2019 Year in Review

Posted on January 14, 2020 · Posted in News

As I’ve traveled the country this year talking with people about poverty and education, I’m continually reminded that talent is distributed equally, but opportunity is not. Rural parts of the country are places where opportunity s limited, and so many great minds miss opportunities for nourishment. I’m proud that the Rural Technology Fund helps provide the resources to tilt the balance of opportunity towards those who are often neglected.

As always, I want to begin my yearly letter by thanking all the teachers, students, volunteers, donors, and community members for their support in our mission. We were fortunate to hit some major goals this year, and I’d like to share a few highlights from 2019.

100,000 Students in all 50 States

The RTF measures success not in dollars raised or spent, but in the number of kids we introduce to technology. A couple of years ago I set the goal of introducing 100,000 kids to technology careers in all 50 states. I’m excited to say that we reached that goal this year. That’s 100,000 students who might have the chance to lift their family out of generational poverty or breathe new life into their communities because of STEM education and technical careers. 

Chris Sanders speaking at the 2019 RTF Dinner in Augusta, GA.

Financial Transparency

100% of the funds we raise go directly to support students. We don’t pay salaries and overhead is covered with direct support from the foundation’s board members. In that spirit, I’m glad to release this year’s financial transparency information.

Total Carried from 2018: $70,779.38

Total Raised in 2019: $91,144.97

  • Direct Individual Support: $37,837.79
  • Indirect Individual Support: $289.50
  • Direct Corporate Support: $8,379.50
  • Corporate Matched Funds: $6,800.91
  • Board Member Contributions: $27,500.00
  • Merchandise and Event Sales: $10,338.09

Total Spent in 2019: $118,069.74

  • Scholarships: $2,000.00
  • Classroom Donations: $113,662.22
  • Merchandise Inventory: $212.97
  • Event Costs: $1,563.20
  • Misc Overhead / Marketing (Covered by Board Donation): $631.35

Total Carried Forward to 2020: $43,854.61

New Goals — 250,000 Students

When I set our last goal, I’ll admit that it was ambitious and I wasn’t quite sure if we would make it by 2020. However, it’s these sorts of ambitious goals that drive the change the RTF hopes to spur. I’m glad to share that we’ve set an even more ambitious goal next, to help introduce 250,000 students to technical careers.

In this video, Chris tells stories from a few classrooms we’ve helped this year.

To reach this goal, we’ll continue investing in passionate teachers and underserved rural public school classrooms. We’ll also continue to explore investing in rural public libraries, which we see as the modern community makerspace.

We’re also looking to grow our team! The RTF needs someone to help with marketing and periodic social media posts. If that’s something you’d be interested in helping with, please take a look at this job listing.

We can’t reach our ambitious goal without your help. Please consider a one-time donation or a recurring donation through our Patreon page. I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far. If you’d like to learn more about the RTF and our mission, I’d be glad to speak to you and your community group, in person or remotely, and tell you my story. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for all your support,

Chris Sanders, Director

Rural Technology Fund