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Over the past year, we've been doing TechSoup Impact stories about nonprofits, churches, and libraries doing great work with TechSoup product donations. Here are the ones we especially liked from the past year!
HART for Animals is a one-stop rescue organization for all things pets in rural Maryland. Since 2003, the nonprofit has saved more than 6,000 animals, and the project is growing fast.
HART needed a technology solution that would allow it to go from a staff of 5 to 50 people — without having to pay additional costs or have extra maintenance. Full-time volunteer and board member Mercedes Pellet told us, "We could not have afforded the Desktop Office Suite for 50 employees — Office 365 is a real blessing. We think of it as our partner because we use it every day in multiple ways!"
An increasing number of public libraries are discovering TechSoup donations, but few are maxing them out like Waukesha Public Library in Wisconsin. The library ordered 60 Dell refurbished desktop computers from TechSoup's Refurbished Computer Initiative (RCI) to provide its patrons with Internet access.
Assistant director John Klima explained: "We get a ton of usage on our public PCs, and the RCI program is going to help us continue to provide this valuable service to our community."
Seattle-based nonprofit publishing company Braided River has used a TechSoup donation of Adobe software to astounding effect. It's undertaken 16 conservation projects to date with just three staff people. Among the wild places Braided River has featured, millions of acres have been moved to a stronger level of protection. The organization's project on Last Polar Bear reached 26.5 million people through national media outreach, including an appearance on "Good Morning America."
Braided River's director of development and communications, Lace Thornberg, told us, "We work really hard with a very little budget to have the highest impact possible. We wouldn't be able do it without TechSoup donations. I asked some of my colleagues for some examples of how they use TechSoup donations. They said you want an example? You mean everything we do, every day?"
Legacy of Hope Austin is a Texas-based arts charity that's created the 2dance2dream program, providing a way for children with special needs to express themselves through movement and music.
The program offers year-round dance lessons and an annual event in which 80 children are joined by volunteers from professional dance schools.
Legacy of Hope has leveraged Cisco networking equipment donations from TechSoup and some help installing them from Cisco volunteers.
The new equipment beefed up the nonprofit's IT so that it now serves high-speed broadband to multiple locations. Executive director Julie Lyles Carr says: "Anything that helps get the message out through technology is so important."
The Kosch-Westerman Foundation connects terminally ill children to their classrooms through technology. Since then, the project has given more than 1,000 children a window to the outside world from their hospital beds.
No one would expect to have to protect terminally ill children from hackers, but co-founder Brian Westerman discovered that some of the kids the foundation was helping were being spied on through their laptop cameras. He came to TechSoup and requested donations of Norton Security. Brian told us: "We got 12 copies of it right off the bat. We ran it on every computer and found a lot of stuff that was really bad. Norton actually corrected all of that."
Veterans Organic Garden is a visionary job training and rehabilitation program for disabled veterans developed by Lovay Wallace-Singleton. The project provides paid internships and organic gardening job skills training for unemployed and low-income veterans, as well as rehabilitation therapy through gardening.
Garden and training coordinator Deanna Hull uses a tablet from TechSoup's Refurbished Computer Initiative to plan and run the garden. The Wi-Fi Internet connection and all the devices are powered by solar energy.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church is better known as The Pumpkin Church. Reverend Jim Liberatore explains, "When you go around town and talk to people about the church, some of them might not even know the name St. Andrew's. But then you mention the Pumpkin Church, and they'll say, 'Oh yeah, that's my church!'"
Rev. Liberatore says, "Thanks to the donated copies of Microsoft Office [from TechSoup], our volunteers were able to start working on current, compatible versions of PowerPoint."
New Heights Educational Group is an educational support and literacy center for families with children who are struggling in school. New Heights provides families with tutoring services, a library with more than 3,000 books, field trips, and online classes.
New Heights also uses Citrix GoToMeeting from TechSoup to connect teachers and tutors with students. These online sessions can also be reviewed and played back later, allowing New Heights to offer suggestions for both teacher and student improvement. Founder and executive director Pamela Clark says, "Without GoToMeeting, there would have been no way to teach these kids."
This story is one of my most favorite of all I wrote this year. Inward Bound Mindfulness Education is dedicated to improving the lives of teens through mindfulness retreats. It uses donated Intuit QuickBooks for Nonprofits from TechSoup to track grants and automate payroll so that it can help more and more kids.
When I asked the nonprofit's bookkeeper, Sarah Carr, how she uses QuickBooks, she sighed and said, "It's kind of like asking a fish how they use water. I'm on it all day." She adds, "I keep discovering new functions I haven't used yet. It's a very powerful engine. As we grow, QuickBooks for Nonprofits meets our needs."
Tell us about the amazing work your organization is doing and how technology is helping you do it. We'd love to hear from you! After all, helping organizations like yours succeed is why we do what we do.
This story was written by Jim Lynch, director of green technology at TechSoup.
Image 1: Hart for Animals
Image 2: Pressmaster / Shutterstock
Image 3: Braided River
Image 4: Legacy of Hope Austin
Image 5: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
Image 6: Veterans Organic Garden
Image 7: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
Image 8: New Heights Educational Group
Image 9: Inward Bound Mindfulness Education