CBI and Apparo have had a strong partnership for over a decade.
Community Building Initiative (CBI) has partnered with Apparo for well over a decade through our Simplicity (relaunching as the community GAIN program in 2020) and Tech Therapy programs. We recently checked in with Christi Lee, Program Coordinator at CBI, to learn about the impact this relationship has had on their organization over time and today, as they face the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christi explains the importance of technology and the relationship with Apparo. “We exist to give people knowledge, skills and courage to fight bias and remove barriers to opportunity. We help people understand what it means to build a community that works for all of us. To be able to do that, we have to be able to connect internally with each other, to connect with our Board and our program participants, and to connect with the broader community. Without Apparo’s support, we could do that, we could figure it out, but it would be very clunky and it would take a lot of our time.”
Finding Apparo and the Simplicity program was “serendipitous” for CBI.
As members of Apparo’s second Simplicity class in 2011, CBI went server-less and established the capabilities it needed to work remotely. “That has been amazing for us. It makes us feel good about ourselves, being on the front wave of nonprofits being more nimble,” shares Christi.
“Frankly, I don’t know what we would have done without Apparo, especially at the beginning,” Christi continues. “It was serendipitous that the Simplicity program came along at that time. When it came to technology, we would have stumbled around blindly, trying to make things work. Then Apparo came along and said, here’s what you need to do, these are the answers to your questions, here is the equipment you need. It was fabulous.”
Today, CBI is successfully able to “keep the mothership afloat” and work at “full tilt” due to support they’ve received from Apparo over the years.
Christi shares that today, while faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, “We’ve been going full tilt, delivering all the programming we can virtually. Because of our long relationship with Apparo, working and serving remotely feels like old hat, it wasn’t even an issue for us. We didn’t have a single concern about remote connectivity or whether our computers would work. We have not been hampered at all in terms of doing our important work. We’re keeping the mothership afloat and our small group program, Equity Impact Circle, has shifted to Zoom and it’s also working well.”
Apparo’s “magical” Tech Therapy support serves as “the best insurance policy ever” for CBI.
“Apparo eliminates the potential angst and aggravation that comes with purchasing and setting up new technology. They provide the support that comes with truly understanding our organization and how we work. Our recent work with Ben Knudson has been magical,” shares Christi. “If I would have had to manage the process of getting new laptops on my own, it would have taken 4 or 5 full days of my time, figuring out what to buy and how to set it up.”
When it comes to her organization’s relationship with Apparo, Christi says, “I don’t know what else we could ask for. We are grounded in gratitude for the support we’ve received over the years. The day we connected with Apparo was a very good day. I think about Apparo like the best insurance policy ever against all of the horrible things that can go wrong with technology. I don’t have to be concerned about what we’re going to do if we have a problem. I know who to call! We know you are right there to step in and support us when we need help. It’s invaluable for a small team trying to do big work.”