NPower Is Setting Forth To Empower Nonprofits

May 24, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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DETROIT — In an effort to put technology in the hands of nonprofit organizations, NPower Michigan is rolling out the red carpet in Michigan as part of the NPower Network.

And, in conjunction with Microsoft, it is kicking off the effort on Saturday with Virus Vaccination Day.

The NPower Network is a national network of organizations dedicated to putting technology know-how within the reach of nonprofit organizations.

Established in 1999 through the Microsoft and NPower National Partnership, NPower focuses on nonprofits across the country.

With affiliates now in Michigan, Atlanta, Indiana, New York, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle, the partnership reports being more than halfway towards reaching its goal of establishing 13 affiliates by the end of 2003.

“At Microsoft we are committed to assisting nonprofits achieve their missions through the appropriate use of technology,” said Scott Carlton, general manager of Microsoft’s Great Lakes district and NPower board member.

NPower Michigan kicks off its first statewide campaign with a Virus Vaccination Day of lervice on Saturday, June 1.

Kathleen Teodoro, executive director of NPower Michigan, said volunteers from the Detroit area will fan out across the region, updating virus protection software on computers at nonprofit organizations, targeting two groups: those with assets of $25,000 to $1.5 million and those from $1.5 million to $5 million.

She said “vaccinations” will be “shots” of respected anti-virus software donated by Symantec, and that the move is NPower Michigan’s first step toward empowering local nonprofits to harness the potential of technology for greatest mission impact.

Individuals with time or skills to contribute, as well as nonprofits interested in receiving free software and technical assistance, are encouraged to contact NPower Michigan at (313) 267-9550.

Npower Michigan was founded to help nonprofits achieve their missions by integrating the appropriate use of technology into their day-to-day work and direct service delivery.

Following Virus Vaccination Day, NPower Michigan will serve as a resource to the state’s nonprofit community by providing a suite of technology support services including training, network integration and technology consulting services.

The NPower Michigan program will begin its efforts through a concentrated effort in the Detroit area.

In late summer, Teodoro said the program will begin in Grand Rapids. While some Grand Rapids-based nonprofit organizations are already receiving assistance from NPower Michigan, by the end of August a local representative will be in place and the initiative will have backing from local technology companies.

“We have had some interest from Grand Rapids companies that want to volunteer in the Detroit event but are also interested in getting the Grand Rapids event off the ground,” Teodoro said.

In addition, NPower Michigan is partnering with NPower Seattle to pilot a nonprofit Application Service Provider (ASP) in the Detroit and Seattle areas. The ASP removes cost and know-how barriers by linking organizations with Web-based software, which is fully hosted and supported by NPower.

“Nonprofits can derive enormous benefits from advancements in information technology. However, for most nonprofits, current technology remains beyond their reach due to budgetary and technological constraints,” noted Teodoro.

“We are delighted to launch NPower Michigan with the support of Microsoft and the Mott and Kellogg Foundations and to join the rapidly expanding NPower Network, extending its ability to provide tools, training and hands-on assistance to make a difference in the community.”

Teodoro, a Grand Rapids native, comes back to the area to continue the NPower program. She was part of the initial development of NPower Seattle in March 1999.

Through the Microsoft and NPower National Partnership, NPower Michigan will receive up to $250,000 per year for three years along with a substantial commitment of software — a gift from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation combined with other local support demonstrates the Michigan funding community’s commitment to NPower’s vision of accessible, meaningful technology in the hands of the people who run the state’s nonprofits.

Teodoro echoed NPower Michigan’s conviction that technology, appropriately employed, can help nonprofit groups in the following ways:

  • Re-direct energies from time-intensive administrative work to more focused and creative direct service delivery.

  • Improve services by turning info into knowledge into power and action.

  • Secure new resources by more convincingly documenting how their services effect positive change.

  • Collaborate more readily with other nonprofits, the private sector and government in providing services that are non-duplicative, holistic and respectful of the clients served.

“After we have implemented this program throughout the state, we will really be there to serve as a resource for these nonprofit organizations,” said Teodoro. “They will then begin to see the efficiencies in the technology and the time-saving factors, and it will really prove itself.”

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