What happens when technology can do great things for humanity, but doesn't make a lot of money? Technology and social entrepreneur Jim Fruchterman explores the social good side of technology applications: how to get great tech tools to the people who often need them the most, but are least able to afford them!
Bernie Newcomb article
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation just published a very nice article, Leveling the Field, about one of our key Bookshare.org supporters, Bernie Newcomb. Bernie was VP Engineering and co-founder at eTrade. Amazingly enough, eTrade started in the same building where Benetech is currently located (under its original name of Trade Plus). Bernie grew up as a visually impaired kid and Oregon and rejected the low expectations of the then-education institutions and went to college and on to become an engineer and successful entrepreneur.
Bernie is very low key, and I'm glad the Foundation encouraged him to go on the record with why he does what he does. He's a great role model for students with disabilities, as well as successful tech entrepreneurs!
Vinod Sena in memoriam I had a very unfortunate reminder of the fragile state of each human being this week. Just after returning from India and Bangladesh, I received word that one of my key contacts and hosts had suddenly passed away. Professor Vinod Sena was a retired professor of English literature at the University of Delhi. Visually impaired his entire life, he was a tireless advocate for the blind and visually impaired as well as a shining role model. He has been described as the pioneer of Talking Books in India, and had been campaigning for a copyright law change to make it easier to provide access to accessible books. While I was in India, I picked up the newspaper and saw that he had just received a Helen Keller award for his work. I know that the advocates for the blind and visually impaired will continue his work, initially with a heavy heart, but with the confidence that they are following in the footsteps of a great man.
On February 16th in Los Altos, California, I shared these thoughts on Robin Seaman’s impact on the world with her family and friends at her Celebration of Life. Robin was beloved by the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who had the honor of coming into direct contact with her. That's the Robin we all collectively know personally. The sister, the aunt, the friend, the mentor. The shining bright spot in our day. A woman with that ineffable quality of elegance. However, I'm here to spotlight the impact Robin had on millions of people who never had the pleasure of meeting her personally. You all might have heard something about Robin’s dedication to helping people with disabilities that affect reading. People with disabilities like blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, physical limitations and returning vets with brain injuries -- anyone who cannot simply pick up a printed book and read it. The nonprofit Benetech team built the revolutionary Bookshare library for thi
This post originally appeared on CSRwire Talkback . The staff at Benetech , the nonprofit tech company I lead, recently came together to answer this question: “What values define our identity and drive our work?” It was a very meaningful exercise for our entire team, resulting in what we call “ The Seven Benetech Truths .” Among them are truths like “We Get Stuff Done” and “Value Flexibility” — highlighting that we focus intensely on results and upholding our commitments, while also being flexible about how we get the work done. For many in the nonprofit space, being “flexible” and “getting stuff done” don’t always go hand in hand. But for an organization like Benetech, naming them as part of our values and putting them into action has led to better ideas and stronger products. Our most recent initiative, SocialCoding4Good , and last week’s launch of its Corporate Partner Program , which offers companies a new, skills-based volunteering channel for employee engagement and their