Grassroots Groups Get Free Y2K Help From Big Business

Grassroots, nonprofit organizations whose computers need costly Y2K
adjustments are finding free help at volunteer centers across the

Because they operate on shoestring budgets, small human service
groups often use donated and outdated computers. Many are
discovering their equipment will not work after Dec. 31. In an
effort to keep these systems running Team Tech, a national program
funded by IBM, United Way and AmeriCorps, has made diagnostic
software, new hardware and technical assistance available in 15

In Detroit, the project invited area charities to two workshops
with a Y2K specialist from Ford Motor Co. and another with several
nonprofit organizations that had already dealt with millennium
computer issues. Because there are so many small nonprofits in need
of assistance, the group has been selecting 40 every year to

Over the three-year project period, AmeriCorps volunteers are
installing $135,000 in donated equipment from IBM. But the needs
are so great the Michigan center is busy raising additional funding
for the more than 8,000 nonprofits that operate in the Detroit
area, said Dan McDougall, director of the Southeast Michigan

Information Center, which runs the Team Tech program.

‘Y2K is a real big problem for nonprofits,’ McDougall explained.
‘Most don’t have the money to buy new, compliant computers and most
are old castaways to begin with. Many are finding their computers
will fail.’

In San Francisco, Team Tech worked in partnership with computer
science students at San Francisco State University. The students
helped install Y2K-compliant equipment at area nonprofits that
focus on social services. AmeriCorps volunteers will continue
training and problem solving as the new year approaches.

They also point the groups to web sites — including — that offer free software and manuals for Y2K

‘We’ll see what we can do to get them prepared,’ said John
Halpin, program director. ‘But the clock is ticking.’

Team Tech programs are also working in Atlanta, Ga.; Austin and
Fort Worth, Texas; Boston; Burlington, Vt.; Chicago; Denver;
Washington, D.C.; Los

Angeles; New York; Binghamton, N.Y.; Research Triangle Park,
N.C.; Rochester, Minn.; and Tampa, Fla.

Contacts: John Halpin, program director, Team Tech, Northern
California Councils for the Community, San Francisco, Calif.,
415-772-4486. Dan McDougall, director, Southeastern Michigan
Information Center, Detroit, Mich., 313-226-9430. Team Tech web

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