Spreading the WhirlWind Cheer

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For our latest philanthropy project at the end of the year, we decided to include the entire company. This is a time of year that calls for gratitude, reflection and generosity to those less fortunate than us. We set up collection boxes at different locations, and gave our WhirlWind techies an option to donate toys for the Toys for Tots program. We collected and donated over 150 toys this year!

Toys for Tots is a program run by the US Marine Corps Reserve that distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. “When you donate to Marine Toys for Tots you are helping to bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children.” is their tagline and their impact is felt in homes all over America. Founded in 1947, the Toys for Tots program has delivered 548 million toys, supporting 251 million children to date.

And the difference is felt. Cindy, a gift recipient from California, shared a heart moving story of her memories.  “Toys for Tots was the only reason I received a gift for Christmas each year as a child. I remember my dad waiting in line the whole day in order for me and my siblings to have something to open on Christmas. I have such great memories thanks to this program. Thank you to everyone who donates to this great cause.”

The impact of working collectively to help others can not be overstated. As reiterated by a community organizer in Georgia, “…The Toys for Tots Program is a blessing for the community we serve. We have had families tell us that they would not have had anything under the tree if it was not for this program. There is so much work to do, but as long as we take a piece and someone else does the same, eventually we can reach as many needs as possible.”

Thank you to all the WhirlWind techies that contributed! With this project we want to emphasize we can all embrace WhirlWind’s purpose to empower others. Our core values include #Have the mindset of an entrepreneur (Empower) and #Take the Initiative (Commitment) and together we will work to empower as many people as possible!

The best gifts are sometimes the unexpected ones! What is your best (or most unexpected) gift to date?

Have a Great School Year: By WhirlWind

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“What is your favorite humanitarian effort?” I posed this question during our Monthly Leadership & Management meeting in August. I wanted to get a sense of what was important to our leaders at WhirlWind Technologies, and to vote on our next philanthropy project. The answers ranged from mental health advocacy to global relief,  but what seemed to resonate the most is the topic of youth and education and helping under served communities.

The timing of the discussion coincided with the beginning of the 2018 school year. By the end of the discussion, we voted to donate school supplies to children in need. We picked Oaklands Elementary School, in Laurel Maryland, because it is a Title I school. Title I is part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)  which supports schools with large concentrations of low-income students in meeting its students’ educational goals.

Eight students in total were selected, a boy and a girl from 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade and 5th grade respectively. The classrooms we chose were also being taught by new teachers to the school, and we hoped equipping the students in their classrooms would also ease the teacher’s experience.

Being a mom with a school age child, this cause is close to my heart. I took my son to go shopping for supplies at Walmart. We printed the Prince George’s county school system list of suggested school supplies and spent the day selecting the book bags and supplies, while discussing our civic responsibility and the importance of lending a hand to people who are struggling in our community.

A little goes a long way too, as we heard back from Candice Nicholson, the 2nd grade teacher “Since I work at a Title 1 school, kids always need supplies that their parents can’t afford. Well, WhirlWind saved the day, when I was able to give supplies to not one, but two students.”  

Meanwhile, Taylor Mcleod, the 3rd grade teacher spoke from a new teacher’s perspective, “This is my first year of teaching. I had no idea how hard teaching is. I didn’t know that all parents don’t buy their kids school supplies. That made me sad because I can’t afford school supplies for all the students in my class. Thank you WhirlWind, for taking some of that stress away from this first year teacher.”

“Thank you, WhirlWind, for supporting the needs of our students,”  Jewel Preston, the Principal of the school, added. “ Companies like yours make my job easier.”

I am proud to be part of a company that takes its social responsibility seriously. Our vision includes empowering our community and future leaders. Our purpose is to help people to understand and fulfill their potential, and sometimes that involves removing barriers so they can succeed. In our latest project, we hope giving students the tools they need will free them to focus on the important task at hand: learning.

What’s your favorite philanthropy effort? What does giving mean to you?

Empowering the Community: WhirlWind Style (Part II)

 

Empowering the Community-WhirlWind Style


As I sat in the judge’s panel, I could feel the electric excitement in the air. 11 youths, representing nine different businesses, were pitching their innovative ideas in the Teen Biz Challenge, held by the Office of the Mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, in Baltimore. The competition was inspired by the popular “Shark Tank” television series and the teens were competing for up to $6,500 in startup funds for their “big ideas”.

The teens came prepared, armed with creativity, talent and cool ideas for businesses, from the OmegaBrush, an innovative dental hygiene product presented by Mahmoud Shelby (18 years old), to Miracle Box, a subscription service for healthy food delivery presented by Sa’Niya Sherman (16 years old). Kamri Moses (14 years old) presented a mouthwatering array of smoothies and assorted beverages for his KR Smoothies business.

The pitch that received the highest level of funding came from a recent high school graduate and current freshman student at Stevenson University, Ciera Smith (18 years old). Ciera’s business, Naturally Me is a monthly subscription service for feminine hygiene products. Ciera Smith received $6,500 in the accelerator program and each business that pitched received at least $1,000 in funding.

All the teens that pitched were graduates of the 2018 Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Summer Program. WhirlWind was a Gold Sponsor this year, and as I sat there in the judge’s panel, I thought the impressive presentations were a testament to the important work facilitated by the  D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Resources to Empower All Minds) Foundation.

At WhirlWind, we fleshed out what empowerment means to us and came to the core of helping people to understand and fulfill their potential. Showing up for the teens and serving as judge and mentor gave me a front seat view into the next generation’s incredible potential. It is also important for us to engage local talent and businesses, for they translate into a stronger economy and contribute to thriving communities. And for this, I am excited to do the work I do.

What comes to mind when you think of “helping people to understand and fulfill their potential?” What inspires you when it comes to empowering yourself and others?

Related Press Release: WhirlWind Technologies CEO as a Panel Judge for the Teen Biz Challenge

Empowering the Community – WhirlWind Style

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I am passionate about empowerment, which is emerging as one of WhirlWind’s foremost core values. We are exploring the idea of empowering all of our stakeholders, by listening to their needs and identifying their opportunities and challenges.

So  I was excited when I got a call from a local Prince George’s County nonprofit called the D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Resources to Empower All Minds) Foundation to sponsor the 2018  Y.E.S. (Youth Entrepreneurship Startup) Program. The Y.E.S program is a five-week, all expenses paid summer camp for Baltimore City high school students, aimed at entrepreneurship  and financial literacy. WhirlWind became a Gold sponsor for the event, allowing the students to participate at no cost, including lunches, field trips and lectures from other entrepreneurs.

This summer, the Y.E.S. program hosted a total of 26 high school students. Y.E.S. participants learned key concepts of running and operating a business, from creating an idea, to competitor analysis, market trends, value proposition and scalability. The students met with 21 entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, who shared their success stories and struggles. The students also visited National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to study black inventors and pioneers.

The graduates of the Y.E.S. Summer program in 2018 will participate in the Teen Biz Challenge held by the Office of the Mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, in Baltimore. The teenagers will present their ideas to a panel of judges, including myself. They will pitch their businesses for a final round of up to $5,000 in startup funds.

I connected with a lot of bright and promising students with lofty ideas, and that was really inspiring. We are in the process of crafting our Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to empower 10,000 people in 10 years, working on it through one relationship at a time. Sponsoring the Y.E.S. program  is a step in the right direction. I look forward to more.

What does empowerment mean to you? In what ways can you demonstrate the core value of empowerment in your own roles (at WhirlWind and outside)?

Related Press Release: WhirlWind Technologies, LLC Headlines the Y.E.S. Program as a Gold Level Sponsor

WhirlWind Technologies Receives National Recognition from SCORE & Sam’s Club

Washington, D.C. ─ WhirlWind Technologies, LLC, a local business in the DC Metropolitan area, has been chosen as a winner of The American Small Business Championship hosted by SCORE. SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners, awarded the title to 103 winners. The championship recognizes small businesses for their dedication to success.The American Small Business Champions will each receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense paid trip to a regional training event, SCORE mentoring for one year and publicity throughout the year. The contest was generously supported by Sam’s Club, a leading U.S. membership club serving small businesses since1983.

WhirlWind Technologies, LLC earned the title as one of the  American Small Business Champions by submitting an online application answering the question “What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?” Nominations which garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts that determined the winners.

In answering the question, WhirlWind Technologies, LLC’s leadership shared their five year strategic plan and described how being an American Small Business Champion would facilitate that vision. The five year plan, called Vision 2020, includes launching technology vendor and start-up support services to help other organizations and companies without capital to purchase equipment or appropriate staff resources to develop their business. The customized IT equipment leasing plans would also create additional tax-write off opportunities and allow them to grow their assets and business.

“We are so grateful to receive this recognition from The American Small Business for our accomplishments we have made and will continue to make as a growing business.” said KoJo Addae-Mintah, CEO and Founder of WhirlWind Technologies, LLC. “ Thank you to our wonderful community both locally and online for supporting us and helping us succeed. This would not have been possible without you.”

“…These Champions embody the passion, determination and drive of America’s small business owners.” said Ken Yancey, CEO of SCORE.

“…We look forward to seeing all of the Champions take their business to the next level so they can grow and realize their dreams.” said Tracey Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Member Officer for Sam’s Club.

WhirlWind Technologies, LLC is also eligible to win an additional $25,000 grand prize by being named Grand Champion. A judging panel of small business experts will select one Grand Champion from the group of Small Business Champions this summer. Selection will be based on how effectively champions use the Sam’s Club gift card and the SCORE regional training events to grow business revenue, as well as how effectively the winners promoted the championship in the media and social media.

WhirlWind Technologies, LLC plans to use the $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card to purchase bottled water to be shipped to Flint, MI. The water crisis that has taken place in Flint, impacts us as a country. We view using the Sam’s Club gift card to aid to the needs of Flint as a way of supporting purposeful experiences in our community. A year of SCORE mentoring & coaching will be used to assist, support and prepare key leadership within our organization with anticipated outcomes that come along with implementing a major change such as Vision 2020.

To learn more about The American Small Business Championship and to view the complete list of Champions, visit www.championship.score.org.

VOTE WhirlWind | SCORE & Sam Club’s Small Business Championship

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VOTE for WhirlWind Technologies (WWT) to be a SCORE Small Business Champion. Grand Prize is $25,000 courtesy of Sam’s Club and SCORE. Other prizes we could win consists of a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, SCORE small business training, and a lot of national publicity.

Click here to VOTE and learn more about how winning this Championship puts us a step closer to accomplishing some of our Vision 2020 goals.

Please share with your family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to vote.

WhirlWind Technologies Partners with Black Girls Code

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Black Girls Code is a non-profit organization that provides young girls of color opportunities to learn in-demand skills in technology and computer programming at a time when they are naturally thinking about their future professions. Black Girls Code holds workshops, summer camps and week-long events for girls from ages 7 to 17 in a few states in the USA as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa.

WhirlWind Technologies recently partnered with Black Girls Code for their “DC Mobile App Workshop” that took place on the campus of University of Maryland College Park on September 26-27. Clifford Agyei-Mensah and Van Phan, members of WhirlWind’s Application Development Team, volunteered at this amazing event.

The workshop focused on building apps on an Android platform using MIT’s AppInventor, which is similar to Scratch. Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. One of the challenges Black Girls Code placed upon the participants was to program a mobile app that would playback in a computerized voice a message they wrote whenever they shook their phone.

Our WhirlWind volunteers reported that they enjoyed helping the participants to navigate the logic and guide them in discovering the solution to the imposed challenges. Some of them were familiar with the tools and very good at expressing their ideas to instructors, volunteers and other participants. Clifford and Van both recommend you to volunteer or sign up someone you know for the next Black Girls Code event where they embrace learning and teaching in a fun and exciting atmosphere.

Please visit www.blackgirlscode.com for more information on the organization and event schedule.


WhirlWind Technologies in the Community

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Last November, our company donated 10-laptops to Calvin Coolidge Senior High School (Washington, DC). The laptops are currently being used in Math classes for the facilitation of Agile Mind, a software that provides an on-line collaborative approach to help raise student achievement. Below is a note we recently received from Ms. Martin (a Math teacher at Coolidge); also below are pictures of some of her students using the laptops.

Thank you so much for your donation!! My students are very eager to learn and do not have the technology used today to make it more fun and appealing! Now we are one step closer to being prepared for the 21st century technology they will use throughout their futures.

The students love the computers! They are constantly looking for new ways to learn the information faster and more efficient. The school’s lack of resources has made it harder for them, but my class has decided to not let it stop them from learning and moving forward in their studies. They have used the computers to access the curriculum online to work at varied paces, access online quizzes and practice exams, and study for tests. The students went above and beyond to complete Math-based research on the computers to prepare presentations for class.

The computers have really encouraged the students to have faith in their school. Many students were discouraged about the lack of materials but are now thrilled to have the tools they need. These computers will allow them to move forward in school this year and in future grades. Their outlooks have improved greatly and we truly appreciate your donation.

With gratitude,
Ms. Martin

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