Durango Housing Neighborhood Networks Center Leverages Resources

The Durango Housing Neighborhood Networks Center (Center) has developed effective strategies to leverage local and national resources. According to the Center Director Jeanine Schmidt, "We send out individually crafted letters to different business. All letters describe our Neighborhood Networks program and the number of participants. Then we tell each business what we need--something geared to that company's resources. For example, we told the Home Depot that we needed shelving, and the store came through," emphasizes Schmidt. Another example of the Center's resourcefulness is its reciprocal arrangement with a local soup kitchen. When the kitchen has surplus baked goods, they are sent to the Center. "And, when we receive gift coupons for local restaurants, we send them to the soup kitchen," Schmidt explains. "Most of our residents already receive food stamps, and the soup kitchen can really use those coupons for its clients."

Of course, the most significant donations have come through Gifts in Kind International, a nonprofit organization. For an annual fee, Gifts in Kind provides quality products and services to nonprofit and educational organizations and to Indian Reservations. The agency provided the Center with computers from the Dell Computer Corporation and printers. "We received four models of the printers," says Schmidt. "They print, scan, and copy, and some can fax. They are very good quality and each machine came with both color and black ink cartridges." Dell shipped the machines at no cost to the center. "In March, Gifts in Kind called us again about distributing an additional 450 Dell printers," explains Schmidt. "Durango, Colorado, is not a big town, so we decided to pass on this opportunity to other computer learning centers." Durango is a member of The Community Technology Centers' Network (CTCNet - http://www.ctcnet.org/), a national network of more than 1,000 organizations that provide resources to and advocate for community technology centers. Schmidt sent e-mail messages to CTCNet to see if another organization would be interested in receiving and distributing this newest group of printers.

Content Archived: September 9, 2011