School Support SIG
Every Saturday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Some people refer to our Golden Gate Compute Society’s School Support Program as our best kept secret. Actually, this special interest group (SIG) is no secret to many of our members or to many schools in the Bay Area. We just don’t seek as much publicity as we could. This relatively low profile allows us to manage the balance between the three main components of the program: the volume of computers donated, the people and space available to work on them, and the schools asking for computers.
Our focus is on providing computers in classrooms and school labs for student use rather than for administrative use. We work most closely with the local Ross Valley School District, which includes Wade Thomas, Manor, Brookside, and White Hill schools. The school district helps us by providing workspace, and we provide them first pick of the equipment we have available. However, we also support any school which comes to us for help, as long as we have computers available that will meet their needs.
The School Support Program started in 1990, when one of our members helped fix up and place one donated computer in a local school. Since then, many volunteers have pitched in to place over 2,500 computers in approximately a hundred schools, mostly in the San Francisco Bay area. We typically place about 100 computers in schools each year. In 2003, we received a donation of several hundred identical computers from a major corporation, which allowed us to efficiently process significantly more than our usual volume.
The computers come from individuals and local corporations who donate computers and other related equipment to GGCS for use in the School Support Program. The equipment does not need to be in working condition, but it must be something we think we can fix and find a place for in a school. We generally accept computers approximately 5 years old or newer and other peripheral equipment (printers, network, etc.) of a similar vintage. If you or a company you know have computers or other equipment you may want to donate, please call the SIG leader (contact information below) to make arrangements. Please do not just drop off equipment at the classroom.
School Support volunteers gather every Saturday at the GGCS training facility in San Anselmo at 10:00 a.m. for a “work day”. Our primary focus is to test the equipment and repair it as necessary, reformat the hard drives, re-install the basic operating system software, and then give the systems to schools. Of course, we also learn a lot from each other about computers and other topics of interest, catch up with what is happening with family and friends, and generally have some fun. Volunteers need not be technically savvy, although they may risk becoming adept at fixing computers if they hang around long enough!
Anyone who would like more information about the School Support Program should feel free to call the SIG leader, John Foote, at (415) 457-9645 or email email@example.com , or just drop by the GGCS training facility on a Saturday morning. As mentioned above, people with equipment to donate should contact John before bringing it to the classroom, to make sure we can accept your contribution.
By way of this article, we also wish to thank the dozens of volunteers, donors, and teachers who contribute to making this program a continuing success. It should be no secret how much great work they do!
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If you are considering a donation of computer equipment to the School Support Program, please feel free to contact the program leader, John Foote, at 415-457-9645, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Answers to frequently asked questions are below:
- GGCS is a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code, and a public charity under section 509(a)2, allowing tax deductions for donations to the organization. Click here to see a copy of the IRS determination letter.
- The GGCS School Support Program (SSP) helps schools from kindergarten through 12th grade obtain and use computers in the classroom.
- We do not charge schools any fees for the equipment or services they receive from us.
- We accept donations of computers and related equipment approximately 5 years old or newer.
- Donated computer equipment need not be in working condition. We test and refurbish equipment as needed before giving it to schools.
- We provide a donation receipt to all donors. We can provide additional documentation of transfer of ownership if requested.
- We have a zero landfill policy. Equipment we are not able to repair and place in schools is disposed of using recyclers who also have a zero landfill policy.
- It is our policy to reformat hard drives and reinstall operating systems on all computers given to schools. Systems or components disposed of through a hardware recycler may or may not have the hard drives reformatted. (It is hard to reformat a hard drive that doesn’t work). We can provide additional data wiping services upon request.
- We have limited resources for picking up computers at the donor’s site. If you would like us to pick up your donation at your site, please contact John Foote (contact information above) to discuss the arrangements.
We are an all volunteer non-profit program with no paid employees. This means the value of your donation goes to schools or other non-profit programs rather than to overhead. However, this also means that we often reply to e-mails and return calls during evenings and weekends. We appreciate your flexibility in working with us.
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As our name implies, our purpose is to provide computers to schools. We support both public and private schools. When we have computer equipment that schools do not need, it is also available to other non-profit organizations.
Anyone interested in obtaining computers for their school or other non-profit organization should contact John Foote, at 415-457-9645, or e-mail email@example.com We generally reply to calls and e-mails in the evening or on a weekend, so please provide appropriate contact information.
Answers to frequently asked questions are below:
- There is no charge for the equipment or services we provide.
- We can provide computer systems, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, cables, networking equipment, and other miscellaneous computer related equipment.
- You will be asked to provide some information about how the equipment will be used. We use this information to prioritize your request and select equipment that will meet your needs.
- We focus on providing computers for student use in school facilities rather than administration or home use.
- We are not structured to provide computers to individuals.
- A representative of the recipient school or non-profit organization will generally need to pick up the computer equipment at our facilities in San Anselmo. Our normal hours are on Saturdays, although other times can be arranged if necessary.
- The recipient organization is responsible for all software licensing. We find most schools have site licensing arrangements which enable them to acquire licenses at a lower cost than we can.
- The person picking up the equipment will need to sign a receipt which:
- Identifies the recipient organization.
- Itemizes the computers received.
- Acknowledges that the recipient organization is responsible for software licensing, and that GGCS is not providing software licenses.
- Acknowledges that the recipient organization accepts responsibility for properly disposing of the equipment when it is no longer needed.
We look forward to hearing from you!
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School Support volunteers gather every Saturday at the GGCS training facility in San Anselmo at 10:00 a.m. for a “work day”. Our primary focus is to test the equipment and repair it as necessary, reformat the hard drives, re-install the basic operating system software, and then give the systems to schools. Teachers also frequently join us during this time to receive computers for their classrooms. Of course, we also learn a lot from each other about computers and other topics of interest, catch up with what is happening with family and friends, and generally have some fun. Volunteers need not be technically savvy, although they may risk becoming adept at fixing computers if they hang around long enough!