Volunteer and Donor Impact
Spring2ACTion Sparked Chain of Contributions to Get Students Online
February 20, 2021
Sponsor, donor, and volunteer actions aligned to quickly get students into online classes at the onset of COVID-19. L-R are Patience, Lonnie, Garrett, and Getnet.
Computer CORE’s Spring2ACTion campaign in April 2020 focused on the immediate need of getting computers into the hands of our adult students as quickly as possible after in-person classes were paused due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking back at the race to move classes online, it became clear how five key Alexandria connections sparked by the city-wide day of giving, Spring2ACTion, came together to support this new imperative.
- Mason Hirst Foundation in Alexandria, committed to an early matching grant for $3,000 providing important first steps in support of Computer CORE’s goal.
- Garrett Bliss, an Alexandria middle school student who wanted to renovate computers and give them to people in need, contacted our office to volunteer. Our old computers were past help and nobody wanted them, or so we thought, but Garrett persisted until we finally dug out a stack of old desktops and laptops. Amazingly, he fixed them, and students eagerly accepted them—convincing us to break the myth that our students didn’t want desktop computers. Garrett effectively reopened the pipeline to significant donations and the resulting distribution of computer equipment to students in need.
- John Siegel of Columbia Capital in Alexandria, made a substantial surprise contribution to CORE’s Spring2ACTion campaign as a brand new individual donor. A followup call to John indicated that our computer giveaway mission resonated with him. He challenged us to quantify how many computers we needed and to “think big.” John played an integral role assisting us to reach our initial goal and continue to raise the bar.
- Transurban CityLink Washington Area made a generous in-kind donation of 20 high quality laptops allowing us to equip two classrooms, replacing the previous desktops that had been delivered into the hands of students since our transition to virtual learning.
- New volunteer Lonnie Henley, a retired computer hobbyist from Alexandria, joined CORE as Lead Refurbisher and single-handedly repaired over 300 more computers for our students by the end of 2020. Lonnie also began building a refurbishment team and is continuing to prepare computers for distribution to students, following Microsoft Third Party Refurbisher licensing guidelines.
The funding generated though the Spring2ACTion online giving campaign allowed us to quickly pivot to this new and all-important objective. We used funds raised to initially buy used equipment for distribution to students, until establishing a steady stream of incoming computer donations for in-house refurbishment. Funds also go toward the cost of maintaining our increased level of refurbishment.
We met our students one by one in the parking lot outside of our office and handed them free laptops they could keep, opening up their access to online learning and a variety of pandemic related social supports. Often this was life changing for students and their families. We saw this reflected in the faces of our students as they picked up their computers, and as they showed up in virtual classes month after month to increase their technical skills and job opportunities.
In a year of shortages, isolation, and distance—we thank so many who reached out with innovation, hope, and caring.
Spring2ACTion begins each April, stay tuned for details about the next Spring2ACTion!