Volunteer and Donor Impact
Spring2ACTion Sparked Chain of Contributions to Get Students Online
March 15, 2021
Sponsors, donors, and volunteers aligned to get students back in class quickly during 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 pandemic. “Computers Into Hands” became our mission!
Looking back at the 2020 race to move classes online during the onset of COVID, it became clear how five key Alexandria connections, each starting with 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 dug out a stack of old desktops and laptops. Amazingly, he fixed them—convincing us to break the myth that our students didn’t want desktop computers. Garrett effectively reopened the pipeline to significant donations and distribution of computer equipment.
- John Siegel of Columbia Capital in Alexandria, made a surprise $2,500 donation to CORE’s Spring2ACTion campaign as a brand new individual donor. A follow-up 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 in need, following Microsoft Third Party Refurbisher license guidelines.
The funding generated though the Spring2ACTion online giving campaign allowed us to quickly pivot to this new and all-important objective. Initially we used the funds to buy refurbished computers, until establishing a steady stream of donations for in-house refurbishment.
We met our students one by one in the parking lot outside our office and handed them free laptops they could keep for the purpose of accessing online learning as well as a variety of pandemic-related social supports. Often this was life changing for students and their families.
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 this year’s campaign!