The coronavirus pandemic has set into motion unprecedented change in the education space, and our Bookshare initiative has risen to help address the number one challenge: how do we keep children learning when schools are closed? These numbers show the scale at which software can be used to build a more inclusive future, in this case by providing people with reading barriers with a means to read, learn, and access information in ways that work for them.
Benetech Labs is where the Benetech team and our social impact partners incubate new software-for-good applications. Within the arena of startup incubators, however, Benetech’s social enterprise business model and Benetech Labs’ approach are unique.
I’m delighted to share that FJC—a New York-based foundation of donor advised funds—has recently made two philanthropic commitments that build unrestricted support for Benetech. The first is a $50,000 matching challenge-grant, the second a $350,000, five-year term endowment. This level of recognition from FJC is a great honor and we are deeply grateful for their helping us address our most significant philanthropic need.
Did you know that April is National Volunteer Month? We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Benetech’s fantastic community of dedicated volunteers who amplify the positive impact we make in the lives of our beneficiaries. In this post, we’ll highlight the wonderful contributions of our student volunteers from Brigham Young University, who regularly meet to describe Bookshare textbook images, as well as the impact created through our SocialCoding4Good initiative that operates at the hub of technology-for-good volunteer engagement.
I’m delighted to share here how we’re able to improve the lives of people, at home and in Sub-Saharan Africa, with support from the Android donation program—a fantastic social initiative from Google. To date, we’ve received several hundred used, fully functional Android phones and tablets from the program for deployment across our Human Rights and Global Literacy programs. Thanks to these phones, we’re able to put our software-for-good applications directly in the hands of individuals who face difficult challenges and for whom the availability of such devices makes a big difference.