Using Tech for Social Good

Carina Weyer Miniatura
Carina Weyer
Published June 24, 2021

Technology has tremendous power to spur innovation and improve human lives. And for social services organizations, specifically, technology makes it possible to operate more efficiently, reduce costs, and secure more funding—while scaling their services to serve more underprivileged communities.

While technology can help nonprofits accomplish more, they have long been at a disadvantage compared to for-profit corporations when it comes to accessing the digital tools they need. While 85% of nonprofit leaders believe technology is critical to the success of their organizations,1 social services organizations spend as much as four times less on technology than private sector companies, regardless of industry.2

The problem is that barriers such as tight budgets, competing funding priorities, and pressures to keep overhead low prevent nonprofits from making the technology investments that can increase their social impact.

Bridging the Technology Gap

To help bridge this funding gap, F5 recently awarded a series of Tech for Good Grants designed to help nonprofit organizations accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Begun last year, these annual grants are aimed at helping nonprofits invest in the technologies they need to build the strength and efficiency of their organizations.

Today, the vast majority of nonprofit funding is designated for specific purposes. In the US, for example, less than 15% of foundation support is unrestricted.3 What’s more, nonprofits are under pressure to restrict overhead to less than 10% of their budgets,4 limiting their ability to adopt the core technologies that could help them accomplish more.

With more freedom to invest in ihis traditionally underfunded area, social services organizations can streamline their administrative efforts, adapt to remote needs, and—most importantly—expedite their missions to do even more as they work to bring about healthier, more vibrant communities. 

2021 Tech for Good Grant Recipients

To that end, we’re excited to announce the 2021 Tech for Good Grant partners. Altogether, 20 nonprofit organizations were each awarded $10,000 USD to be used toward their technology infrastructure needs.

These recipients are tackling a wide variety of important social causes in countries from the US to India to Mexico and Peru. The recipients were selected from among nearly 200 applicants by a committee of F5 employees from F5’s LatinX, Multicultural, and FAB (F5 Appreciated Blackness) Employee Inclusion Groups (EIGs) based on a range of criteria including each nonprofit’s commitment and approach to serving people of color.

Helping Nonprofits Extend Their Reach

In the coming months, F5 will share the stories of some of these nonprofits to demonstrate the myriad ways in which technology has helped them scale their social impact.

We believe that technology can have a profound impact on the ability of nonprofits to accomplish their missions. By telling these stories, our hope is to encourage more investment in this critical area—ultimately helping nonprofit organizations expand their reach as they work to bring about a more equitable world.

Congratulations to the 2021 F5 Tech for Good Grant partners!

AnnieCannons, Inc: Transforming survivors of trafficking and gender-based violence into software engineers.

Mexican Association for Rural and Urban Transformation: Promoting holistic transformation in marginalized communities in Mexico.

API Chaya: Empowering survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking to gain safety, connection, and wellness.

New American Pathways: Helping refugees and other immigrants in metro Atlanta to become successful, contributing, and welcomed members of Georgia's communities.

Building Bridges: Equipping resilient young leaders to transform divisive attitudes in their communities.

Nirmaan Organization: Promoting grassroots social innovations, volunteering spirit, active citizenship, and social leadership among the youth of India.

Communities in Schools of Federal Way: Surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

omegaUp: Building the talent pipeline of software engineers from Latin America and other Spanish-speaking communities by providing an accessible learning platform together with social programs.

Cultural Survival: Advocating for indigenous people’s rights and supporting indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience.

Sacred Valley Project: Providing boarding and supplementary education to young women from low-income families in remote communities of the Andes so that they can continue and complete their secondary education.

Deliverance Children’s Ministry, Inc.: Providing youth academic enrichment programs to underserved communities.

Spokane Immigrant Rights Coalition: Keeping immigrant families together and making Spokane a welcoming place where everyone can reach their full potential.

Friends of School in the Square: Engaging, educating, and empowering adolescents in Washington Heights to respond mindfully and creatively to life’s opportunities and challenges.

Sumner Community Food Bank: Providing nutritious food with dignity to our neighbors in need and public awareness on issues of hunger in our community.

Geeking Out Kids of Color: Liberating BIPOC youth through technology and mentorship by developing decolonized tech education programs to nurture community leaders of change.

The Commons Law Center: Revolutionizing access to basic legal services, information, and support for underserved Oregonians.

LifeWire: Ending domestic violence by changing individual, institutional, and societal beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that perpetuate it.

Thriving Families: Serving low-income women and families in Denver, Colo. during pregnancy and just after a baby is born through educational and postpartum groups, case management, and mental health counseling.

Literacy Volunteers of Charlottsville/Albemarle: Helping adults in our area learn to read, write, and speak the English language so that they can become better workers, parents, and citizens.

Women & Children’s Free Restaurant and Community Kitchen: Providing a vital safety net that fills nutritional gaps for women and children in need while fostering dignity and respect, both within our restaurant and in the community.

Please check back over the next few months to see the specific ways technology is helping Tech for Good Grant recipients improve their effectiveness as they work to achieve greater impact.

To learn more, visit the F5 Global Good webpage.