Tom Jewart, vice president of BPS Healthcare Delivery, State and Local Government Health and Human Services for Hewlett-Packard, received the Small Corporate Humanitarian Award for coordinating efforts to raise nearly $19,000 in new office equipment for an area non-profit that helps send single parents to college.
The Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Pulaski County was established not only to provide scholarships, but also to also nurture families and break the cycle of poverty, said Executive Director Karin L. Bara.
Jewart was first exposed to ASPSF’s mission at a luncheon. The mission resonated with him on a personal level because growing up; his mother raised him and his siblings.
“As a kid you don’t think of it as a struggle, but as an adult you appreciate it so much more,” he said.
When Jewart learned many of the program’s students were in need of their own computers, he refreshed a number of old PCs he had laying around the house.
Jewart’s involvement grew when he became a member of the SPSF board this year. As a board member, he had the opportunity to tour the organization’s offices.
“I saw the equipment — it was old and antiquated,” he said. “They couldn’t carry out their mission.”
Bara said when she joined ASPSF in 2011 both computers were running Windows 2000 and Office 1997.
“Our old landscape was sad,” she said. “It took our computers seven to eight minutes just to boot up each morning.”
With the help of Hewlett-Packard’s Employee Product Giving Program, Jewart and the HP team were able to purchase nearly $19,000 in new equipment for the ASPSF offices.
“As an individual it would have been hard [to buy the equipment],” Jewart said, “but with the matching program it was in our reach.”
The program enables employees to contribute 25 percent of the equipment’s listed price with the company matching the remaining 75 percent.
Jewart said non-profits are so focused on getting money to their program’s recipients they often forgo their own needs.
Bara said with the updated computers, software and printers ASPSF has been able to create an updated website and establish a presence on social media sites.
Bara said ASPSF couldn’t do what they do without the local community and HP’s efforts.
“The boots on the ground effort that we put out there every day really changes the lives of our single family students,” she said. “It moves them from a place of dependence to independence, and it breaks the cycle of poverty.”
For more information about ASPSF of Pulaski County visit http://spsfpulaski.org/wordpress.