This is the cover image for the blog post Volunteer Spotlight: Michael Edwards.

Volunteer Spotlight: Michael Edwards

IT4Causes celebrates the work of outstanding volunteer, Michael Edwards.


This is an image of Michael Edwards.Photo © 2021 Michael Edwards. Used with permission of Mr. Edwards.

Although IT4Causes, Inc., celebrates the work of each of our 200+ volunteers who have made contributions to for-purpose organizations such as Virginia Interfaith Center, Senior Connections, and OAR, we, in this short piece, give special recognition to volunteer Michael Edwards (he/him). Michael is one of many volunteers who possess unique competencies such as Data Modeling, Business Analytics (requirements gathering), and Governance and Risk Management.

Since joining our team of volunteers, Michael has contributed more than 103 hours of his time to enable for-purpose organizations to continue supporting the Richmond community’s needs. His most significant contributions directly helped The Pace Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.

During the last quarter of 2020, Michael provided support to the Pace Center, using his capacity as a data modeler to identify the business needs and IT requirements of the Pace Center. The Pace Center (Pace), directed by Rev. Katie B. Gooch (she/her), strives to equip and empower students to listen deeply and respond lovingly to their community and God’s calling on their lives. Pace provides an infrastructure to help students connect with other students with the same interests and passions and collaborate to create activities and programs that help develop a community at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

In support of this mission, Michael, in collaboration with Pace Center volunteer, donor, and board member, Elizabeth Roderick brought valuable IT and database experience to the table. Together, Michael and Elizabeth jointly buy into the great work the Pace Center does to help VCU students and others identify their gifts, assets, and passions. More specifically, Michael and Elizabeth analyzed and tested Pace’s existing database and church management system to confirm its efficacy in supporting existing as well as new programs and applications.

Michael [Edwards] has extensive experience in mentoring young people, so he [can] offer some [critical] insights and tips about how we [as an organization] can be successful.” –Elizabeth Roderick, Pace Center Volunteer, Board Member, Donor

The Pace Center continues to work with IT4Causes to modify the system and ramp up for implementation during VCU’s Spring semester. Elizabeth describes Michael as “good with ‘big picture’ thinking as well as details.” According to Elizabeth, Michael has bought into the Pace Center’s mission and is now considered an integral part of the Pace family! “It was great to focus on the needs of the Pace Center with Michael instead of spending way too much time doom-scrolling and fixating on current events, such as the pandemic, the presidential election, and the final days of the current administration.”

IT4Causes is grateful for Michael’s work as a volunteer. Through this work, Michael has had the opportunity to contribute and hone skills as an information technology professional while giving back to the Richmond community.

We’ve Joined Club 501(c)3!

Approved

We are beyond excited to announce that our application for 501(c)3 status has been approved and we are officially a certified tax exempt organization.

We want to extend our gratitude to the members of our board; George Welch, Michael Pirron, and Terry Sherman.  And also thank Won-Suk Choi for his counsel on our legal matters, without which we may still be lost in a sea of applications. The combined effort of our board and volunteers along with the low-cost business model we presented to the IRS has earned us our official designation as Richmond’s premier 501c3 technology services provider.

What does this mean?

Nothing has changed in our services to the community, providing low-cost IT solutions to other nonprofits. Having 501(c)3 status allows IT4Causes to fundraise more efficiently. Now all past, current, and future donations can be considered as tax deductible. With nonprofit accreditation comes greater event and fundraising opportunities like involvement in The Amazing Raise and other nonprofit specific assistance.

What can you do?

Everything you are doing! Keep volunteering your time, skills, and support to IT4Causes and your community. If you are interested in becoming a part of the team as a volunteer helping Richmond area nonprofits with IT needs, assisting with marketing and branding, or other behind-the-scenes work, reach out to us at info@IT4Causes.org.

Partner Spotlight: The Beacon Tree Foundation

IT4Causes-SLider-BeaconTree
Beacon Tree was founded in 2008 by parents Tom and Diana Leahy who were motivated by their own children’s struggles with clinical depression. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with mental health which can make it hard for children to get the resources they need. For the parents who do get past the stigma, the mental health field can be very hard to navigate. However, with the right guidance and help from agencies like Beacon Tree, mental health can be treated effectively.  
 
“It’s scary because it has no shape, no color. You can’t mend it with a cast, or close it up with a suture. You can’t isolate it under a microscope or see it with a x-ray. It’s a ghost. And it’s a matrix of genetic predisposition, environmental triggers and harmful, even monstrous manifestations. The severity and breadth, from minor attention deficit disorder to severe depression and schizophrenia; from lack of productivity to mass murder and suicide. It’s messy and it’s ugly.”-Founder Tom Leahy
 
1 in 5 children in the United States suffer from a mental health disorder. A statistic like that can seem daunting, especially if you find yourself as a parent in this situation. Beacon Tree Foundation is dedicated to being an advocate for the family, providing support and financial resources to help children struggling with mental health issues.
 
IT4Causes has set up Beacon Tree’s Office 365 program and also currently working on their donor management system. In the future we will help them implement even more effective campaign management. For more information on Beacon Tree Foundation and their initiative please visit their website www.BeaconTree.org.

Meet our new intern Koren Dodd!

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A recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Koren studied Religious Studies with a certification in Community Development. Koren will be helping out as a nonprofit management intern, working on things like marketing and branding, events, business development and partner agency management. Koren and the other staff here at IT4Causes work hard to provide stable, secure, and sustainable information technology solutions that enable other nonprofit organizations to focus on their missions and serve their clients better, with lower total cost to their organization and the community.

“I’m super excited to be working with all the amazing people here at IT4Causes. I know this is a great opportunity to learn a conglomeration of skills and to learn more about nonprofits. I’m lucky to have gotten a position in a sector full of such passionate people. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!”

With over 600 volunteer hours, Koren has been giving back to the community for years but it wasn’t until she joined the ASPiRE program at VCU that she was inspired to work in the nonprofit sector. Congratulations on graduating and welcome to the staff, Koren!