Skilled volunteers from AAA Carolinas and Louise by TIFIN delivered a security assessment to The Merancas Foundation.
Based in Charlotte, NC, The Merancas Foundation is a private foundation guided by the belief that anyone who works hard should be able to make a decent living. The Foundation invests in local nonprofits that support those in crisis, provide pathways for adults to achieve self-sufficiency, and help children reach their greatest potential.
The Merancas Foundation leadership reached out to Apparo for help to identify the best ways to ensure their nonprofit data security. Through Apparo’s Tech Therapy program, they were matched to volunteers Brian Hinkle (of Louise by TIFIN) and Kevin Harris (of AAA Carolinas) to assess their current security practices and provide recommendations for improvement.
Upon completion of the project, we checked in with Andy Mermans, President, and Ann Barnes Robertson, Office and Grants Administrator to learn about the significance of this work and its anticipated impact.
Andy explains, “We were just starting to set up our office, but saw the need to assess our risk and plan for our future. We wanted a simple solution. When we found Apparo, it seemed like a very good fit because you understand nonprofits. We appreciated the upfront security assessment and scoring process. It helped us understand what we were doing right, what we weren’t and what critical items we need to add.
“Our volunteers prioritized the top items for us and gave us confidence that even if we were faced with a security problem, we would be able to handle it. We have a lot going on with our Foundation, but they were very patient with us and walked us through incrementally as we made progress. Working with technology professionals, sometimes there can be a language barrier, but they always used laymen’s terms with us and had no issues taking the time we needed to explain things clearly. The regular meeting structure kept us accountable and ensured that nothing would slide.
“If we had not worked with Apparo, we would likely have just winged it. But now, we have an intentional security structure and plan. I appreciate Apparo for giving us this framework. Now, it’s done, set aside and we don’t need to worry about it. We know when in the future we need to check in and what we need to do to stay secure.”
Ann adds, “Jennifer (Ray of Apparo, who facilitated this project) was extremely organized and kept us on track. You don’t know what you don’t know, but our volunteers were so accessible and helped us think outside the box. They gave me a lot to work with that I had never thought of before, identifying real risks and how to plan accordingly. They were the most positive people and gave us a lot of encouragement. It never felt overwhelming. Working with Apparo and these volunteers worked out so well because it gave us a framework that was approachable and doable. It’s comforting to know that now our data is backed up and secure.”