TechSoup's Commitment to the Organizations We Serve

TechSoup is committed to the furtherance of civil society, defined as the organizations and individuals, separate from the worlds of both government and commerce, who undertake the tasks of improving the circumstances of the underserved and creating conditions in which people of goodwill can engage in discourse and find solutions for the many problems that impact the globe.

Recent elections and events across the world have stirred strong emotions and often seemed to highlight differences. No one knows the extent to which rhetoric will be acted on, and this uncertainty creates anxiety for many. In this context, we want to reiterate that TechSoup holds cardinal values around nondiscrimination, diversity, and inclusivity. No matter the context, we will stay true to these values and we will make common cause with others, in this country and across the globe, who share them.

To those engaged in the work of civil society, we say: You have colleagues, here at TechSoup and across the nonprofit sector, that support the work you do in serving some of our most vulnerable community members. In this context, we want to take this moment to be explicit about some of the values that drive our work:

  • A belief in coming together. Whether online or in-person, we believe strongly in the value of coming together to discuss the issues about which we are most passionate.
  • The right to disagree. As a sector, we are passionate about the services we provide, the people we help, the way that help is delivered. We have to fight every day for resources. We know that passion can lead to disagreement. We can disagree and still be working together.
  • A strong sense of inclusivity. Each and every day, we want the tent to be bigger, the pie to serve more people, the change to be greater.
  • A healthy diversity. Of thought. Of background. Of economic levels. Diversity makes us stronger and we will protect it.  

Our beliefs manifest in things like our anti-discrimination policy and a commitment to democratizing access to resources and to being a force for creating a more equitable world. We see our beliefs manifest in our forums where people from all social, political, and religious backgrounds talk about how to use technology to create more good.

Let’s come together and move forward.

In solidarity,

The Staff and Board of TechSoup

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog.

Comments

When you say that "No one knows the extent to which rhetoric will be acted on" and claim that THAT is what people are anxious about, you downplay the actual harm that racist, misogynist, xenophobic speech (rhetoric) does. The speech that normalizes hate crimes and sexual assault. The speech that suggests you can electrocute someone into being heterosexual.

Words mean things. Speech IS action, especially when that speech is incitement to violence. Speech IS action, when the president-elect destabilizes foreign relations with a phone call. It's action when speech calls for foreign hacking into one's opponent's emails, and it's action when a sinlge tweet causes a company's stock to plummet, or a union organizer to get death threats.

People aren't "anxious" because of uncertainty - we're terrified and furious because we ARE certain of what's going to happen. We've been watching it happen for over a year, and we're watching as someone who doesn't believe in public schools gets appointed to Dept of Ed, someone who doesn't believe in the power of povery gets appointed to HUD, and someone who is an active neo-nazi is apponted as director of strategy.

"Let's come together and move forward"? Who, exactly, do you think we should be coming together with? Neo-nazis? P***y-grabbers? Hijab-yankers? School officials who joke about reporting undocumented students? People who voted for an administration that has the explicit goal of defunding the IMLS?

Your statement is cowardly and obsequious. No normalization. No acceptance. No capitulation. We fight for our patrons and the people we serve. We don't "agree to disagree" about the humanity of people or their rights.

I'm ashamed for you. This is one more statement that historians will point to when people ask, "Where were the good guys?"

Elizabeth -

Yes, you are correct that actions such as increases in hate speech all the way up to cabinet appointments are indeed more than just rhetoric. They are real actions that have serious local and global repercussions now and beyond this next four-year presidential term.

We recognize the damaging impact of hate speech and discrimination on both the individual and institutional level.  To the extent that we can support nonprofits and libraries through our day-to-day work of providing technology donations and discounts, we uphold and are very proud of our anti-discrimination policy. And we refuse service to any organization showing discrimination, hate speech, or disrespectful or bullying behavior.

We will stand up against hate crimes in our role as a nonpartisan organization helping build capacity for fellow nonprofits and libraries, so that they can fulfill their mission better, whether it be making communities safer or educating patrons. We are not an advocacy organization -- the better we focus on our work, the greater the impact our members will have on their constituents.

Thank you for sharing your perspective.

-Ariel Gilbert-Knight

Director, Content, TechSoup

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