In the digital age, charity organizations have a strong need for technology support. Here’s how three of our Perficient Minneapolis colleagues are using their technical and business skills for the greater good of their community:
Tools Designed for Compatible Technology International Aid Developing Nations
Art Quinn, General Manager
Art has been a longtime volunteer with Compatible Technology International, a non-profit that designs and distributes innovative tools that help families in the developing world rise above hunger and poverty. Art’s team in Minneapolis actively designs post-harvest tools that increase the yield of existing crops in several developing nations in West Africa. Their tools are replacing inefficient practices such as running over millet crop with a truck to separate it from its shell, which results in losing a third of the overall yield. Their tools are simultaneously closing a gender gap because post-harvest tasks are traditionally performed by women. One example is a peanut shell separating tool that reduced the time to clean 1 acre of peanuts from 40 to 5 days and as such enables women to continue their education or start local businesses.
Art says his role as a General Manager at Perficient’s Minneapolis office has aided him in managing the local chapter, recruiting retired engineers and college interns, and writing grant proposals. Their latest accomplishment has been a USAID grant of $3.5 million over the course of the next three years that they hope to use to expand to additional territories in West Africa.
Time Spent with Technovation Empowers Women in Computer Science
Tea Dejanovic, Business Analyst
Tea has been volunteering with Technovation [MN], a non-profit that mentors middle school girls in the process of learning how to code. Girls go through the process of ideation to identify a challenge in their communities, which they could solve through an Android App. Upon solidifying their idea, they spend the next six months working in small teams to design an app using MIT’s open source App Inventor.
“As a business analyst at Perficient, I’m a liaison between the client and the development team. At Technovation, I wear many more hats. Alongside other volunteers, we organize hackatons throughout the year, recruit mentors and local sponsors, and ensure parents understand the vast opportunities in computer science as a potential future career path.”
Nationally about 75% of girls express interest in STEM in middle school. But by the time they are in college, only 0.4% of girls select computer science as a major (according to Technovation). About 26% of Technovation alumna major in CS in college, which is 65 times more than then national average mentioned above. We’re excited to bridge this gap and enable more women to be creators, not just consumers of our collective digital future.
Website Improvements Free Up Time for Underdog Rescue Volunteers
Erin Krohn, Senior Project Manager
Erin has been fostering dogs through Underdog Rescue for many years. When she first started, one of the major issues facing her foster organization was being inundated with applications and questions from potential adopters, which took up majority of a volunteer’s time. Upon further analysis, she identified that consistency of content on their website could be improved in order to maximize the use of their volunteer time. Their team now utilizes Google forms to make it easier for fosters to share comprehensive dog information and prevent them from excluding important information.
Erin says that her skills as a project manager come in handy at organizing adoption events, where she gathers requirements on families in order to ensure successful “doggy match making.” Her experience at Perficient has helped her add a more professional flare to the customer service that Underdog offers. Overall, technology has made finding the right home for the animals much easier as there are many free, cloud-integrated Rescue Group software programs available, which also connect to a wide variety of national search sites such as Petfinder.
Read more about how our colleagues across all of our locations make an impact in their communities.