Highlighting Our Community: Keith Reynolds

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It4Causes is excited to highlight Keith Reynolds. Keith is one of the co-founders of Synapse Hubs, a networking platform that seeks to create connections between small businesses and nonprofit organizations. We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Keith and interview him on the amazing work that he is accomplishing in Richmond.

Keith never dreamed that he would end up where he is now; in truth, Synapse was a bit of a happy accident for him. After working ten years for BB&T, Keith was pushed into working in the business networking field. Keith discovered that this network held very valuable information and resources for his clients, and as result he set out to connect his clientele with the businesses that best reflected their needs. However, Keith, who has always enjoyed customer service, was never comfortable with being a salesman. He desired to do more than perform a selling method, but essentially wanted to find a way to use networking as a tool to not only celebrate the people that he was serving but also to potentially benefit them.

Therefore in December 2011 , Keith quit his job with no plan or itinerary but simply guided by his desire to pay it forward with the use of networking.

Keith started out with networking between corporate business, traveling daily to host meetings between different corporations in order to allow them to connect and work with each other. During his travels, Keith encountered a nonprofit at one of his meetings, and was completely blown away at the passionate work that they were doing. However, Keith also recognized that there was a misconstrued thinking describing nonprofit as charities that only needed money all the time. He thought, this mindset devalues what nonprofits actually bring to the community. In today’s culture, networking has been defined as sales platform, and the main purpose is to sale my product. Keith believes the true purpose of networking is for it to be a development resource tool for finding quality people in the community that do a variety of different work, whom you can trust and rely upon.

Keith decided to set out and equip small business and nonprofits with a community in order to introduce a new flow of support. This idea became the starting point for what is now known today as Synapse Hubs. The two main concepts for Synapse are to connect with nonprofits and small businesses, and become a resource hub for all members. Keith visions Synapse to be very supportive mechanism for passionate people of the nonprofit and small business community that allows them to cultivate valuable relations in the business community in order to produce a shared value for the nonprofit sector. In the end, Synapse would be able to create opportunities that could create introductions that could create greatness. Now, Synapse has been running for close to 3 years, has dozens of “hubs” meeting in RVA and Charlottesville, and has hundreds of members who are actively using the network to help the community while also growing their businesses. Keith hopes in the future that Synapse will be able to be a part of a variety of markets around the country in order to redefine our concept of networking, collaboration, and working with others.

Keith has done amazing work for a numerous amount of nonprofits and it is amazing to see his work continuing to growing. The ability to network with so many nonprofit partners was key to IT4Causes early success, and we are happy and thankful to know and partner with Keith Reynolds.  To experience Synapse for yourself, contact Keith Reynolds or visit https://www.facebook.com/Synapsehubs/ and tell them IT4Causes sent you!

Our New Client : United Spinal Association

UnitedSpinal_Virginia

IT4Causes is excited to present one of our newest clients, the United Spinal Association Chapter in Richmond, Virginia. Their mission is to support and provide resources to people with Spinal Cord Injury/Disease (SCI/D) and assist them in achieving their highest level of health, independence and quality of life. They also provide support and educate the newly injured, families, public officials, community leaders, and citizens to the needs of persons with (SCI/D), as well as advocate for the importance of creating an environment of greater independence for all. They offer a variety of opportunities in helping those with SCI take back control of their lives.

The Virginia Chapter of the United Spinal Association was started by Sharon Drennan approximately a year and a half ago. She became involved in the Association after her son suffered a spinal cord injury. Due to lack of support in Virginia for persons with SCI/D, Sharon struggled to find information and resources necessary to help her. Determined learn all she could, Sharon reached out to different organizations at national scales to gain insight. She then began to vocalize the lack of resources and communal support for those dealing with SCI/D in Virginia. After much campaigning, the United Spinal Association reached out to her, asking her if she wanted to start a chapter in VA. Excited, Sharon pulled together different organizations in the Richmond community and asked them to help her with this campaign for she knew she could not do it alone. Although still relatively new, the VA Chapter has grown to a member base of 250 people. Helping to provide peer mentoring and support programs, the United Spinal Association hopes to extend their Chapter beyond Richmond and into other parts of Virginia. Sharon describes that the one thing she wants to prevent is isolation for those who are dealing with SCI/D, whether they are the patient or a family members and/or friends, because no one should have to go through it alone

IT4Cause is excited to partner with Sharon in helping her pursue her goal of expanding the chapter into different branches throughout Virginia. IT4Causes will be helping the Association by implementing Microsoft Office 365 for cloud email and document storage, as well as setting them up with Quickbooks Online. We are consulting with them on their client and donor data base.

To Learn more about the United Spinal Association, please check out their website unitedspinalva.org

Valentines Day:  We love our supporters

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It’s Valentine’s Day! and we at IT4Causes just want to give a huge shoutout to say that We Love Our Supporters! To everyone that has volunteered for us. To all who have sponsored and donated. To anyone that has attended any of our events. To our amazing partner agencies and those who have helped us network and connect to others. We Love You! IT4Causes would never be where we are without all your efforts and support that you have given to us. Even though we appreciate you guys everyday, we really couldn’t let today go by without just saying We Love You!

February Volunteer Newsletter

We hope your off to a great new year!

Last year was a great year for us and we hope it was a good year for you as well. Thanks to your generous gifts of time and talent, IT4Causes served 22 agencies across the Richmond area! As the new year gets rolling, we hope you’ll consider volunteering with IT4Causes!

Logging Your Volunteer Hours

Did you know that your volunteer hours do more than support agencies?  They allow IT4Causes to:

Build business plans that show how we offer low cost solutions using skilled volunteers

Provide the details we need when writing grants that also support our work

Document the project recaps required by our sponsoring companies

Provide accurate reporting to the IRS to support our 503c status

Therefore your time matters, for the agencies we help and for us as well. So always remember to log those volunteer hours!

Click here to enter any hours you may have worked in the past and haven’t yet entered.  If you are retracing steps, exact days don’t matter, but please be sure to reflect the months as accurately as possible.

New Volunteer Opportunities and a Paid Position in Lynchburg 

We’re pleased to announce that we are starting an engagement with a large nonprofit in Lynchburg, and we currently have a variety of volunteer opportunities to help with the assessment there. We’re looking for experts in a variety of topics to better understand their needs and help us suggest improvements.  While being able to participate on site in Lynchburg would be great, you can also dial in to participate in these sessions remotely.

We’re also excited to tell you we have an opening for a paid IT Manager/Fractional CIO position to support this new client in Lynchburg.  In addition to helping this main client become more effective and efficient in delivering their mission, the person will also help us identify, land, and service new nonprofit clients throughout the Lynchburg/Roanoke/Blacksburg region.  Imagine the job satisfaction from spending your days using technology to help many different causes!  If you’re interested in this unique opportunity, please reach out to Tom Anderson.

And if you have friends in greater Lynchburg, be sure to share this newsletter with them and let them know about IT4Causes!

Be sure to check out our other current opportunities in RVA as well.

Does your employer offer monetary donations for your volunteer hours?

Some local employers, like Capital One and Car Max, have programs that give employees dollars to donate to charities of their choice, based on the number of volunteer hours they log in their internal systems. If your employer offers this benefit, we encourage you to designate IT4Cause to receive those dollars.

Did you like our Tech4All event?

Then you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for an upcoming announcement about IT4Causes events in 2016! Follow us on Facebook to stay on top of all our updates!
Finally, Remember to enter those volunteer hours!

Thank you as always for your gift of time and talent

the best

IT4Causes is Hiring and Recruiting Volunteers for Lynchburg, VA!

IT4Lynchburg

There’s a new way to get IT done for nonprofits, and it’s coming to Lynchburg.  Help IT4Causes enable Region 2000 agencies to become more effective and efficient using a proven model for success.  Because most nonprofits can’t afford their own Chief Information Officers and full-time technology staff, we give them access to top-notch IT professionals through contracts that blend paid and pro bono experts, volunteers, and workforce development participants.  We’ve been using awesome people, great technology, and best practices to deliver world-class information technology solutions to nonprofits in Richmond for over two years, and now we’re looking to expand our impact into the Lynchburg-Roanoke region.  We need civic-minded IT professionals of all skill levels and disciplines to help us make good programs better & improve the lives of many in the region.  Here’s who we need to make it happen:

IT Director/Fractional CIO for Nonprofits (paid position)
(skip to volunteer positions)

We’re looking for an IT leader with broad experience in technology, who can think strategically, plan tactically, manage practically, as well as perform some system administration tasks.  We’ll provide you with at least one initial nonprofit client in Lynchburg to get you started, and help you identify and land additional work with other agencies in the region.

Our ideal candidate has the following attributes:

Skills:

  • Consultant-grade ability to listen, understand current technology capabilities, follow emerging industry trends, and envision new approaches
  • Core knowledge across many technical disciplines, including networks, communications, info security, systems administration, client-server, and cloud-based solutions
  • Knowledge and ability to support Windows servers, third-party applications, networks, security systems, virus protection, and hardware configurations
  • Ability to effectively communicate technical concepts to non-IT audiences
  • Unending desire to learn new technologies as well as troubleshoot and maintain existing ones
  • Excellent written and verbal communications as well as presentation skills
  • Outgoing personality that builds professional networks across organizations
  • Exceptional project and time management skills to work with multiple clients and projects simultaneously
  • Confidence to make informed decisions

Experience:

  • Proven leader of organizations, projects, and people, including volunteers
  • 10+ years leading/deploying 3rd party applications to solve for business needs and/or managing IT operations
  • Some experience recruiting and managing volunteers as well as staff
  • Demonstrated capability to sell strategic IT improvements to non-IT customers

Values:

  • Cares about having an Impact
  • Values collaboration over competition
  • Loves innovating and start-up thinking, especially to benefit the community
  • Appreciates the experience and knowledge of others
  • Believes in developing others through mentorship and guidance

Full compensation will be dependent upon ability to help close deals for additional work at new clients.  We offer help with health insurance premiums, and an unparalleled opportunity for IT professionals to have an impact in their communities.  If this sounds like you, and you’re looking for a unique way to be a force for good through technology, please contact IT4Causes CEO Tom Anderson at 804.241.2555  or Thomas.anderson@IT4Causes.org.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!


 

 

 

IT Pro Bono Experts and Skilled IT Volunteers

IT4Causes’ success depends on the service of community-minded IT professionals who are willing to commit their time and expertise in bite-sized chunks to help nonprofits better serve their missions.  If you’ve got IT knowledge and would like to volunteer, IT4Causes is here to guide you to the right opportunity.  Our staff are expert at taking the business requirements of nonprofits, identifying solutions, and breaking projects into small tasks for individual volunteers.  In general, we try to break work into pieces that the right volunteers can execute in 8 hours or less, over the course of 2 weeks.  Once that commitment is done, you can take on more or walk away knowing your time and talent contribution will be combined with the work of others as part of a sustainable solution for a great cause.  While we are actively seeking to build a base of IT pros in Central Virginia, most of our current assignments could be performed remotely. Our volunteer needs are constantly evolving with our client and project base, and right now we’re looking for volunteers with skills in these areas:

  • IT Consulting
  • Networks
  • Windows Small Business Server and Exchange Server
  • IT Security
  • End-user support
  • IT Project Management
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Access and/or SQL Database
  • Case Management Systems
  • CRM and fundraising solutions

If you’re ready to use your IT skills to help those who serve your community, please visit www.IT4Causes.org/volunteer and complete our volunteer application.

Better Housing Coalition

BHC

Founded in 1988, Better Housing Coalition is the Richmond region’s largest not-for-profit community development corporation. Their mission is to change lives and transform communities by combining long term solutions with high-quality, affordable housing and ongoing support services for residents.

Better Housing Coalition’s focus is to build more than just a building but to create buildings that individuals can call home. Driven by respect for residents, community, and the environment; the Better Housing Coalition use sustainable materials while preserving neighborhood character in order to allow seniors to age in place, families to prosper financially, and children to aspire to bright futures. They are dedicated to tending to distinct resident needs through becoming permanent residents of the community and developing long lasting relationships. Better Housing Coalition rebuilds communities from the inside out to ensure the practice of healthy vibrant communities inclusive to all. Better Housing Coalition believes that by doing so they are able to build a better future with lasting change one brick at a time.

IT4Cause is helping BHC’s employees get access to internal company data by building an Intranet using Microsoft’s SharePoint technology.  We’ve engaged a pro bono SharePoint expert from Impact Makers, who is bringing a great process to the effort, facilitating conversations with the client, and teaching our interns how to build individual department pages.  One intern has developed mocks of what the pages will look like, so customer expectation are set appropriately, and we’re providing training so that BHC staff can maintain this system on their own going forward.  So far, everyone loves the process and the output, and we expect to wrap up the effort in a couple weeks, leaving the agency with a great way to communicate with their own people.

For more information on BHC, please visit their website http://www.betterhousingcoalition.org

IT4Causes Is Proud To Introduce Our New Intern

In order to invest in the Richmond community and continue our efforts of paying it forward, IT4Causes has opted to hire another VCU student to intern for us.

Introducing Amanda Barnes, she is a senior who is currently embarking upon completion of her last semester at VCU. She is majoring in Painting and Printmaking with a double minor in Art History and Gender Women’s Studies. Amanda expressed that she has always had a passion for the arts as well as community service. She aspires to combine these two joy of hers in hopes to help and empower her community .

Amanda will be apart of our management and social media sector. By utilizing her skills as a trained artist combined with her innovative ideas, she will to help promote IT4Causes events and ideals to continue to help bring new information technology solutions to other nonprofits in order to help them better achieve their missions.

Upon graduation Amanda looks forward to continuing to work with other nonprofits in order to advocate for changes needed as well as address different issues that the Richmond through her practice in art.

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Why it’s important to log your IT4Causes volunteer hours

Last year was a great year for us and we hope it was a good year for you.
Thanks to your generous gifts of time and talent, IT4Causes was able to serve 22 agencies across the Richmond area in 2016.

While skills and time are invaluable direct contributions to our agencies, did you know that your volunteer hours also support our agencies in other ways, too? Logging your volunteer hours allow IT4Causes to:
• Build business plans that show how we offer low cost solutions using skilled volunteers
• Provide the details we need when writing grants that also support our work
• Document the project recaps required by our sponsoring companies
• Provide accurate reporting to the IRS to support our 503c status

So…. please log those volunteer hours. Your time matters, and so does the data about your time!

Use this conveniently provided link to enter any hours you have volunteered for us. If you are retracing steps, exact dates don’t matter, but please be sure to reflect the number of hours you gave in each month as accurately as possible.

If activity covers more than one day in a month, please use last date you volunteered in that month. Please use a separate entry for each month.

Some employers like Capital One provide a donation to nonprofits based on the hours volunteers log into their systems.  If you work for one of these firms, please be sure to record your service hours in that system, too, and please consider designating the funds to IT4Causes (our tax ID 47-1992190 in case your employer needs it).

Finally, be sure to check out our current volunteer opportunities.

Thank you as always for your gift of time and talent.  We simply couldn’t serve the community like we do without your help!

IT4Causes Pays It Forward With VCU Interns

In a recent article in VCU News, Brian McNeill talks about how VCU graduates like IT4Causes founder Tom Anderson are helping the next crop of students get a leg up on full-time careers by offering internships to current VCU students.  IT4Causes currently has a total of eight interns, including 6 from VCU.  Read the whole article on VCU News.

internship fair

Tom Anderson at the VCU Work Study Fair in September 2016

 

Another successful internship – Michael Taylor

Over the summer, Michael Taylor, a student from J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College and a participant of Courage To Succeed from Charterhouse School, had the opportunity to intern with IT4Causes. Michael benefited from his internship both personally and professionally. He gained skills in web design and gained experience working within a professional organization, which is much different than simply doing assignments for school. He was able to work with clients and see his web design ideas put into practice. He was eager to learn from Tom and eager to master the tasks he was assigned.

Michael also grew in his social skills during this internship. He improved in his ability to greet Tom in the mornings and to stay on topic in conversation. He expressed gratitude for all of the time and assistance he got from Tom throughout the internship. By the end of the internship, Michael expressed sadness that it was over and wished the experience could continue! Michael was pleased to be offered the opportunity to continue to work with some of his clients on an as-needed basis under Tom’s supervision.

Michael recently wrote this about his internship experience:
“This summer I had an internship with IT4Causes I did very well. However I was not the only one with an internship as each summer everyone in C2S who is going to be partaking in classes the next semester has to have an internship.
This is about me however, in my internship I worked on websites in WordPress. I helped fix problems with the sites, as well as made improvements. I did so well that one of the clients of IT4Causes asked me to do maintenance on the site I worked on for his nonprofit! ….

You never know what will happen with an internship!

The Courage to Succeed program is a college and transition support program for young adults with neurological differences. This program is a part of Charterhouse School at the nonprofit UMFS. The goal of the program is to assist students in pursuit of their academic goals while also strengthening social skills, independent living skills, emotional well-being, community involvement and self-advocacy skills.

To learn more about this Courage to Succeed and how you can get involved, go to https://www.charterhouseschool.org/courage-to-succeed/.

Michael Taylor