It’s an unofficial tradition in my family to spend the last few days of the year—often New Year’s Eve itself, I’m embarrassed to admit—deciding what charities we’d like to support before the tax-deduction clock resets for another year. So for any of you who are thinking along the same lines this week, and who are fortunate enough to be able to do a little giving at the end of what’s been such a tough year for so many, I thought I would mention a few causes near to Xconomy’s heart. These are all local organizations that are helping give kids and other folks access to the scientific and technological skills and tools they need to participate in the innovation community. The list is by no means exhaustive, and your additions to it are welcome; just post a comment below or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Established via a collaboration between the MIT Media Laboratory and Boston’s Computer Museum (which is now part of the Museum of Science), the Computer Clubhouse is a free, safe after-school environment where kids can get access to not only computers but a host of other cool technology and adult mentorship. With support from Intel, the original model has been replicated at 100 locations around the world.
East End House
The East End House’s broad range of services includes free computer classes and an after-school program that, with help from local biotech firms, aims to bolster kids’ understanding of science and their interest in pursuing it as a career.
This is the local outpost of Dean Kamen’s program aimed at encouraging middle and high school students to pursue science and engineering. The program is centered on a giant international robotics competition; the next Boston regional contest will be March 6th and 7th.
The Freedom House provides free access to its computer labs, as well as computer-skills training for seniors.
Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House
In addition to numerous other services, the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House offers free computer classes and free daily access to its computer lab.
One Laptop Per Child
Founded by Nicholas Negroponte and other veterans of the MIT Media Lab, OLPC wants to ensure that every school-aged child in the developing world has a networked laptop. There are several ways to contribute, including OLPC’s current Give One, Get One (G1G1) program, through which consumers can buy two laptops for $399. One of the computers will be shipped to a school of OLPC’s choice, the other to any recipient that the buyer chooses.
Science Club for Girls —
The name of this organization pretty much nails it—Science Club for Girls provides free after-school programs designed “to increase the self-confidence and science literacy of K-12th grade girls belonging to groups that are underrepresented in the sciences.” (Xconomy is putting its money where its mouth is on this one, by the way: Science Club for Girls is one of the organizations to which we’ll be donating part of the ticket proceeds from our upcoming Battle of the Tech Bands.)
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