CFI Grant Brings Community House Computer Technology into the 21st Century

A special Capacity Grant to the Sanibel Community Association, given last year by the Charitable Foundation of the Islands (CFI), has brought the Community House’s technological capabilities into the 21st Century, according to SCA Director Teresa Riska-Hall.

The new computer technology, installed with the latest software applications needed to run the House’s activities, “has built our technology from the ground up,” Riska-Hall said. “We have never had so much computer facility. It’s a new day for the Community House.”

 From Left: Nicole McHale, Jan Remmel and SCA Director Theresa Riska-Hall.

From Left: Nicole McHale, Jan Remmel and SCA Director Theresa Riska-Hall.

CFI’s grant, in the amount of $6000, enabled the Association to acquire two computer hard drives, two monitors and two laptops. “This equipment streamlines Association operations,” SCA board member Melissa Congress said.

Congress, who also serves on the CFI Board, but not on its Capacity Grants committee, is delighted with the outcome. “This new technology benefits Community Association staff members, as well as all Island groups that locate their events in the Community House. It is a win-win for the Island!”

Both laptops and one hard drive and monitor are new installations for the House’s technology system. “Only the hard drive and monitor in my office are a replacement of old equipment,” Riska-Hall said. “With this additional hardware and software, we can convert our old file system to digital. No more searching for paper files and documents. It saves tremendous time and is very efficient,” she said, adding, with a smile, “We carry around thumb drives now, instead of paper files.”

One unforeseen benefit of the new acquisitions is an enhanced ability to control event-scheduling digitally. “We can run a whole week of events on our monitors, and the calendar is easy to see and operate,” Riska-Hall said.

The technology didn’t arrive without its share of hiccups. “Some of the software we originally looked at were less compatible for us than anticipated,” Riska-Hall said. “Luckily we found a specialist who researched the choices and found the perfect products for us. We now have exactly what we need.”

The next challenge for the Association is to train the staff and volunteers on the new software. “Because all hands were on deck when we reopened the House for business, we had to delay our training sessions, which takes about two weeks,” Riska-Hall said. “But once this last task is completed, there is no stopping us!”

The Charitable Foundation of the Islands’ partnership with the Sanctuary Community Golf Challenge and its many generous sponsors helps it to provide continuing financial support to worthy causes exclusively on Sanibel and Captiva. CFI’s primary concerns are basic human needs, arts and education, the environment and unforeseen emergencies. Its mission is to promote philanthropy to help people in need on Sanibel and Captiva, and to strengthen non-profit organizations in order to build a spirit of community for generations to come.