Local Nonprofits Fight Poverty with a Little Help From the Tech World


501 Commons’ Deep Dive Programming Builds Technology Capacity for Free for Seattle Organizations

SEATTLE – Local nonprofits working with low income communities are receiving help of their own, thanks to the Deep Dive program at 501 Commons. The program, which is kicking off its third year in Seattle, leverages the resources of AmeriCorps VISTA members and skilled volunteers to help local nonprofits like Recovery Café and Rotary First Harvest assess their technology systems and identify mission-critical issues to address, and strategic technology advances that will help the organization better accomplish their mission.

“These organizations are a lifeline for vulnerable communities,” says Jan Burrell, Volunteer Engagement Manager at 501 Commons. “By connecting them with the right technology and trainings, we can help them save time and money, and in turn, they can serve more people in our community.”

Deep Dive is part of HandsOn Tech, a national program that was developed through a partnership between Points of Light Foundation and Google to develop the non-profit sector’s effective use of technology to improve outcomes for low-income communities and families. Building on Points of Light's goal of equipping people to change lives and Google’s commitment to accessibility of technology, HandsOn Tech leverages the resources of AmeriCorps VISTA members, skills-based volunteers and community partners to create meaningful and sustained impact. Nationally, HandsOn Tech has trained over 6,000 no-profits on free- and low-cost technology tools since it was established in 2011. 

In Seattle, 501 Commons is beginning its third year as a HandsOn Tech recipient. The local program has provided tech assessments, trainings, and improvement plans to 17 small nonprofits in the area that focus on poverty alleviation or work within low-income communities. Local tech volunteers round out contributions from AmeriCorps VISTA members.

One Seattle HandsOn Tech participant, local nonprofit Teens in Public Service (TIPS), was able to update their 17 year-old technology systems through the program.  A review of their current technology usage revealed that while some systems were working well, a few key adjustments needed to be made.

“We got to focus our action plan on things we could do to use technology even better to serve our clients and mission,” said Cathy Michalec, Executive Director of TIPS.

“We love this program,” says Burrell. “Any way we can give these critical organizations a boost in the great work they do — that’s a win for us.”

About 501 Commons

501 Commons' mission is to boost the capacity of nonprofit organizations to thrive over the long term and effectively serve their community. 501 Commons achieves this by providing consulting services, leadership coaching, financial services, executive advisors, cohort programs, human resources and “back office” training, and tech services to nonprofits. Most services are provided on a sliding scale basis, or are free of charge. 501 Commons provides services to over 200 nonprofits each year. To learn more, visit http://www.501commons.org/

Contact: Jan Burrell

501 Commons




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