As a non-profit organization, you might think that the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation would cite fundraising as their biggest challenge…but if you did, you would be wrong. What was making their job difficult was another common issue – dealing with legacy technology systems that just hadn’t kept pace with their growth and success.
And when you can raise millions of dollars and provide life-changing programs for young people nationwide, but are muddling through daily IT issues, you eventually realize that it’s time for a technology makeover.
The Foundation’s History
Founded in 2001 by baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., MLB veteran Billy Ripken and other members of the Ripken family, the mission of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is to provide sports-themed programs that aim to build character and teach critical life lessons to at-risk young people living in America’s most distressed communities.
And now almost 2 decades later, they’re doing quite well.
The Foundation raises about $30 Million annually, and has 30 full-time employees working out of their own Headquarters office in Baltimore.
They run a wide variety of youth programs year-round, including a Summer Camp, a College Day Experience, Badges for Baseball, Healthy Choices, Healthy Children, and a school-based leadership program called Uncommon Athlete. Their annual Aspire Gala is one of the top fundraising events in the state.
But as is often the case, the technology that supported the foundation’s operations was something of an afterthought.
“We were using older technology, because that’s just what we always had,” said Joellen Maelstrom, VP of Human Resources and Operations. “But the infrastructure that worked for us when we were much smaller created some inefficiencies for us as we grew, and we couldn’t continue like that.”
Because “we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” Maelstrom said their first step was to partner with Hartman Advisors for a critical review.
They needed to modernize, and fast, starting with the configuration of their basic internet service which was inconsistent at best.
“We had to send employees home some days, because they couldn’t do anything due to outages,” said Maelstrom.
Fixing that became priority #1, because with such an important mission to accomplish, they couldn’t afford to be down at all, let alone for hours – or even days – at a time.
Once they fixed that – and some other structural issues – and got back to what Maelstrom calls “zero”, they took the next step and sent out an RFP for managed IT service for the Foundation.
After a thorough vetting of the 3 finalists – including site visits – they ultimately chose Corsica Technologies as their new IT service provider.
The deciding factors in choosing Corsica included the 24/7 service, and the fact that you can always reach someone by phone.
“With other providers, you can call but it isn’t always possible to get real-time support that way. Corsica offers options, which we love,” said Maelstrom. “You can email support for assistance, or you can call and talk to someone live.”
They also appreciate Corsica’s average resolution times on issues overall, and the knowledge that all of their systems are being monitored all the time.
“Corsica knows if something is broken before we do,” she said.
With the basic infrastructure sorted out and running smoothly, and a trusted IT provider in place, the Foundation was then able to move onto the next phase of their technology makeover – adopting new and better technologies.
“We have finally been able to make some significant upgrades to our technology,” said Maelstrom. “When we were operating on the older systems, we couldn’t even think about taking advantage of tools that would make us better and faster.”
But now they have been able to do just that, updating to Office 365 and Windows 10, making Sharepoint improvements and even transitioning to Corsica’s VoIP for phone service.
There is no doubt for Maelstrom that addressing all of their various IT issues and improving their systems overall has improved their day-to-day operations. “It really comes down the fact that because we have far fewer issues, we can focus on the important work that we’re doing.”
About Corsica Tech
Corsica Technologies is a world-class IT services firm providing innovative, efficient and affordable managed IT solutions for small and medium businesses.
Corsica’s specialized services include managed IT services, network security solutions, 360-degree IT project management, systems management, 24/7 HelpDesk services offering phone and remote support, on-site services, network monitoring services, data backups and disaster recovery solutions, and strategic IT planning.
Our expert IT solutions are both affordable and innovative, allowing businesses of any size to enjoy enterprise-level IT management services and access to modern, flexible technology tools and resources. With a focus on quality, reliability and exceptional customer service, we can help you make technology your competitive advantage.