Subject: Important Notice

From aa287 Wed Apr 16 18:19:30 1997
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From: aa287 (Veronica MacPhee)
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 18:18:44 -0400 (EDT)
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 Dear Member:
 Although the communication that follows is somewhat lengthy, because
 it may have an effect on your membership with the Durham Free-Net,
 we trust you will take the time to carefully read it.
 The Durham Free-Net has been online to the general public for about
 a year and a half.  During that time we have been able to primarily
 rely on Government funding, through the ONIP program, to sustain our
 operation.  In fact, ONIP funding accounted for about 80% of our
 operating income.  Most of the balance came from our membership.  
 Our contract with ONIP comes to an end as of the last day of April.
 Because we have not been able to adequately supplement this income
 from other sources we are in a financial crisis.  We received our
 last advance from ONIP in January of this year.  This advance
 stretched the terms of our agreement to the limit.  Since then our
 critical milestones have not improved, in fact they have
 deteriorated.  As such, no further funds are deemed available under
 this program.
 Given our current cash position and considering anticipated revenues
 we will not be able to continue operating in the black beyond the
 end of May 1997.  This unfortunately means that if there is not a
 sufficient influx of funds* prior to that date, the Durham Free-Net
 will cease operations at midnight on May 31, 1997.  The board will
 decide on an appropriate non-profit organization to receive the
 assets as set out in our By-laws.
 *(A sufficient influx of funds would have to entail a plan for short
   term operation, at least 6 months, and preferably a viable and
   feasible plan for the longer term.  We will have more to say on
   this below.)
 We could probably have chosen to struggle on a little longer than
 the end of May, however, considering how we got to this point, the
 risk of going into debt and ending up in a very messy situation is
 highly probable.  We will therefore not be extending the operations
 on a month to month basis hoping that enough funds will show up to
 cover the costs.
 The current Administration has worked long and hard to try and make
 the Durham Free-Net a reality.  We have approached most segments of
 our community for support and some have responded.  But no where
 near enough.  Other fund raising activities have been tried without
 success.  We now believe that the project as designed cannot be
 funded as originally planned.  A review of our original budget
 compared with our financial reports clearly tells this story.
 (Information on budgets and financial statements can be found under
 About the Durham Free-Net from the main menu.)
 The last thing the administration wants to see is the Durham
 Free-Net close its doors.  Some of us have been around from the
 beginning and we all find it very difficult even depressing to have
 reached this stage.  We would prefer that we had other alternatives.
 We do have a hope, however, that once this eMail reaches all of its
 destinations that other alternative proposal for the survival of the
 Durham Free-Net will be put forward.  We sincerely hope there is
 still time for this to happen.
 Keeping in mind the mandate under which we are incorporated, as
 members of the Durham Free-Net you have the opportunity, and under
 certain circumstances the right, to provide a proposal for the
 operation of our network.  This opportunity extends even beyond the
 membership to our information providers and in fact to all residents
 of all our communities within the Durham Region.
 As we indicated above any alternative proposal would have to be
 well thought out.  It would have to be feasible considering our
 mandate.  It would have to be economically viable, both in the short
 and long term.  It would also have to consider the human resources
 required to carry out all of its aspects.  current operating
 expenses require funding of a minimum of $40,000.00 per year, not
 counting any salaries that may be required in your plan.
 Any proposal that does not consider all of the foregoing would in
 all likelihood find itself in the same position we are now.  Although
 heart and energy are necessary prerequisites for success of any
 project they are not sufficient.  All proposals must contain a viable
 operating plan that supports the mandate, otherwise they cannot be
 We will be setting up a website that will contain this communication
 along with proposal guidelines and any other information deemed
 necessary as we go into this phase of our operation.
 If you or your group feel you can put forward a proposal, please do not
 wait for the website.  Also if you feel more time is required make
 sure your proposal takes into consideration the May 31, 1997
 Yours very truly,
 Durham Free-Net Inc
 Board of Directors
Veronica MacPhee  -

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