Thursday, June 20, 2013

$50,000 Technology Grant Now Open for Texas Nonprofits to Share their Digital Dreams

Aidmatrix Invites Texas Nonprofits to Share their Digital Dreams; Apply now for the Technology Innovation Award: Digital Makeover
Aidmatrix is now accepting applications for the 2nd-annual Technology Innovation Award: Digital Makeover, presented by Accenture, and with additional support from Microsoft and Avanade. The winning nonprofit will receive a Digital Makeover to help expand its reach in the community it serves. The Award will be granted to a Texas nonprofit that can effectively articulate the best vision for how it can take advantage of a Digital Makeover.

If you, or a nonprofit with which you work, have a compelling vision for improving your Digital presence, we want to hear from you. The winning organization will work with Aidmatrix to put its vision into action, and will receive an award for one of the following (based on winner's 

  •          New Website/Website Redesign
  •          Upgrade to HTML5
  •          Mobile Enable Your Website
  •          Socialize Your Website
  •          Stable and Secure Assessment

The grand-prize winner will also receive additional software donations from Microsoft and implementation support from Avanade, for a total prize package valued at more than $50,000. The runner up will receive Aidmatrix's Online Event Management tool to help them effectively manage fundraising events via a single online tool.

The deadline for submission is Monday, August 12, 2013 at 5pm CST. Three finalists will be selected in late September and will be invited to deliver a live presentation to the TIA Judging Panel at the Accenture offices. The grand-prize and runner-up organizations will each receive a pair of tickets to the Aidmatrix Digital Ball on November 2, 2013, where they will be announced before more than 700 guests in attendance. A representative from the grand-prize winning organization will be invited to receive the Award onstage.

For full details about the Technology Innovation Award: Digital Makeover prize offerings, please view the following document: Aidmatrix Digital Ball Technology Innovation Award: Digital Makeover

*Scope of the project is limited by the discretion of the Aidmatrix Development Team. Our Solution Architects will determine the ultimate range of work provided for the prize recipients.  

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

InterAction Forum 2013 - Drivers of Social Innovation

Drivers of Social Innovation

Contributed by Kyle Chang for InterAction
People often equate innovation solely with technological breakthroughs, but in reality, innovation goes far beyond that. Lisa Nitze of Mission Measurement, Scott McCallum of AidMatrix, Mirza Jahani of Aga Khan Foundation U.S.A., Daniel Brutto of UPS International and Gregory Wangerin of USA for UNHCR shared their thoughts with Forum 2013 attendees about innovation and the difficulties in achieving it.

Jahani argued that innovation includes any change in the status quo of how things are done. “Innovation is taking place all the time. It’s just not labeled [as such].” Wangerin took a similar stance, saying that innovation comes from everyone, not just managers and directors. He argued that field workers and those in need of aid are the ones “with their backs against the wall,” and that necessity is the mother of invention.
For Brutto, innovation means bettering supply chain efficiencies and sharing resources between the private and NGO sectors, despite their apparent differences in aim. Jahani added that both nonprofit and private sectors will have to tweak their mindsets in order to work together.

Nitze stressed the importance of NGO data to create a culture that supports innovation. “Telling a great story will no longer do” for inducing investment. NGOs need to measure their social impact so they can sell it to investors. With the right data, innovation is inevitable because of continuously smarter investment decisions, she contended.

Despite the consensus that innovation is important, people are still scared of being the first ones to change because of the risk of failure, McCallum said. Addressing this issue later, Nitze said that NGOs need to celebrate failure because it’s an “active part of moving forward.” Wangerin agreed that it is important for organizations to create a space to fail, learn and improve.

Read the full story here

Promoting Food Security in Disaster Relief Situations - DomPrep Journal

Read the full story authored by Aidmatrix President and CEO Gov. Scott McCallum in DomPrep Journal

Wed, June 19, 2013
In 2011, 14.9 percent of U.S. households (17.9 million households) were “food insecure,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s study, Household Food Security in the United States in 2011. Those numbers equate to slightly more than 50 million Americans living in food-insecure households: 33.5 million adults and almost 17 million children. Many of the families queried in the study rely on food provided by various charities to feed themselves. Unfortunately, the nation’s charitable food supply chain itself is one of the most complex nutrition delivery systems in the entire world.

These “supply chains of giving” are often the primary source of sustenance in the United States for more than 1 in 10 Americans and almost 1 in 4 children. This crucial food delivery supply chain, to many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, receives little financial investment, and today relies primarily on a combination of corporate philanthropy, nonprofit organizations, and dwindling government resources to ensure secure food delivery to those in need.

A Public-Private Effort – New Opportunities Available?
The U.S. network of food banks and their end-relief agency partners, such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters, receive food from many of the same sources – for example, corporate factories, distribution centers, etc. – patronized by large grocery stores. They also deal, though, with much more diverse supply sources; the U.S. Department of Agriculture is the prime example, but individual citizens also make some generous donations, and local food collection drives and store closeouts also help significantly. These charitable food banks and their partners do not, however, receive the same financial investments that their corporate counterparts do in terms of supply chain systems designed primarily to promote efficiency, security, and resiliency in their operations.

Experts from industry, government, and various charitable groups joined forces in 2001 to assess the supply chain network design. From these discussions, fortunately, a number of opportunities for improvement through the quick deployment and use of information systems were developed. As part of this effort, supply chain technologies are now reaching the populations in the last stages of the charitable supply chain. The impact of these changes and the corresponding data developed as a result has had a favorable effect on efficiency, resiliency, ability to sample, rapid-response capabilities, and ability to meet the immediate and continuing needs of the nation’s most vulnerable populations.

Earlier, though, in response to the issues threatening the safety of the food chain, a team of for-profit and nonprofit players – led by Feeding America®, a longtime domestic hunger-relief charity, and The Aidmatrix Foundation – joined forces in 2002 to create a set of online hunger relief solutions: DonorExpress™, AgencyExpress™, the Choice™ System, and Virtual Aid Drive™. This public-private partnership took highly sophisticated state-of-the-art technologies and applied them, in a modified form, to help humanitarian efforts throughout the country. Since their inception, these hunger relief solutions have helped facilitate the distribution of an estimated five billion pounds of food to humanitarian organizations throughout the United States.

Read the full article

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Reaching out to Moore, OK

May, 21st, 2013 – Moore once again found itself in the path of an EF-5 tornado, 14 years after the 1999 tornado. Twenty-one deaths were confirmed including 9 children. These are just some of the facts, but little can prepare one for the destruction left by such a powerful act of nature.

Numerous organizations launched their relief efforts to assist the survivors including our partners, Save the Children, Adventist Community Services and The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Aidmatrix deployed me after connecting with some of our partners and a new organization, Mercy Chefs, which ‘vetted’ me to work in Moore on Memorial Day and the following Tuesday.

Memorial Day, 6:45a – driving north on Interstate 35, everything looked normal as I passed Exit 116 heading to Exit 117 – 4th Street. As I approached, a dramatic line etched itself across the highway from west to east. South of the line - normalcy; north of the line - devastation. Six weeks after Katrina, I traveled to Biloxi and Gulfport, MS to assist in clean-up efforts; the graphic aftermath of natural disasters never jades one.

Turning west onto 4th Street, the remains of the Moore Medical Center with its exposed steel girders and destroyed vehicles caught my eye. West of the hospital, I located Southgate Baptist Church with Tyson Foods trailers in front and Mercy Chefs mobile kitchens in the back lot. Southgate hosted us and converted its gym into a warehouse providing donations to the community. On its front lawn, Mercy Hospital/OKC provided tetanus shots and minor wound care. 

For the next 1.5 days, 9 chefs – from Detroit and Virginia to Myrtle Beach and Texas - and approximately 20 volunteers from Kentucky, Texas and beyond prepped, served and delivered hot meals to survivors, volunteers and utilities workers.  Chefs Debbie Lowe and Kristin Macan facilitated meal planning with the other chefs and ordered the food supplies for three hot meals daily.

After preparing and serving Monday’s breakfast from our base, we drove into neighborhoods searching for hungry people cleaning up their property, some still living in their homes. Meanwhile volunteers prepped lunch and by mid-afternoon dinner prep began.

Day 2/2nd shift – prepping lunch and dinner included learning some knife skills from Chef Peter of Myrtle Beach and mixing two large tubs of sweet potatoes for dinner. I was also ‘biscuit lady’ in the serving line and assumed the role of teaching new volunteers the ropes.

After the lunch shift, I headed up I-35 to Hope 7-th Day Adventist Fellowship/Moore, connecting with warehouse facilitator, Julie Pullie. ACS (Adventist Community Services) has gained significant expertise in setting up warehouses after disasters and providing volunteers; they are a valued partner in our disaster response. I was provided a tour of their warehouse facilities and worked with Iba, a retired nurse, managing baby items for donation. Before leaving, a box of canned goods was loaded into my car for donation to the OKC food bank.

Heading north again, my last stop of the day was at The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City to connect with Steve Moran, Gina Ward and their team.  The food bank serves 53 counties in central and western Oklahoma including 1,000 community pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and schools. A day spent with this food bank in January 2012 included early morning deliveries to Regency Park Baptist Church, Moore Community Center and a food & clothing pantry; with this previous introduction to Moore, the 2013 tornado compelled me to return.

Steve warmly greeted me and spoke about their distribution efforts in Moore. From their website, “The Regional Food Bank has opened a Disaster Relief Distribution Center at 2635 North Shields in Moore, OK. The Distribution Center's phone number is 405-600-3182”.  Recently Southgate Baptist Church contacted me preparing to close their warehouse and wanted to donate non-perishable food to the food bank. With a call to Steve, he graciously agreed to reach out to them and assist.

Natural disasters devastate communities and change lives forever. However, such events also provide opportunities for much-needed outreach. Over two days, I was privileged to ‘love on’ members of the Moore community and partner with local volunteers as well as those who’d traveled a great distance. I was thanked continuously by those we served, but I was the beneficiary of my time spent there. Memorial Day 2013 will not be forgotten, and look forward to returning to Moore as it rebuilds again.

Charlotte Medley
Aidmatrix Program Specialist