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JUNE 4, 1999  1:49 PM
Center for Y2K & Society
Philip Bogdonoff, Director of Outreach Center for Y2K & Society
(202) 775-3100 (202) 775-3199
Center for Y2K & Society Launches Website, Y2K Grant Program
WASHINGTON - June 4 - The Center for Y2K & Society has launched a Web site to support foundations and nonprofit organizations working to prepare communities for potential disruptions caused by the Y2K computer date problem.

"We created our Web site to support our mission of mobilizing and assisting nonprofits to respond to Y2K threats in three key areas: healthcare, public and environmental safety, and vulnerable communities. Each of these areas is significantly behind the other sectors of our society in addressing Y2K," says Philip Bogdonoff, Director of Outreach for the Center.

In addition to ongoing work in the three areas, the Center plans to give away more than a quarter of a million dollars by the end of July to provide financial support to enable existing nonprofit organizations working on Y2K issues to expand their work. The Center also hope to motivate other organizations to join or lead community efforts to prepare for Y2K.

The site is designed to help activists and community leaders make effective use of their time. Rather than personally sift through all the myriad Y2K resources on the Web, the Center has selected what the best of the resources available and organized them by sector, as well as according to their usefulness for individuals, communities, foundation, nonprofits, state and local governments.

The Y2K computer problem may have profound impacts on the ability of the healthcare community to deliver adequate and equitable healthcare services. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem points to the healthcare industry as lagging significantly behind other sectors in its Y2K preparations. Many institutions, such as hospitals, clinics and nursing homes will not complete fixing even their critical systems. Rural and inner-city hospitals are believed to be especially at risk for Y2K-related problems.

Many indications about the possible affects of the Y2K problem on public and environmental safety are sobering. The results could include nuclear or chemical releases putting thousands at risk and damaging the environment. Assessing the vulnerability of facilities handling hazardous materials is a formidable challenge. Y2K also poses special threats to water resources, in virtually every kind of locality. Corporate and government efforts to date have not addressed all the problems.

Vulnerable Communities
The most vulnerable in our communities are often kept afloat by the social safety net crafted by an alliance of governments, foundations, nonprofits and the business community. That safety net is very vulnerable to Y2K-related failures, and must be strengthened now before significant holes appear. Distribution of food stamps, unemployment benefits, and welfare payments may be disrupted. There may be increased demands on food banks, shelters and health clinics. Both traditional and new networks must be mobilized to prepare for Y2K.

Y2K Grant Program
The Center for Y2K and Society will provide grant support to local, state and regional nonprofit organizations that are anticipating societal problems resulting from Y2K computer problems. We seek to encourage the development of adequate community-wide Y2K plans prepared in an open and democratic fashion. We also encourage the sharing of "best practices" for addressing Y2K between one community and another.

Out grant program aims to support the following activities: community planning; protection of persons especially vulnerable to impacts from Y2K; assurance of adequate healthcare services; protection of public safety and the environment; work with public officials; preparation by smaller communities; public education; and news coverage. Most grants awarded will be for $5,000 to $20,000. In rare instances, larger grants will be awarded, but no grant will exceed $35,000. Preference will be given to projects that have matching funds available from local sources.

The next deadline for applications is July 1st, 1999.


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