Keeping up with technology is vital for any business, not only for easier management but better security and communications.
But for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids & East Central Iowa (BBBS), which mentors at-risk youth in Benton, Jones and Linn counties, the kind of technology upgrade needed had reached the point of emergency. Outdated computers and operating systems were volatile, crashing and failing to save documents, blocking communications with other agencies and clients.
For BBBS, a $6,000 grant from Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation last year meant the difference between surviving and thriving, explains Kathy Beardsworth, BBBS Fund Development & Marketing Director.
In January, the Community Foundation’s Organizational Development Fund grant provided seven new laptops for staff with responsibilities partially off-site and 13 desktops for staff in-office. That was part of the BBBS Strategic Technology System Design and Acquisition project to provide a new server, computer and hardware upgrades critical to supporting program growth.
The agency badly needed a current and consistent version of Windows to enable file-sharing, grant writing, and access to web-based database systems and marketing materials offered by BBBS of America.
“We couldn’t do any of this without getting efficient computers and a server on-site, up and operating,” Beardsworth notes. “If your technology isn’t current, you lack efficiencies. It’s been frustrating. Our staff’s focus needs to be on the great work we do, not dealing with computer issues. ”
“Each step forward in our upgrades improved operations drastically,” Beardsworth says.
“Today, staff members are thrilled to turn on their computers to easily connect with clients and others,” she adds. “It gives us more flexibility and we’re processing information faster and more consistently across the agency. This grant, coupled with a gift from a faithful donor, has allowed us to move into the 21st century.”
Organizational Development Fund
Fund Purpose: Build high performing nonprofits
Grant Award: $5,000