SBC Foundation Funds EAST Initiative Efforts to Deliver Online Training


SBC Foundation Funds EAST Initiative Efforts to Deliver Online Training
8/12/2013 3:58:21 PM

Furthering its commitment to helping strengthen nonprofits that serve people of all backgrounds and needs, the SBC Foundation - the philanthropic arm of SBC Communications Inc. - today announced that it has awarded an SBC Excelerator technology grant of $23,250 to the nonprofit EAST Initiative.


SBC Excelerator Grant Helps Meet Mission via Enhanced Technology Resources

Furthering its commitment to helping strengthen nonprofits that serve people of all backgrounds and needs, the SBC Foundation - the philanthropic arm of SBC Communications Inc. - today announced that it has awarded an SBC Excelerator technology grant of $23,250 to the nonprofit EAST Initiative. EAST Initiative, with headquarters in Little Rock, provides technical services, training, and other resources to more than 10,000 students and educators in 214 schools in Arkansas and five other states.

SBC Excelerator is a major philanthropic initiative that connects the nation's neediest residents, including at-risk youth and underserved urban families, to important community resources. The program also empowers nonprofits to use technology to expand the reach of services and to heighten the impact those services have on people in the community.

"EAST Initiative is about empowering schools and their students to change lives and communities," said Bill Dirst, EAST communications director. "This grant will enable the creation of the EAST Learning Portal, providing a cost effective way to deliver quality interactive Web-based training to a larger number of students and educators. Not only will we provide live training, we'll also be able to record and archive training sessions so that they can be accessed on demand, 24-7. This will eliminate some of the costs for schools in sending students to training while making the training accessible to all of our students."

"Arkansas' nonprofit organizations make a profound difference in our communities and in the lives of people across the country," said Ed Drilling, SBC Arkansas president. "The EAST Initiative is an excellent example of the power of technology to enhance education, as well as to transform the way nonprofits deliver their services. Last year, Arkansas organizations received nearly $1 million in combined contributions from our company, our foundation and our employees. We are pleased to carry on that tradition of community involvement and leadership with this Excelerator grant to the EAST Initiative."

The SBC Foundation provided $6 million in 2005 SBC Excelerator competitive grants to 513 nonprofit organizations throughout the SBC 13-state region. The competitive grant program is part of an overall $7 million 2005 SBC Excelerator initiative. Now in its fourth year, SBC Excelerator has provided $33 million to more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations around the country to build stronger communities and improve lives through technology infrastructure and service enhancements.

With the development of new applications, nonprofits are finding innovative ways to employ technology to meet their missions, such as distance learning, the digitization of museum collections and telemedicine. But ideas often outpace resources, with many of these organizations facing technological limitations on a daily basis.

SBC Excelerator technology grants are designed to address the shortfall by providing the funding needed for critical infrastructure, such as communications systems, computer networks, client management databases and Internet access.

Ron Dedman, SBC Arkansas external affairs director, also commended state Sen. Jim Argue for his commitment to and support of local nonprofits in delivering community services.

Sen. Argue said, "Through my work in public office and my career as a nonprofit executive, I've seen time and again the tremendous value of collaboration between government, nonprofits and the business community. When you see the work of these nonprofits up close as I have, you are immediately reminded of the critical role that technology plays in improving their capacity to serve and in improving the quality of life for those they serve."

The stability of a nonprofit's technology infrastructure can make a dramatic difference in the quality of service they are able to provide, according to Scott Schaffer, executive director of NPower, a national network of nonprofit organizations that help other nonprofits use technology to better serve their communities.

"As nonprofits become more familiar with the possibilities that technology offers them, we are seeing more creative ways of using it as a service delivery tool across all sectors," Schaffer said. "One idea tends to lead to another."

To further spur ideas, NPower has produced a series of white papers highlighting technology innovation in four nonprofit sectors: arts and culture, health and human services, education and community development. Available for downloading, at, each Technology Guide for Nonprofits aims to explain the possibilities of technology and to provide nonprofit leaders with real-world examples demonstrating that potential.

The 2005 SBC Excelerator grants provide nonprofit organizations with the necessary tools to better equip the communities they serve through:

  • Interactive, Web-based applications that support activities such as service delivery, volunteer recruiting and e-fundraising.

  • Technology training programs for nonprofit staff members.

  • High-speed access to the Internet and e-mail.

  • Network connectivity enabling easy sharing of database applications and information systems.

Earlier this year, the SBC Foundation announced two $500,000 national SBC Excelerator grants to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and to The OASIS Institute.

  • The USHCC Foundation received a $500,000 SBC Excelerator grant to support the creation of 20 Casa Cyber Community Technology Centers - community-based small-business incubation centers operated in conjunction with local Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

  • The OASIS Institute received $500,000 in SBC Excelerator funds to support a new project for mature adults who want or need to continue working in productive roles beyond the traditional retirement age. In 13 cities across the United States, adults will be able to update their technology skills for the workplace, as well as to update their job-search skills in order to take advantage of the many employment resources available online and in the community.

Overall in 2005, the SBC Foundation distributed more than $7 million in SBC Excelerator grants to community-based organizations. The SBC Excelerator program is the largest special grants program ever undertaken by the SBC Foundation, one of the top corporate foundations in the nation, according to The Foundation Center. Since 1984, SBC Communications and the SBC Foundation have contributed more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations across the country.

The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc. The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Foundation Center has consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation's top fifteen corporate foundations. In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities. For more information, visit

SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 52 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation's leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at


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