I didn’t know when I was growing up in rural western Kentucky that just by virtue of living where I did that I was disadvantaged. I grew up poor, but so did all my friends and as rough as I had it, I knew people who had it worse. The fact is that people growing up in rural areas are significantly more likely to be unemployed, live in poverty, become disabled due to poor health, and die early. I didn’t know that all these things were working against me.
At a young age, I was introduced to computers. This initial spark of interest led me to write software, learn how to connect computers into networks, and use technology to enrich my life and the lives of those around me. A few teachers recognized my interest and helped me turn that spark into a sustained interest that eventually led to a college degree and a career in computer technology. The fate that I seem predestined for was not to be, and it was because of that initial spark and the opportunity to pursue it. Sadly, this spark is too often missed or never cultivated.
I started the RTF to introduce other young people to technology so that it could change their lives in the same way it changed mine. So far, we’ve been able to do that with great success. In 2017 alone, we’ve been able to introduce just over 28,000 rural students to technology careers by equipping their schools with things like Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi’s, Robotics Kits, 3D Printers, and more. While our progress this year has been tremendous, we’ve got more work to do.
We want to reach 30,000 students in 2017 and 100,000 total students within the next two years. These are massive goals and represent tremendous impact. Our goal is to introduce students to the potential of technology careers so that we can help end the generational poverty that has defined their lives. Through this, we hope to bring greater economic impact to rural areas and help decrease the massively unequal distribution of wealth between rural areas and their urban counterparts.
We need your help to reach this goal. The month of December is our most important month for fundraising as it helps us meet our year-end goals and begin the new year with momentum. If we’re going to reach 100,000 students we need your contribution. With this, you have our guarantee that 100% of your donation will go straight to the classroom. We are an entirely volunteer-led organization, which means we pay no salaries. Your donation will have direct, tangible impact.
There are several ways to help:
- One Time Donation: A one time gift can be made via check or PayPal. A PayPal account is not required to make an online gift. You can do so here: http://ruraltechfund.org/donate/.
- Recurring Donation: A recurring gift helps us better plan our charitable work. As a part of contributing to our Patreon, you’ll get exclusive updates about work we’re doing in classrooms all over the country. You do so here: https://www.patreon.com/rtf.
- Amazon Smile: As you’re doing your holiday shopping considering doing so through Amazon Smile. When you select the RTF as your charity of choice, Amazon will contribute a portion of your purchase price directly to us.
The Rural Technology Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization, which means your donations are tax deductible.
I didn’t know what I had working against me when I was growing up in a rural area. Now I know, and we’re working to change the future for kids like me. I hope you’ll join us. We can’t do it without your help.