Why ‘Code Your Art Out’ for Nonprofits?

By: Julia Stowell, March 11, 2011

Why ‘Code Your Art Out’ for Nonprofits?

At TechSoup Canada we are constantly working to connect nonprofits with the tools, knowledge, training and talent they need to use technology effectively in achieving their mission. We spend a lot of time thinking about the reasons why nonprofits aren’t always using technology effectively – cost is a major factor but certainly not the only one. The work of developers has already made a significant contribution by giving nonprofits access to excellent open source software and donated commercial products. This contest is your chance to take your contribution one step further and work on a solution that will both benefit a specific nonprofit and have the potential to be used by other organizations as well.

I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you “it’s for a good cause” and leaving it at that…  I’ll let the nonprofits of our three featured projects speak for themselves:

Frontline Partners with Youth Network (FPYN) is a network of people working directly with youth across sectors and the GTA. It emerged in December 2005, when a group of frontline workers came together to support each other in dealing with the effects of gun violence. Since then, the network has continued to grow as an expression of the heartfelt need among frontline workers to connect with each other – there are over 1200 people signed up for our newsletter. At the core of our network is a bold, real, innovative, and dedicated group of people working from an anti-oppression framework directly with youth. Our network strives to continuously recognize the link between systemic oppression and the violence that initially brought us together in all that we do.

Our mission is to connect frontline workers to heal, learn and work for change. FPYN ensures that frontline workers, as community healers and builders, are able to access systems support and training, reflection and advocacy, and information/resource sharing. The network has also developed and will continue to develop resources specific to responding to the grief and trauma frontline workers face on a regular basis. FPYN continues to evolve and develop through supporting the energy, interests and passion of frontline workers to heal ourselves and to make systemic changes.

The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to improving patient outcomes by increasing public awareness of colorectal cancer, providing patient support and advocating for equal access to screening and effective treatments for all. It was founded in 1998 as a federally-chartered national non-profit association when a group of dedicated medical professionals joined colorectal cancer survivors to create a national organization.

The CCAC carries out a wide variety of awareness and education events throughout the year to increase the profile of colorectal cancer in Canada and educate the public. We participate in health forums and conferences, distribute educational material, hold free information sessions, and produce public service announcements for television, radio and print. As a patient-based organization, we understand the needs of those diagnosed with colorectal cancer and their families. Compassion, knowledge and understanding are offered through support groups across the country, connecting patients, survivors, and caregivers. The CCAC also works to inform key decision-makers of the two biggest concerns for colorectal cancer prevention and care in Canada: nation-wide screening and patient access to effective medical treatments. The CCAC interacts with politicians and officials through roundtable discussions, press conferences, and educational events to promote effective policy. As issues evolve, the CCAC remains at the forefront making sure patients’ needs are heard.

The Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils (OSAC) is a nonprofit provincial cultural organization that facilitates touring between professional Visual, Media and Performing artists and a network of nearly 50 volunteer arts councils throughout rural as well as urban Saskatchewan. OSAC was founded in 1968 by a group of volunteers representing 8 arts councils in the province.

Across Saskatchewan, OSAC brings people and the arts together by acting as an umbrella for community arts councils and schools across the province.. In more than 80 towns and cities, local arts councils and schools are keeping the arts alive. Thanks to their efforts, those communities enjoy live musical and theatre performances, visual art exhibitions, workshops and special events. On an annual basis, 15 exhibitions tour to over 100 venues and 250 performances are enjoyed by a total audience of 100,000 people.

To learn more about our nonprofit projects and get involved, see TechSoup Canada’s project list.

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Julia Stowell

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