Technology Innovation Award Spotlight: Chris Powers, Co-Founder of Reciprocity

Lighthouse Mobile Food Pantry in Pontiac Michigan

Tech Impact's Technology Innovation Awards recognize nonprofit organizations that have plans to positively impact their communities and change lives through innovative technology projects. A $10,000 grant helps implement these technologies — from building apps, producing interactive data sets for funders, or creating programs using predictive analytics, the grant is a catalyst to fulfill nonprofit missions. As we prepare to announce the 2022 Technology Innovation Award winners, we are highlighting a previous recipient to share how the investment has positively shaped their work.

An Award-Winning Technology Grant Project

Chris Powers accepted the 2020 Technology Innovation Award to support MyCovidResponse, a Michigan-based grassroots disaster response project consisting of over 80 organizations and hundreds of dedicated volunteers. The project was born out of the need for community support and food programs during the pandemic. MyCovidResponse’s most impactful program was the volunteer food program which spawned a mobile food pantry service that exists today as a program called Lighthouse Direct. Lighthouse scaled to make nearly 100,000 volunteer-powered food deliveries across 5,000+ households.

The Technology Innovation Award helped to support the key staff activities of MyCOVIDResponse in partnership with Lighthouse of Michigan while adding the credibility that comes with national recognition of the program. Attending Tech Forward Conference 2020 allowed Chris and the team to learn from a peer group of innovators in the nonprofit sector. The combination of recognition and lessons learned from Tech Forward 2020 gave the team early feedback that they were on the right track.

Where The Grantees are Today

Today, Chris continues to support the community with a new venture as the founder of Reciprocity. His mission is to help nonprofits put their programs online so they can focus on scaling their service offerings and make an even more significant impact onChris Powers communities.

“Reciprocity exists to provide access to technological expertise, resources, and application development for organizations working to build communities that are better connected, for the good of us all,” said Chris.

The team at Reciprocity has since launched more than 20 community projects in partnership with Lighthouse and other organizations which have provided local access to food, vaccines, holiday gifts, bikes, educational programming, enrichment programs, emergency services, and more.

How to Apply for the Next Technology Innovation Awards

Applications open for the 2023 Technology Innovation Awards in June. In the meantime, watch for the announcement of the 2022 award winners on September 19th at Tech Forward Conference in Denver, CO. 


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