Memory Matters was founded in 1997 as a nonprofit IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization, seed-funded by Brookdale Foundation. Their original mission was to sustainably support caregivers of loved ones diagnosed with dementia. In the first 12 years, they were nomads, holding adult day care programs each week in five churches on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, SC. In December 2009, they moved to their own 7,000-square-foot facility licensed by South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control. Their licensure covers memory care for up to 60 participants each day.
Upgrade and standardize an organization-wide with an intentional combination of desktop and laptop computers and printers, delivering memory and processing capacity to support projected growth.
Per the grant application, a 50% staff growth is projected over five years, requiring stable IT equipment. Doubling staff in 2017 severely strained MM’s IT infrastructure. The previous setup was maxed at 15.
The concept of this project was to create an IT infrastructure that has the capacity to grow to up to 20 staff, thereby becoming self-sustaining for a period of 5+ years during the anticipated growth. This project organically creates options for growth rather than limiting horizons.
The grant total of $25,000 was expensed to the procured technology vendor– Connection HHI—with check number 3516 dated October 15, 2019.
With much appreciation for the First Nonprofit Grant Award, we were able to leverage the dollars to solicit two additional grant awards to complete the comprehensive upgrade costs, $10,000 from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and $8,733 from Berkeley Hall Charitable Foundation. The grant award from Berkeley Hall Charitable Foundation was significant in that this award was 1 of 2 for 2019 awarded to Memory Matters, a one-time opportunity, not typical of their granting process.
We learned through the provision of a comprehensive ground-up technology platform that the system will be intentionally flexible to accommodate multiple community-based applications relying upon “cloud” computing and state-of-the-art systems protections.
The organization is now better positioned to work more efficiently with this commercial upgrade to the entire system. We are now secure with our data collection and document management. Our entire technology platform is becoming comprehensively more reliable.
Although this project has only recently been completed, and therefore there has not been a lot of traction for us to know what we could have done differently, I do see the benefit of having training in the use of each new piece of technology. We now see that without training in use of technology we have many hiccups. We are now going to schedule planned trainings.
In 2017 the staff nearly doubled, and it quickly became apparent the previously patched technology platform was woefully inadequate. In the last 24 months, the organization lost two crucial data storage files – a shared drive for business documents and a client-management data software system – through equipment failures.
It became routine to arrive at the office to discover the internet was not functional or laptops had been disconnected from all printers.
Given this set of serious circumstances, Memory Matters engaged an outside consultant in the Fall of 2018 to evaluate its IT setup. This expert’s assessment uncovered additional issues such as insufficient file backup and weak system security. It became imperative to upgrade the entire system to commercial level, which we did.
Through the provision of a comprehensive ground-up technology platform that employs the correct commercial-grade equipment the organization is now better positioned for all staff to efficiently work smarter with this commercial upgrade to the entire system.
The entire organization is now able to collect and secure data necessary for outcome measurements that translate to grant awards and leading practice accomplishments. Furthermore, we are now secure with our data collection and document management. Our entire technology platform has become comprehensively more reliable.
Additionally, the system is now flexible and accommodating of multiple community-based applications. We are up and running on the “cloud”, which provides state-of-the-art systems protections.
Our solution is unique in that it incorporated planned growth.
What were the benefits
Huge strides have been made in efficiency of technology use, and for the saving and sharing of documents via the ‘cloud.”
What were the results?
The results, in just a short time, have been astounding. Having a “cloud” to hold files and documents allowing for most updated version storage and document sharing. Also, the added speed through new laptops and systems has been phenomenal for staff.
How were the results measured?
The success of the project was measured by the purchase of the invoiced equipment and its satisfactory installation.
The concept of this project was to create an IT infrastructure that has the capacity to grow to up to 20 staff, thereby becoming self-sustaining for a period of 5+ years during the anticipated growth.
Yes, this project can and will be offered as a model to other nonprofits looking at upgrading their technology platform. We will likely post it on a Pinterest Board or local nonprofit, through CFL or other opportunities for exposure.