Seeing the Forest AND the Trees

Technology for a better world.

Great Happy Hour Space for Non-Profits June 27, 2008

Filed under: donating,DonorsResource,non-profit — pdxbob @ 9:21 pm

Last night I attended a Happy Hour for, the creators of the Virtual Warehouse which brings together donors and non-profit organizations in need to items (clothing, kitchen items, computers, furniture, you name it). The Happy Hour was held in the showroom space of California Closets at 1225 SE Grand Avenue in Portland. There were I’d guess fifty people who came from non-profits interested in receiving item donations, donors (such as myself), board members and other supporters of this unique service for nps.

I met some interesting people, including Jeanne Ann Van Krevelen, owner of Escalation Business Consulting, blogger at The Edgy Entrepreneur and on Twitter at JeanAnnVK. Jeanne’s blog has got some great, targeted advice for new and small business owners and non-profits. I recommend checking it out.

I also met Brenda Lee, VP of Business Development at Pavelcomm, an IT service and consultancy located in NW Portland. Pavelcomm has been providing IT services to non-profits in the area for years. Some of their clients are Cancer Care Resources and the Franciscan Spiritual Center.  They are also active with Trillium Family Services and the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Brenda understands the IT business. If you are looking for outsourcing IT or getting some IT help, I recommend you give them a call.

Ok, so you’ve read this far and I haven’t mentioned anything about the venue, California Closets showroom.  I was pleasantly surprised at the elegance and simplicity of this space for small happy-hour-style gatherings. California Closets provides this showroom to non-profits for such events and given its central location and relatively-easy street parking in the area, I think it is a great spot for non-profits to gather their friends and supporters for an early evening happy hour. The location was perfect for a happy hour that is very interactive. This is different from some of the events I attend where geeks get together around laptops, such as BeerAndBlog. I didn’t ask if they have WiFi but the setting is not really targeted toward the technical community.

Thanks to Kiyoshi Terada, Marketing extraordinaire for, for the invitation.


Great Resources for Non-Profits June 26, 2008

Filed under: non-profit,philanthropy,technology — pdxbob @ 4:54 am

Last night I attended the monthly Portland Net Tuesdays meetup, which meets at the AboutUs headquarters in SE Portland. This meetup brings together people interested in the use of technology in non-profits. I’ve been going since February, when the second Pdx Net Tuesdays meeting was held. The topics last night were Connec+pedia and Squarepeg. Bram Pitoyo has written a comprehensive review of the two presentations here. These are great resources for non-profits.


Spring/Summer Cleaning and Donating June 24, 2008

Filed under: donating,non-profit,philanthropy,Portland — pdxbob @ 7:19 pm

I don’t use my home office as much as I used to, primarily because I love sitting anywhere in my house with a laptop on my lap, and I also love sitting in coffee shops with WiFi. The home office has accumulated a lot of computer equipment that is unused and I finally got around to unloading the older gear. I had, and have, many options for unloading computer equipment and furniture: my young-adult kids, Craigslist, FreeGeek.

But the first place I think about now is, a Lake Oswego-based non-profit. Online cash donation has been common but what if we can donate goods online?   Della Rosenthal, Director and founder of DonorsResource, has been organizing the giving of needed items to low-income families for years. She collected and distributed more than 20,000 items to families in need in Portland in only 18 months, manually, and offline.  Now her new dedication is to connecting donors and nonprofits in need or goods and resources. DonorsResource created Virtual Warehouse that enables donating and receiving items online

So I got started by putting two CRT monitors, a printer and two desks into a “box” in the Virtual Warehouse. How easy is that? I just had to name the items, optionally providing additional description and pictures, and the site stores a virtual box in the Virtual Warehouse, ready for the taking by a Portland-area non-profit. When an organization shows interest in receiving my donated items, we, the donor and the non-profit, make arrangements for delivery or pickup. That’s why the storage is called a Virtual Warehouse. Clever.

You can also give to a specific organization, even search for organizations by category of donated items such as computer equipment, men’s clothing, cell phones, office furniture, etc. The site is cleanly designed and easy to use. Currently, there are hundreds of non-profits in the area looking for donated items to help them with their mission. If you have unused computer equipment, furniture, clothes, kitchen items or virtually any other home or office stuff, consider donating to a needy non-profit in the Portland area.


Fight Sex Trafficking by seeing the Holly film this weekend May 21, 2008

I have just pledged on to go to the Saturday night viewing of the acclaimed film, Holly, at the Hollywood Theater if twenty more people will agree to go. I have seen this film before and it is a gripping story of an American expat, played by Ron Livingston of Office Space fame, who is disgusted by being propositioned by a very young girl while in Cambodia. The same reaction he had was also what James Pond, founder of Transitions Cambodia, had when he was in Cambodia years ago. Along with his entire family, he decided to do something and the result is a wonderful organization that rehabilitates girls who had fallen victim to sex trafficking in southeast Asia.

This is a big weekend for Transitions Cambodia in Portland! They are holding a silent auction at the Burdigala Wine Shop in SE Portland on Thursday night. Details here. Then on Friday and Saturday nights, Holly will be screened at the Hollywood Theater in NE Portland, followed by Q&A with James and Athena Pond, founders of Transitions Cambodia, Victor Jaya Sry, In-Country Director from Cambodia, Keith Bickford, head of the Oregon Human Trafficking Task Force, Wendy Freed, noted trauma therapist, and Guy Jacobson, writer and producer of Holly. Tickets for the movie can be purchased at here.

The Hollywood Theater can hold a lot more than twenty people. I’m pledging to encourage people to be part of a special evening and to learn about an important problem that affects both developing and developed nations.

Pledge, won’t you please? Hope to see you Saturday night (or if you make it Friday night). and Dr. Joel Selanikio receive Knight Foundation Grant May 14, 2008

Filed under: journalism,mobile,news,non-profit,technology — pdxbob @ 11:29 pm

Just a day after I posted about the wireless report of the UN Foundation, one of the case study subjects in that report wins a Knight Foundation grant in the second year of the foundation’s news challenge. Dr. Joel Selanikio, a founder of,  won the $325,000. grant with the ‘News on Cellphones’ idea of delivering news to the poor via text messaging!. develops open-source mobile technology which is used in developing countries to improve the health care system for the rural poor.

You can see all of the winners of Knight Foundation grants here. launches Virtual Warehouse April 25, 2008

Filed under: Community,non-profit — pdxbob @ 3:45 am

Two friends, Kiyoshi Terada and Mikal Anderson, are part of a team that put together Virtual Warehouse on This site provides a place for donors to donate items to non-profits and for non-profits to indicate the types of items they need. Created by Sisters of the Community (SOC), a 501(c) (3) organization, helps to streamline the delivery of needed goods to non-profits.

The Oregonian had a blurb about the launch in its Business section today. If you’ve got items you want to donate, computer equipment, furniture, whatever, and you want it to go to a specific type of organization or a specific non-profit, this is the place to do it. Or, if you have a non-profit that needs stuff, sign up online to connect to donors. is run as an Oregon non-profit out of Lake Oswego.


Sharing Foundation December 29, 2007

I’ve added a widget on the right side of my blog (down there, see it?) for accepting donations to the Sharing Foundation which provides a lot of help for children in need in Cambodia. Whichever organization receives the largest number of unique donors will receive $50,000. as part of America’s Giving Challenge.

I learned of the challenge and the Sharing Foundation from Beth Kanter’s blog. Beth, who is on the Executive Board of the foundation, is a tireless advocate of the use of social media in non-profits and provides educational and consulting services as such. Her interest and dedication to the children of Cambodia is awesome.

Please consider the Sharing Foundation as you decide on your year-end (or January 2008) charitable contributions. If enough people donate, we will have helped the Sharing Foundation get an additional $50K to help Cambodian children.