October has been a “banner month” for CWB—starting off with the wonderful letter we received from the Internal Revenue Service on October 24:
“Dear Applicant: We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code…” Now we can tell our prospective donors—large and small alike—that they are now able to donate their used PCs to us and help us achieve our mission AND take advantage of tax savings. AND help reduce the environmental footprint of the electronic age!
Computer donations are recognized by the IRS as tax deductible only if the recipient holds the legal status of a non-profit organization—which CWB now does! Our individual donors can take the charitable contribution off of their income tax obligation by itemizing their deductions through Schedule A of IRS Form 1040. Some corporate donors can get additional tax benefits by virtue of IRS Section 170(e)(3). This section provides that if a corporation donates “inventory” (i.e., property sold in the normal course of business) to certain charitable organizations, may receive an additional tax benefit (and provides a deduction for corporate contributions of inventory as much as twice the donor's adjusted basis in the property).
A number of additional exciting developments have taken place in October, including the following:
The “Quick Start” Program Is Underway!
The first computers shipped via our innovative “Quick Start” program were shipped this month to start our program in Mexico and Guatemala! Mayan Families, a wonderful non-profit organization operating in Guatemala, has become our strategic partner! We are looking forward to working with them to serve the urgent needs of one of Latin America’s poorest nations. Our friend and resource, Kary Vannice (who is also working extensively with ESL teachers in a number of Latin American countries and will be a fantastic ally for CWB), is helping us install our first refurbished computers in a needy school in Huatulco, Mexico. We expect have the “Quick Start” program underway in the following countries in November: Nicaragua, Belize, the Philippines, Ecuador and Peru!
We have approached the Salvation Army, Value Village, and Goodwill Easter Seals about exploring used computer collection efforts with us. We have found that Goodwill currently works with the Dell Reconnect program so we are attempting to contact Dell as well. We completed an online application program with the National Cristina Foundation which we hope will furnish us with computers, and we intend to help promote a number of e-recycling drives throughout the Twin City area. We will have our second meeting in early November with MPC—one of the nation’s largest recyclers—and we will continue exploring every possible way to procure used computers we can think of! Meanwhile, the Best Buy world headquarters is practically located in my backyard…
Digital School Library
We have begun work on our exciting
Digital School Library – loading thousands of free digital books, curricula, and lesson plans. In addition, we are loading several thousand Khan Academy lessons (in both English and Spanish!) onto flash drives for use with our computers! We recently discovered that another wonderful charity—Books for Africa—is located right across the Mississippi River from us in St. Paul! We have already contacted them to see if we might be able to work with them on the digital book project.
We have discovered that a great way to get our initiative started is to contact NPOs that are already operating in the countries we have targeted. Our neighboring NPO in another Minneapolis suburb—Feed My Starving Children—publishes their list of distribution partners on their web site. We found the web site for their partner for Nicaragua-- Fabretto -- and have contacted them to see if they might also help CWB get started there. To support its mission of empowering children and families in Nicaragua to reach their full potential and improve their livelihoods, Fabretto has established legally incorporated NPOs in Nicaragua, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.A. We are hopeful that Fabretto will also agree to partner with CWB!
Computers Without Borders
6615 Lake Shore Drive, Suite 806 Minneapolis, Minnesota 55423
Our attempts to persuade hundreds of colleges and universities to emulate the Cornell Computer Re-Use Association is proving to be difficult. It is not easy to find individuals like Alan Heiman out there! We need to let the computer science and IT folks know that they can participate in our initiative even without “getting their hands dirty” with computer procurement and refurbishment. It will be equally important to recruit students to help install, maintain, train and educate locals to optimize the educational benefit of the computers we will provide. So far we have had three meeting with our group at Normandale Community College and the manager of the computer technology department at Dunwoody Technical College in Minneapolis is excited about joining our initiative. I am particularly excited about Normandale becoming our first affiliate because the committee I am working with has stressed from the beginning that their school strongly believes in the types of programs we are advocating such as internships and study abroad programs. Normandale has already been sending nursing students to Belize to further the service aspects of the program, and they have seen firsthand how the integration of international travel and cultural immersion can change students’ lives while greatly helping the local people of the target nations.
Dunwoody College of Technology
Dunwoody presents an equally exciting opportunity for us because I believe they are ideally suited to tackle the computer refurbishment and e-recycling aspects of our program and could also participate in many of our other programs if they chose to do so. The timing is certainly right for Dunwoody as they will be celebrating their 100 year anniversary in 2014! Founded in 1914 by William H. Dunwoody and Kate L. Dunwoody, it is the only private, not-for-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. It has provided a hands-on, applied technical education to more than 250,000 men and women, who in turn have gone on to meaningful and rewarding careers. Located on the western edge of downtown Minneapolis, Dunwoody is also ideally situated to help CWB conduct e-recycling events and would be an ideal collection center for used computers procured from the entire Minneapolis area. We think the entire college will be energized and enriched by participating in the exciting global Computers without Borders initiative!