost 20 years later, Dan diBartolomeo still heads CRPIC’s Board of Directors and provides support and leadership as did Arthur Nelson until his death in 2015. Over the years, as technology has evolved, CRPIC’s programming has followed suit, but remains clearly focused on providing access and training to all of the public, especially the under-served, as the technology landscape changes.