NFN Origins

January 1, 2004

Envisioned in May 1993 by Dr. Melody Hainsworth of International College and Terry Miller, a retired journalist, the Naples Free-Net took just two years to move from being an idea to a functioning free-net. Seven founding committee members, Terry Dugas, Kevin Hill, Mike Keller, Jack Sterling, Ed Thieme along with Hainsworth and Miller, orchestrated an ever growing team of volunteers who, together, spent time away from families and professional jobs to use their best skills to bring this new technology into Southwest Florida.

Several important corporate sponsors including the Sprint, International College, and Kwik Kopy support this growing community service.

The Naples Free-Net opened on July 1, 1995 to great fanfare at a huge ceremony with 500 of its closest supporters at the Telford Center. Its purpose was (and still is) to serve the Naples community with free public access to the Internet and provide web-based information representative of its community and its way of life.

By October 1995, the first NFN Board of Directors convened under the presidency of Dr. Hainsworth, thus expanding its base of community support and formalizing the loose organizational structure of its formation stages. Under the presidency of Terry Dugas, NFN incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit association. Our third president, Laurie Bonnice, maintained NFN’s status as the best community network in the country using originality, vigor and advanced technologies. NFN’s 4th president, Dr. Kelley Conrad, managed the completion of the equipment upgrade to give NFN full digital capabilities including the 56K access speed, and an increase in the quality and number of non-profit sites.  Under the leadership of president Bill Coakley the NFN expanded its service area to include Immokalee and at the beginning of 2003 began offering a tiered account system of membership.  The tiered account membership is expected to provide financial stability to the expanded organization.  A goal yet to be achieved is to establish and begin funding an endowment fund for long term stability.

How can People Help?

That is a question we love to hear. And depending upon the person’s interests, skills and availability of other resources, we can find a way to accept their offer of assistance

Some ways people help NFN:

Donate money;
Provide support services;
Teach a class for NFN;
Buy books from our link;
Subscribe to courses from our DPEC link;
Volunteer with any one of many committees;
Provide services through their company;
Add an organization’s information to our website;
Buy a NFN mug, mouse pad, shirt or other promotional items;
Use our services;
Buy a Premium account or upgrade from Standard to Premium.
Refer us to people;
Get nominated to the board of directors;
Identify and do something only you can do for the Naples Free-Net.

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