Nonprofits, Riders, and 'Geeks' Gather at Penguin Days to Make Better Software and the World a Better Place

SAN FRANCISCO, March 7 (via AScribe Newswire) --

Activists, nonprofits, and software developers will meet at local Penguin Days ( in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City this spring to demystify open source software for social change.

Penguin Days explore open source software in plain language, build networks among nonprofits technology users, and help socially-minded 'geeks' find ways to support nonprofit organizations.

Katrin Verclas of Aspiration ( who has been organizing Penguin Days in what is becoming growing movement, said, "The goal of Penguin Days is to make open-source software available to non-profit organizations who are in need of specific, often expensive or inflexible programs to manage volunteers, fundraise, or mobilize constituents. Penguin Days challenge software developers to provide flexible and appropriate open source software for nonprofits. They also empower nonprofits to better communicate their needs and be active partners in the use of open source technology."

Open source software can be freely distributed and modified so that organizations can adapt software programs to suit their very specific needs.

Marnie Webb, Director of Consulting Services at CompuMentor (, the co-organizer of Penguin Day San Francisco, added: "Open source software allows nonprofits to share technology applications and to build on each other's work. Instead of each nonprofit starting from scratch when they build a database, for example, pre-existing applications can be shared and improved over time. This collaborative approach saves money and effort and ultimately benefits the sector as a whole."

In 2004, Penguin Days have been held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; London, England; and Toronto, Canada. Hundreds of nonprofit staff, programmers, and activists have attended Penguin Days.

Penguin Days build community, transfer skills and knowledge, and inject a sense of play into a serious subject. The events often feature matchmaking "speed geeks" to bring programmers and organizations together to change the world--one computer chip at a time. Organizers say that here is a growing group of programmers who are interested in making their skills and technical knowledge available for a cause.

The Penguin is a humorous symbol adopted in the early days of Linux as the mascot of this growing software movement.

Upcoming Penguin Days in the U.S.:

  • March 26, 2005: Chicago, in partnership with NPOTechs and Teaming For Technology/United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

  • April 12, 2005: Bay Area, California, in partnership with CompuMentor

  • May 7, 2005: New York City, in partnership with the LINC Project of the Welfare Law Center, and United Way/Teaming for Technology.

More information on Penguin Days is at

Penguin Days are underwritten by IBM Corporation, other donors and corporate sponsors, and participant registration fees. Fee waivers are available for small grassroots nonprofit organizations.


ABOUT ASPIRATION: Aspiration,, connects nonprofit organizations with software solutions that help them better carry out their work. We want nonprofit organizations to obtain and use the best software to maximize their effectiveness and impact so that they, in turn, can change the world. We identify what is available and what is missing in NGO software arena, and foster relationships, delivery systems, and sustainability strategies between NGOs around the world.

Aspiration: Better Tools for a Better World

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