Donations and Skilled IT Workers Urgently Needed to Support RVA Nonprofits

Our local nonprofit community needs our help more than ever, and IT4Causes is helping these organizations get and use the technology they need to remain effective while working remotely. As the COVID-19 crisis continues and their needs increase, we are starting to feel the strain on our resources, and we need your help to support them during this time of rapid change.

How you can help

  • We are currently seeking a seasoned Cisco Firewall/VPN Consultant for a client running AnyConnect VPN on Cisco 5506 ASA who keeps experiencing partial failures that block their access to files. Volunteer Now!
  • We are seeking donations for the following requirements:
    • Splashtop SOS licenses to remotely manage iPhone issues – $170/yr/license after 15% nonprofit discount
  • Rescue Assist licenses – Remote control for Windows/Mac/Android – $330/agent/year (2 licenses)
  • We also need donations to support our COVID-19 Response Center. Your donation supplies the following:
    • $21.00 buys 1 day (5 hours) of ECPI intern, It costs so little to us because ECPI pays much of their cost through the federal work study program, but they add a LOT of value for basic IT tasks.  We currently have 3 ECPI students who work 25 hrs/wk each.
    • $120 pays for 1 day of IT4Causes staff during our daily COVID-19 Response Center call (2 staff @ $60/hr)
    • $75 covers the cost of 1 used laptop PC that we can deploy to an agency to allow 1 worker to work remotely (add $59 for Windows Pro and Office 2019 Standard at Microsoft nonprofit rates)

We hope you’ll consider supporting IT4Causes as we face this crisis together with the RVA nonprofit community! So please, Donate Now!

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Avoid COVID-19 Cyber Scams!

Organizations are relying on telecommuting and teleworking in order to continue operations while simultaneously helping contain the spread of COVID-19. Phishing attacks-collections of personal and/or financial information from individuals posing as representatives of a legitimate organization-are popping up; as the COVID-19 virus continues to affect communities nationwide, scams in the form of charitable solicitations for those affected are being reported. Below are some tips for defending against cyber scams:

  • Do not click on links or attachments in suspicious emails
  • Do not provide personal or financial information via email
  • Do not respond to suspicious emails
  • Check frequently for updates to your software and operating system
  • Review requirements for creating, using and changing passwords used to access devices and networks.
  • Use government websites for information and updates about COVID-19
  • Alert your organization’s network administrators and other appropriate personnel immediately if you suspect security breaches.
  • Check the validity of any charity asking for donations (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity)

Additional Resources

IT4Causes offers assistance to local nonprofits to deal with Coronavirus impacts

Given the current coronavirus situation, your nonprofit organization will likely need to make some changes to how you work.  We at IT4Causes stand ready to help nonprofits in the greater Richmond, VA area* use technology to lessen the impact of closed offices or self-isolation of individual workers.  We’ve been closely following the situation and working with our staff, board, and volunteers to identify effective, low-cost strategies to supplement your current technology footprint and increase productivity of remote work.  We’ve identified several tools that we can quickly deploy, and are mobilizing our staff, interns, and skilled IT volunteers to help you continue to meet your mission in these challenging times.  Some available options include:

  • Implementing remote desktop solutions
  • Setting up users with laptops (we have access to a limited supply of used equipment for minimal cost)
  • Teleconferencing and videoconferencing tools
  • Access to inexpensive hotspot solutions for workers without adequate bandwidth in the homes
  • Increasing training on Office 365 collaboration tools
  • Remote help desk options
  • Transitioning client interaction experiences to virtual
  • Transitioning group experiences like meetings, events, and conferences to online
  • Procedures for limiting exposure when using shared equipment
  • Reviewing, enhancing, and assisting with implementing emergency response plans
  • Discussing other situations and brainstorming solutions to keep your team moving

We have also established a “Command Center” that leverages Agile best practices to triage requests for assistance and get them assigned to appropriate volunteers quickly, with appropriate follow-up to ensure your needs are met.

Please contact us at COVID-response@it4causes.org to let us know what you need for your organization to continue to do your good work in these challenging times.  Please include phone contact as well as email so we can provide the best service to your organization.

You can also look at this resource guide from TechSoup, one of our long-term partners in delivering cost effective technology to RVA nonprofits.  There are a lot of options and ideas listed, and we stand ready to help your nonprofit chose and implement the best ones for your specific circumstances.

We will be putting in extra hours over the weekend and coming days, so please reach out anytime and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.

Take care,

Tom Anderson

CEO, IT4Causes

*We define “greater Richmond VA” or RVA as any location within a 45-minute drive of downtown Richmond.  We are willing to consider requests from nonprofit agencies outside this area on a case-by-case basis if we have sufficient resources.

Skilled IT Volunteers Needed to Assist Local Nonprofits with COVID-19 Response

Based on the current State of Emergency in both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States as a whole, IT4Causes is assembling a team of current, past, and new skilled IT volunteers to help nonprofits in the greater Richmond VA area continuing to fulfill their missions in rapidly evolving circumstances. To best serve the community, local agencies will need to rapidly shift to remote work, distance learning, and service delivery with less direct human contact. We believe that technology can play a major role in addressing this crisis, and we continue to build a comprehensive list of resources and products that can help nonprofits accomplish their work in a new environment. But in order to best serve those who serve others, we need skilled IT volunteers to step up and take on byte-sized tasks to quickly deliver meaningful solutions to real-world problems.
Most of our volunteer services will be delivered remotely, and are being coordinated with a command center approach using agile best practices.
Skill sets sought:

  • Office 365 setup, administration, and training, especially
    • Microsoft Teams for collaboration and meetings
  • Remote work & collaboration tools & best practices
  • Network configuration and security, especially VPNs
  • Telecomm setup, especially using mobile devices to accept and place calls from agency landline/VOIP numbers
  • Virtualization of small group experiences, including meetings and events
  • Virtualization of large group experiences such as conferences
  • Virtualization of customer service experiences, including call centers and telehealth
  • Command Center operations

If you are willing and able to use your IT skills to serve your community in this time of need, please let us know!

  • If you are a current or past volunteer and have previously completed our Volunteer Application, please update your contact info and let us know your availability by completing the COVID-19 Response form.
  • If you haven’t previously completed our Volunteer Application, please do so, and then complete the COVID-19 Response form as well.

Thank you so much, and take care!

IT4Casues Recieves $20,000 Grant to Support Workforce Development

RICHMOND,VA—IT4Causes, Inc. continues to make a lasting impact on local non-profits, and we aren’t the only ones who have taken notice. Because of the tremendous work that IT4Causes is doing, the Community Foundation for a Greater Richmond has awarded IT4Causes a $20,000 grant to expand workforce development in the local community through our internship program.

These grant funds will enable IT4Causes to support the educational and experiential growth of our student interns and volunteers. Specifically, students and interns from low-moderate income backgrounds who historically face employment barriers will now be able to engage information technology in positive ways. This grant will allow volunteers and interns access to valuable resources that will assist them in building experience, professional networks, and soft skills. And we hope that these resources will provide them more access to better, higher-paying jobs in the IT industry.

As of July, IT4Causes engages students in a variety of ways because of this grant. A few highlights of our implemented plan include:

  1. Hiring students eligible for Federal Work-Study (FWS) from local schools such as the University of Richmond, ECPI, Innsbrook, and Virginia Commonwealth University
  2. Engaging the interns in meaningful work experience on projects organized by IT4Causes and at our help desk service at Networking and Technology Solutions (NTS, and
  3. Supplementing their hands-on learning with soft skills development programs and networking opportunities with IT professionals from our volunteer pool.

Relying heavily on students and interns that study IT related fields allows IT4Causes to provide IT services to our non-profit partners for lower costs. We are a proud supporter of these individuals’ academic and professional growth, and we hope to continue our engagement in positive, meaningful ways.

IT4Causes Now Offers 24×7 Support Service

RICHMOND,VA—IT4Causes is no stranger to information technology support for non-profits. For five years, we have been providing assessments and solutions to small to mid-sized non-profit organizations in the local RVA area. As we continue to uphold our commitment to #BetterITforaBetterWorld, we are proud to announce a new partnership with Networking Technology Solutions (NTS) in Midlothian that allows us to offer 24×7 help desk services to non-profits at a special non-profit price.

This partnership, made through the ongoing support of NTS, a leading managed IT, service provider. NTS delivers an extensive range of IT solutions, including network infrastructure solutions, managed services and monitoring, and mobile device management from NTS Network Operations Center located within their headquarters. IT4Causes clients can now leverage 24×7 support through NTS. This service leverages NTS’s expertise while also offering career development opportunities for our interns, who will support this service with hourly commitments each week.

“It’s a tremendous partnership,” said IT4Causes CEO Tom Anderson, “because the interns will gain hands-on experience dealing with real-world customers while having the ability to access seasoned IT pros when they encounter issues that are beyond their current level of knowledge.”

IT4Causes strives to continue to provide long term IT solutions and support to our non-profit clients and other local non-profit organizations. This new partnership and service is just one way that we’re extending our support beyond our traditional methods.

For more information, please contact the CEO & Founder, Tom Anderson.

IT4Causes is Turning 5

RICHMOND,VA—IT’S BEEN 5 YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL KICKING!

Because many small businesses do not successfully make it to 5 years, we are delighted to announce that IT4Causes is still here, operating stronger than ever. When IT4Causes incorporated in October 2014, we did so to make a positive impact through IT solutions. Five years later, we could not be prouder of the tremendous support that we have been able to provide to local nonprofits! We are also extremely grateful for the ways we have, with the help of our outstanding networks, been able to engage and motivate community members to #MakeAnImpact.

Using our fractional IT Leadership model, IT4Causes will continue to provide strategic IT direction, tactical project execution, and now 24/7 help desk support to “for-purpose” organizations of all sizes in and around the local RVA area. And of course, we will continue to leverage our accumulated knowledge of IT for nonprofits to provide our clients with best-in-class products and solutions.As IT4Causes moves into its next year, we will continue our mission of providing exceptional IT support to other nonprofits. We will also continue to offer our services for a fraction of the cost of services in the commercial market.

Because we are very appreciative and fortunate to have such a large and involved volunteer base, we will continue our engagement with skilled industry professionals, student interns, and other volunteers, providing opportunities that enrich networks and build practical IT skills. We also hope to strengthen our partnerships with new clients like SOAR365, the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club, and Capital Trees, as well as with our long-term partners such as Partnership For Families, Art180, and CA Human Services.

Our growth and successful operation have been made possible by the support of our amazing volunteers, our board of directors, our clients, interns, donors, and the many other stakeholders and supporters that are and have been rooting for IT4Causes. Join us at our #Tech4All4.0* to help us celebrate, show your support, and see just how big of an impact we are making!

*There are still a few sponsorship opportunities open for Tech4All 4.0, please contact us if you’d like to help us celebrate our past and support our future!

Client Spotlight: Gateway Homes

*Images Courtesy of Gateway Homes*


RICHMOND, VA–At IT4Causes, our goal is 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 and more efficient operation. We’re honored to partner with our clients to empower them in their efforts to support and nurture our local community.

Our partner spotlight posts highlight the wide range of agencies we engage with, covering their mission and what makes them stand out in our community, and how IT4Causes has helped to alleviate IT roadblocks and distractions.

In this post, we focus on the important work our partner, Gateway Homes, is doing to support adults with serious mental illnesses in our community.

What is the mission and purpose of Gateway Homes?The vision of Gateway Homes is to make recovery a reality for adults with mental illness. Gateway Homes provides a critical resource for this group by offering a transitional residential treatment program for adults with mental illness who are striving for independence.

What is the primary community your agency serves and how do you support this community? We support adults diagnosed with illnesses like Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Depression. Our goal is to help individuals learn daily living skills that will help them focus on their recovery and reach their full potential of living independently in the community. Our programs offer wrap-around services to our clients using means such as case management and mental health clinicians, direct support staff, a psychiatrist, individual therapists, a nurse practitioner, a dietician, an occupational therapist, and peer support.

How successful would you say your efforts in this community have been? Over the last 30 years, we’ve achieved a success rate of over 90% supporting and fostering these individuals. We measure this by our residents’ success in transitioning through the program and moving out into the community to live independently. Our top priority is for each resident to reach their individual level of recovery and independence. Keeping our mission and vision in the forefront of what we do each day helps us succeed and continue to provide value to our residents and the community.

How does IT4Causes aid in your completion of your work? IT4Causes is moving us into the 21st century, helping us make sure we have the right IT tools in place to ensure we are able to complete our jobs as effectively as possible. With the guidance of IT4Causes, we’re taking the time to assess our technology needs and upgrade wherever possible. Furthermore, we’ll be checking our processes and technology for HIPAA compliance and overall security. All of these efforts will help Gateway Homes obtain top performance!

Dave Williams named 2018 Volunteer of the Year

RICHMOND, Virginia—We recently announced our 2018 Volunteers of the Year for the Retiree category (Bob Parker) and the Job Seeker category (David Crighton), and now we’d like to announce one final Volunteer of the Year, Dave Williams, in the Corporate category. Dave currently works as a cloud architect where he helps clients migrate files to public clouds such as Azure and AWS. With his skills and knowledge, Dave provided expert help to a number of IT4Causes’s clients. Currently working for New Light Technologies, we are fortunate for the time that Dave has contributed to #ITForABetterWorld.

When we asked Dave what inspired him to join IT4Causes, he answered in a “love-at-first-sight” response: “Once I met Tom, his staff, and understood his mission, I knew it would be a good fit.” Dave’s technical skills and availability through the pro bono program at Impact Makers allowed him to contribute over 75 hours as he worked continuously “with Tom to make significant IT changes for the non-profit clients, at very low costs.”

Dave’s role allowed him to provide non-profits with information about quality products. “We were able to advise them on services that they may not have known were available (e.g., $5K Azure credits from MS),” he said. Helping to develop the roadmap for moving traditional on-premise services (e.g., Outlook) to the cloud (Office 365), Dave was an asset to the IT4Causes team and the clients he served.

“At a high level we were able to decommission old infrastructure that resided in on-premise, in their closets and small data centers,” Dave said when asked about his impact, “this equipment was often past the end of life and the organization did not know how to manage it.  By moving the core IT services to the cloud, we removed the local IT management burden from the organization, while providing them superior capabilities, often at no cost due to MS’s non-profit credits.”

Dave’s commitment to service is one of many reasons why he is a recipient of our volunteer of the year award. According to Dave, there are three steps to becoming a volunteer of the year: “volunteer often, don’t be afraid of not knowing, and treat IT4Causes’ clients as you would your normal paying clients.” Dave’s volunteerism principles serve at the foundation of everything that IT4Causes seeks to promote.

We want our volunteers and interns to be as engaged as possible, keeping in mind personal and professional schedules. We actively seek to educate new volunteers in a collaborative and innovative way that allows connection to industry level professionals, and we treat our non-profits clients with the highest level of respect. These principles are what made Dave appreciate his time at IT4Causes.

Finding pleasure in his experience, Dave closed his interview with: “the best part of working with IT4Causes has been getting to know Tom and IT4Causes’ clients,” and we are so happy that Dave could be part of our mission!

If you would like to join our mission of #BetterITForABetterWorld, please do not hesitate to reach out to our volunteer manager.

 

 

Introducing Our New Bonner Scholar Interns

RICHMOND, Va–Last year, in partnership with the University of Richmond’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, IT4Causes welcomed 2 new interns, Will Walker, and Abhishek Shilpakar. A year later, we are pleased to announce the addition of two more Bonner Scholars*, Jannette You and Tom Lee.

Jannette, a freshman, plans to major in Business Administration, with a concentration in Business Analytics. As a graduate of Mount Hebron High school, Jannette wants to explore her interest in international business., as well as management, consulting and entrepreneurship, in hopes of becoming an international business consultant and business owner. She is very excited to join us, and she’s looking forward to accomplishing many goals during her tenure with IT4Causes.

In her free time, Jannette enjoys playing tennis, volunteering, and learning more about different cultures. On weekends, you can find her in one of 900+ RVA restaurants trying new cuisines. Jannette is also involved with Finance Society where she is the vice president of outreach and manages mock investment portfolios for over 50 students. For this upcoming semester, she will be joining a sorority as well.

At IT4Causes, Jannette hopes to explore her interests in management and expand her knowledge about information technology. For now, she will be helping us with event planning as well as improving her skills in bookkeeping and other finance-related topics. Joining our team as a non-profit management intern, we are excited to share some great opportunities with her so that she can accomplish her personal goals.

Tom Lee, a freshman, also plans to study business administration with a minor in leadership studies. Joining our intern community from Hillsborough, NJ, he hopes to explore “things to do” in the business world. Understanding the importance of IT, he was drawn to IT4Causes because of our commitment to providing low-cost services to other non-profits.

Outside of academic commitments, Tom has a passion for outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, biking, and swimming. At the University of Richmond, Tom is a member of the club water polo and golf teams as well as a member of GreenUR. He also enjoys playing many different kinds of sports such as squash, water polo, and basketball.

In his role as a  Business Development Intern, Tom hopes to learn many different business skills as well as some information technology skills. In addition, he hopes to learn as much as he can about IT4Causes and our business model and other organizational practices. Tom wants to provide as much support as he can to IT4Causes and the Richmond community as a whole.

Connecting us with passionate students who care a great deal about the non-profit community and information technology, we are proud of our long-term partnership with the University of Richmond and UR’s Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.

*The Bonner Scholars Program is a prestigious honor that is bestowed upon 25 students of each incoming class at the University of Richmond. These students commit at least 10 hours a week to a non-profit organization in the city of Richmond. Bonner Scholars spend a semester exploring many different organizations, and they apply to them in late December. Selecting their best fit organizations, Bonners commit for 3.5 years, allowing them the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and meaningful connection.