While no business has been able to escape the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus, Delaware’s non-profit community has been hit hard, with the state’s leading nonprofit association estimating the sector will experience $100 million in lost revenue between now and May 15th, the current date set by the Governor to reopen nonessential businesses.
The Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement reports that virtually all nonprofits are reporting a disruption in service to some of the state’s neediest clients, and more than half have laid off employees.
DANA released startling figures today based on an impact survey taken last week which revealed:
- 86% indicated a high to medium probability services to their clients would be disrupted
- 65% overall announced pending layoffs
- 39% needed access to IT hardware and 42% needed software support for virtual work
Acting quickly to merge the needs of nonprofits with foundations and private sector businesses able to help, DANA has directed many nonprofits to NERDiT NOW, who will supply about 150 refurbished computers to nonprofit organizations over the course of two weeks.
Jake Voorhees, managing director at NERDiT NOW, says “people have been screaming” for computers and monitors in order to work from home and maintain productivity. So his computer business on Kirkwood Highway was ready to step in to help.
“Virtually all of their (nonprofit) projects have been dismantled and derailed. And so everybody is looking to be a part of some sort of impact and just provide help to people who need it,” he said.
Sparked by a $75,000 contribution from longtime partner Discover Bank and a generous contribution from Philanthropy Delaware, NERDiT NOW was able to determine the tech needs of several nonprofits, and in a matter of days they worked to refurbish dozens of desktops, laptops and monitors.
Depending on the tech needs of the user, some nonprofit employees will be provided more advanced computers while others whose needs are essentially email and the internet will receive less sophisticated models.
Strive: How you lead matters was one of many lucky recipients of new computers this week. “We’re grateful that this program was launched so quickly — in a matter of days. Our team is much better equipped to continue our work,” said Strive Executive Director Andrea Valentine. “They all have the processing speed that will allow us to do video editing — a capability that’s especially important right now given that so much content is being delivered and consumed online.”
NERDiT NOW founder Markevis Gideon describes the computers: “The laptops, they all come with webcams, of course. Some have full number pads, some are fancy with the touchscreen, and all of them have 500 gig hard drives, eight gigabytes around. We’ve just tried to make sure it’s the best that we could possibly get with the limited time constraints that we had.”
About 75 computers will be donated this week, with another 75 next week to organizations such as:
- Read Aloud Delaware
- Police Athletic Association of DE
- La Esperanza Inc
- Latin American Community Center
- Greater Lewes Community Village
- Planned Parenthood
- Girls, Inc.
- Catholic Charities
- Jewish Family Services
“We didn’t really see any of this coming. But it’s been a big chain reaction and it’s kind of snowballed,” said Voorhees.
Gideon says their goal is to do some additional fundraising and ultimately donate up to 400 computers to additional nonprofits and students at home who may not have technology or access to the internet.
Noting that twenty-five percent of residents in Wilmington do not have access to a computer or smart device, the local tech and computer repair company recently launched their own 501(C)(3).
“Before we even started this business we’ve always had the passion to donate technology back into the community,” said Gideon. “But now to be able to do it to this magnitude is so fulfilling for us. To know that we went from donating typically 100 in a year to almost 100 in just one day — that right there feels great,” said Gideon.