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Giving Back - SIM Community Outreach
SIM Chapters across the nation are helping to fulfill an important part of the SIM mission by funding college scholarships, providing grants to technology training programs and making donations to various charitable causes. In fact, SIM Chapter cash contributions are approaching $500,000 annually to various community outreach efforts, according to Michael Brooks, Boston SIM VP and SIM National Director for Community Outreach.

In the first ever compilation of Chapter efforts at community outreach we learned that literally dozens of students pursuing IS-related courses of study benefit from local SIM Chapter funding and many more young people are being helped to enter the IT profession via Vocational-Technical schools and training programs such as YearUp. Cash contributions don’t stop there either as SIM Chapters are funding Teen Tech Camps, iFairs and the purchase of equipment for use by nonprofit organizations. In addition, SIM Chapters are funding programs such as Common Impact, Tech Bridge and NPower to help nonprofit community service providers learn how to more effectively employ technology to improve their operations and service delivery to their clients in the community.

According to Brooks, there is some consistency in the theme of SIM Outreach. "Most of the Chapter programs can be tied directly back to the promotion of careers in IT, including providing the opportunity to pursue IT careers for disadvantaged inner city youth and the promotion of programs designed to attract more women to the profession," Brooks said.

While the bulk of cash contributions tie back to technology, SIM Chapters are also supporting charitable causes such as the fights against cancer, juvenile diabetes, and autism, and supporting the arts and other worthwhile causes.

"I’m impressed by the scope and depth of the cash contributions made by the Chapters” said Brooks. "I had a sense that there were a lot of good things happening in the Chapters, but the extent of these efforts was a pleasant surprise.”  He went on to say, "As impressive as the funding is, what is truly impressive, and I believe what makes an even bigger impact, is the personal contribution of time by our members to act as mentors to young people entering the profession; to speak at vocational-tech schools; to consult with a nonprofit or even manage a technology implementation for a nonprofit. In addition, our members have convinced their employers to provide apprenticeship; or co-op opportunities which have had a major impact on the lives of so many young people.”

The next steps for Community Outreach now that a clear picture of what the Chapters are doing has been established is to learn how they are doing it and then capture and share the best practices with Chapters that are looking to start a new program.

"I think that we can learn from each other and perhaps leverage some aspects across the Chapters and have an even greater impact in the years to come," said Brooks.

Chapters will be asked to contribute their own community outreach efforts to the Outreach Playbook. This guide is already in the works can be found here.

May 2011

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