Travelers and MCFS Partner to Increase Technology Access in St. Paul Schools
In 2006, Minnesota Computers for Schools (MCFS) paid a visit to Travelers, an insurance company in St. Paul, to tell them its mission and work with Minnesota schools. At the time, Travelers was in a period of growth and the company was looking for ways to expand its work in the community and deepen its relationships with existing nonprofit partners.
After meeting with MCFS, Michael Newman, Vice President of the Travelers Foundation, saw an opportunity to help MCFS reach even more students while at the same time maximizing the value of the company’s end-of-life technology.
“Donating equipment to Minnesota Computers for Schools fits into everything we stand for as a company. But also, at its heart, it is the ideal community project because it’s very no-nonsense and straightforward. MCFS allows us to maximize the value of our equipment and deciding to partner with them was a very common sense, smart and easy business decision.”
Over the past seven years, the partnership has grown and evolved to meet the technology demands of schools and educational nonprofits. Since the partnership began, Travelers has donated more than 1,400 computers, more than 1,100 laptops and $270,000 to fund a variety of projects in schools and educational nonprofits serving St. Paul.
One of the projects Travelers has played a large role in is an academic incentive program at Gordon Parks High School, an Alternative Learning Center in St. Paul that serves at-risk students how are disengaged from school. Each year, MCFS donates an average of 50 computers, funded by Travelers, to give away to students who maintain an 80% or high attendance and show excellent class performance during a 9-week period.
For some of the students, this program changed their overall performance and outlook on school and their future. Said one student who won a laptop, “Now I’m starting to come to school every day so I can graduate and my grades are getting better.” When asked how she was going to use the laptop, her answer was simple: “For college.”
Travelers has also been a key partner in our work with AVID, an academic support program provided by St. Paul Public Schools that prepares students for college eligibility and success. Since YEAR, Travelers has provided funding that allows MCFS to donate computers to AVID classrooms, allowing students, many of whom don’t have access to a computer at home, to use them to complete homework, conduct research and improve their computer literacy skills.
In the words of Michael Newman, the time has come for MCFS. “MCFS allows us to maximize the value of our equipment while at the same time maximizing its value and services for the community.”