Who we are
Community Information Now (CI:Now) is a partnership of over 25 public, private, governmental, educational and healthcare organizations working together since 1998.
The mission of CI:Now is to provide to the community a network for finding, learning, imagining, sharing, telling, and joining for positive change. The vision of CI:Now is to be your trusted source for information and tools, creating an informed and engaged community for the greater good.
CI:Now serves Bexar and 11 surrounding counties in south-central Texas, including Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Frio, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, and Wilson. Our primary funding partners are Methodist Healthcare Ministries, the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, the San Antonio Area Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation.
In October 2010 CI:Now became the 35th local partner in the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP). Staffed by The Urban Institute, NNIP is working to democratize information, promoting the use of neighborhood-level information to create better policy and build stronger communities. Check out CI:Now's NNIP Partner Profile.
CI:Now is made up of three coordinated arms, each of which extends into the community its unique contribution to CI:Now’s mission.
NOWData is an online datacenter and data services provider administered by the University of Texas School of Public Health, San Antonio Regional Campus (UTSPH-SARC), and technically supported by the NOWData Working Group comprised of local data providers and data users.
NOWCastSA is an independent, online-only community news organization, dedicated to local, public service journalism and to creating a neighbor-to-neighbor news and information network in the San Antonio community. It is funded by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and from CI:Now and is administered by the San Antonio Area Foundation.
NOWTech is collection of computer skills training classes for adults and seniors. Classes and online resources are available all across Bexar County and cover everything from how to turn on your computer and use a mouse to making smart computer purchases, going wireless, Skype, and Advanced Excel.
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All three arms are governed by a Policy Group composed of representatives of CI:Now funders and other stakeholder organizations. The Policy Group meets monthly and serves as the locus for overall strategic planning and progress measurement, high-level coordination of activities among the three CI:Now arms, branding and messaging for community relations, resource development, and fiscal stewardship. The current members of the Policy Group are:
- Steve Blanchard, PhD, Our Lady of the Lake University (Chair)
- Roberto Villarreal, MD, University Health System (Vice Chair)
- Charles Andrews, Interim Chair, NOWCastSA Board of Directors
- Mary Ellen Burns, United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County
- Dean Danos, Alamo Area Council of Governments
- Pilar Oates, Methodist Healthcare Ministries
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In the late 1990s, two community partnership organizations, the San Antonio Community Network (SATNET) and the San Antonio Community Information System (SACIS), were working separately towards a common goal: developing a system where the residents of San Antonio and its surrounding counties could readily access information related to healthcare, education, and social services. While numerous information resources existed at that time and still do today, the information often is difficult to locate, once located, it is difficult to access, once accessed it is not comprehensive and too often outdated.
Following planning meetings conducted with community leaders and over thirty public, private, and non-profit organizations, it became clear that merging SATNET and SACIS would be the best strategy for making the proposed information system a reality. In March 2000, the Alamo Area Community Information System (AACIS) was born. The vision of AACIS was also put forth at that time, “to provide our citizens with enhanced access to information, services and tools that will aide them in all levels of community life and facilitate the development of skills necessary to improve upon the quality of life.”
Late in 2008, AACIS expanded the collaboration to include the San Antonio Regional Campus of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health in order to update and expand data holdings and create a community portal with which the community could access data and other resources.
In 2009, AACIS added a visionary project known as NOWCastSA, a Community Information Challenge project funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. NOWCastSA is an independent, nonprofit community news organization, dedicated to creation of a neighbor-to-neighbor news and information network and public service journalism. It strives to publish accurate, reliable, relevant and compelling in-depth news, data and information, filling a core community need and enabling a healthy democracy.
In January of 2010, the need to revise the mission and vision of AACIS became clear, and brainstorming and visioning meetings resulted in the rebranding of AACIS as CI:Now. Today, CI:Now is supported by Methodist Healthcare Ministries, the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, and many additional sources. CI:Now maintains partnerships with over twenty-five organizations and is increasing these collaborations.
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Information for stronger communities
CI:Now is funded primarily by private foundations. But individual contributions help us provide the news, data, training, and other information you and your neighbors need to create a stronger community.
Please consider making a donation to CI:Now via our fiscal agent, the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. (Because CI:Now is an unincorporated partnership, CI:Now cannot receive donations directly.)
Three percent of the amount donated securely through the Razoo widget are withheld by Razoo as a transaction fee. Every dollar after that fee will go to support CI:Now data and news work. No funds donated through this page will be used to support any United Way program other than CI:Now.
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