Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has announced that it will award five nonprofit organizations $100,000 in Web development services and equipment through its Ericsson Internet Community Action (ERICA) program.
Created in 1999, the ERICA program is designed to help nonprofits, which seldom have the resources, financial or technical, to harness the Internet to their cause, to become more effective agents of social change.
"ERICA doesn't force nonprofits to adopt generic solutions, or superimpose technology for technology's sake," said Jennifer Hilborn, the company's corporate citizenship manager. "The program is effective because it works in a cooperative way — nonprofits envision their own Web solutions, while harnessing Ericsson's technical expertise and resources to turn their dreams into reality."
Applications are evaluated according to four main criteria: overall purpose, innovation, feasibility, and community involvement, and prospective applicants do not need to have a Web site in order to apply. More than 2,500 entries were submitted during the first two years of the program, and the company expects a strong response this year as well. Once the finalists are announced, visitors to the ERICA Web site can help nominate the 2001 People's Choice Award winner through an online voting process. The organization with the most votes will win $20,000 in computer hardware and software.
Entry forms for the 2001 ERICA Awards are available on the Web at http://www.ericsson.com/erica. Entries will be accepted directly through the site through midnight, June 5, 2001.