Giving Tuesday: 7 cool tech charities MSPs should check out

Posted by Anne Campbell on Dec 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM

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Giving TuesdayNow that the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy is over (Hope you got some good deals!), it’s time for something a little different. Giving Tuesday is a tradition that started in 2012 as a day to celebrate and encourage giving back. For MSPs, it’s a chance to make a difference in the tech community, whether you’re doing it on behalf of your customers as a way of saying thank you or just as a feel-good way of getting into the holiday spirit. For example, Intronis is making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief in honor of our Partners this year.

There are, of course, a variety of local charities that would be worthy causes. For example, you could get you team together for a day of volunteering or donate some computers you no longer need to a local education program. But there are also a number of non-profits and tech charities around the country and around the world that are using technology in exciting ways, and they’re worth checking out in honor of Giving Tuesday. Here are seven of our favorites:

1. Code for America

This non-profit pairs local governments with 18 fellows who have taken a year off from their usual jobs at tech companies in order to develop digital solutions to help make government services simpler and more effective. The program has created more than 65 applications for 38 municipal governments, and they also support local volunteer Brigade chapters that come together for weekly hack nights.

2. Child’s Play

Dedicated to improving lives through the power of play, Child’s Play donates video games, toys, and books to children in more than 100 hospitals and domestic violence shelters worldwide. Since 2003, they’ve raised more than $35.7 million.

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3. FIRST

Most well-known for its robotics competitions, FIRST is a non-profit that aims to inspire students to become science and technology leaders by getting them involved in programs that help build science, technology, and engineering skills. In the 2015-2016 season alone, the organization estimates that more than 400,000 students will come together to build more than 37,000 robots.

4. Barefoot College

This NGO based in India trains women from remote parts of India and Africa to be solar engineers so they can bring electricity and clean water to their villages using solar panels and more. Roughly 500 grandmothers have been trained so far, and the program has brought electricity to more than 20,000 homes

5. Planetary Society

Are you a space geek at heart? Founded by Carl Sagan and headed up by CEO Bill Nye, the Planetary Society advocates for space exploration. The organization sponsors a variety of out-of-this-world projects including “scanning the skies for dangerous asteroids, hunting for Earthlike planets, searching for life in the Universe, advocating for needed science funding, and flying [their] very own solar sail spacecraft, Lightsail-1.” 

6. Code.org

This computer science education non-profit encourages children from all backgrounds to learn to code. They design interactive courses and provide teacher training, but the group’s highest profile initiative is the annual Hour of Code. This one-hour program is available online anytime and uses Star Wars- and Minecraft-themed tutorials to introduce students to computer science. So far, more than 138 million students have participated in the initiative.

7. KoBo Toolbox

Developed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, this non-profit has created a suite of free, open source tools for data collection in the field during humanitarian crises, such as natural disasters. The goal is to help make it possible to quickly collect more reliable information in order to more easily understand and assess the population’s most critical needs.

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