Friday, September 16, 2005

High-Tech Lends a Hand to the Gulf Coast

A post from CHEN account manager Juli Greenwood...

Most of us in high-tech have at some point in our careers asked, "What good is my work really doing the world?" Sure we PR-types believe we're doing our clients good :), but let's face it, our day jobs do not have us feeding the hungry or searching for disease cures.

But in the weeks that have followed Hurricane Katrina, I'm proud to see the world of high-tech step up.

By now we've all heard that craigslist was and continues to be instrumental in the relief effort; getting information to those survivors in desperate need, including offers for housing, transportation, and now even employment. Both Lycos and Yahoo! quickly followed suit by setting up a way for the families and friends to search Internet bulletin boards and other sites about the status of missing loved ones.

As reported by the Associated Press, "high-tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are offering money, equipment and expertise to help with the recovery effort. Intel, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, SBC, Dell and others are working with the Red Cross to build voice and data communications at hundreds of evacuation shelters...." and as many as 1,500 Dell and Lenovo notebook computers were expected to be donated.

Then a project called KatrinaList.net, supported by the Social Software Foundation, the Salesforce.com Foundation and CivicSpace Labs, and hosted by OpSource, hit the net. It's a massive, searchable database created by a grassroots group of volunteers.

And the stories continue to stream in... local high-tech companies serving as donation drop off points, matching employee Red Cross donations, hosting fundraising benefits, etc.

So while we may not in our lifetimes end world hunger, at least for now high-tech is banding together to help those devastated by Katrina. Together I think there's a lot 5.6 million techies can do.

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