Just a little more than a week after announcing it would award five nonprofit organizations $100,000 in Web development services and equipment through its 2001 Ericsson Internet Community Action (ERICA) program, Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has pulled the plug on its annual technology assistance program for nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations.
Despite the program's popularity — more than 2,500 entries were submitted during the first two years of the program alone — grantseekers visiting the ERICA Web site in the last few days have been greeted by the following message: "The ERICA 2001 program is undergoing re-evaluation due to changing economics and is on hold until further notice. We regret any inconvenience that this may present to you." No further information has been provided by the company.
Created in 1999, the ERICA awards program was 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.