Digital Bridges leadership understood the Knight grant wouldn’t last forever. The center searched long and hard for a sustainability plan.
The organization needed a revenue stream to keep it alive after the grant funds expired, according to Cook.
“We quickly found the expenses of providing a public service like that are much higher than you can cover by charging for the types of things we were doing. If we were going to maintain our mission, we would have had to do non-related service items to make money,” the director said. “That would have gone against the spirit of what the grant was about in the first place.”
Digital Bridges tried small business incubation and charging for classes but nothing earned meaningful dollars.
The Georgia College J. Whitney Bunting College of Business currently pays the bill until closure.
The building lease runs through the end of December. It’s up to Georgia College to renew or terminate the lease.
The future of all the computers and other useful equipment is an unknown. Georgia College controls that property.
Several local entities could use the computers.
“(Georgia College) is exploring the legality of even doing a transfer. They aren’t sure what process they need to go through to do that,” Cook said.
Several groups are working to continue the project and are looking for help from the local community.
“Rather than blame the Knight Foundation or anybody for it not continuing I think it’s in the community’s hands now. If you want to see this continue going, we need to see someone donate time, resources and volunteers wherever it may be to get that mission going again,” Cook said.
The director said current staff, Nonprofit Specialist Colin Moore and Information Systems Specialist Daniel Pittman, would be “happy to lead a volunteer effort to keep (Digital Bridges) going.”