June 16, 2015
Best BuyStaff Writer
Best Buy supports better futures for teens:
The need for youth to be tech-savvy and develop the 21st-century skills to set them up for future career success is more important than ever. Yet too many teens have little or no access to technology and as a result, they fall behind their peers.
At Best Buy, we’re on a mission to provide teens with opportunities where they can develop technology skills that will inspire future education and career choices.
We strive to leverage our local community presence, our technology resources and our talented employees to provide new and creative programs to serve our communities.
In 2012, we launched a program aimed at building state‐of‐the‐art “Best Buy Teen Tech Centers” in communities throughout the U.S. The “Best Buy Teen Tech Centers” are free afterschool programs that provide a creative and safe learning environment where teens can explore their own ideas, develop skills and build confidence through the creative use of technology. Our goal is to help teens excel in school, engage with their peers and within their communities, and develop 21st century skills to prepare for college and careers.
Best Buy has partnered with the internationally-acclaimed Intel Computer Clubhouse Network (ICCN), a project of Boston’s Museum of Science in collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory. With a solid 22-year record of demonstrated success serving thousands of youth and giving them the confidence and resources to change their lives, ICCN has a replicable model for technology learning in community based organizations around the world. Today, 100 Clubhouses serve youth in 19 different countries. Winner of the 1997 Peter F. Drucker Award for Non Profit Innovation, the Clubhouse provides not only access but culturally relevant and challenging learning content for youth, coupled with support from caring adult mentors who serve as role models.
Building on the success of the eight Best Buy Teen Tech Centers thriving today, Best Buy would like to bring a technology center to Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and Oakland/San Francisco in 2016. In order to do so, we are seeking to identify a local 501(c)(3) non‐profit or municipal organization to be our partner in housing and supporting each of the four centers. The ideal partner is a community‐based organization, library, community center, or public sector entity that has an existing afterschool program and a commitment to youth in under‐served communities to establish and support the technology center.
Best Buy Teen Tech Center overview:
The goal of the Best Buy Teen Tech Center is simple: To help teens explore their passions in technology and inspire future education and career choices.
Best Buy Teen Tech Centers break the mold of traditional, static computer labs by offering dynamic, creative environments that spur teens to learn, experiment, collaborate and play with the latest technologies, build skills, and seize opportunities for self-expression.
At the centers, teens leverage technology to develop projects based on their own interests such as: creating art, music and animations; designing their own science simulations and mobile applications; writing and illustrating interactive poetry, stories and films; building kinetic sculptures and robotic constructions; and designing their own 3D worlds and games. In the process, youth become excited about learning and fluent with new technologies, developing skills and experiences to help them succeed in their careers, contribute to their communities and lead outstanding lives.
Each of the Best Buy Teen Tech Centers offers a powerful array of cutting‐edge technology, such as high- end computers, digital cameras, movie cameras, professional software and program activities in a wide range of areas, such as:
- Digital Photography
- Filmmaking & Videography
- Graphic design
- Audio production (including music mixing)
- Game development
- Programming and App Development
To ensure maximum engagement, the Best Buy Teen Tech Centers are located in high teen traffic areas in safe locations within existing community sites of selected host organizations, such as libraries, schools, museums or community centers. Best Buy Teen Tech Centers have a consistent look and feel that are fun, safe and inviting (including teen‐centric furniture and an innovative space design) and aim to be inclusive for teens. Local Best Buy employees also participate in the program as volunteers, providing ongoing guidance and conducting workshops.
Best Buy Teen Tech Center Learning Model:
Current educational research shows that adolescents learn most effectively when they are engaged in designing and creating projects rather than memorizing facts or learning isolated skills out of context. Leveraging the Computer Clubhouse’s proven education model, the Best Buy Teen Tech Centers foster a learner‐centered, informal educational approach that encourages participants to discover their interests and apply their own ideas. Through a combination of self‐guided learning and structured training, teens have access to resources, materials and tools to experiment, explore and create based on their own interests, and learn skills that will help them succeed in a wide array of professions in the modern workplace.
The Best Buy Teen Tech Center learning model is based on the Computer Clubhouse program and is guided by four principles:
- Learn by Design Provide a combination of self-directed learning and structured workshops guided by staff and youth peer leaders.
- Follow Your Interests- Provide opportunities for choice where teens care about what they are working on and are willing to work longer and harder while learning more in the process.
- Build Community- Create a community with a culture of peer learning and equal opportunity, where young people work together with one another with support and inspiration from peer leaders and staff.
- Respect & Trust- Create a stable environment in which participants feel safe to experiment, explore and innovate and are given time and space to play out their own ideas.
Best Buy is also working with other national nonprofit partners to develop and implement cutting‐edge curriculum and programs for teens at the Centers, such as Grammy Camp and Science Buddies. In addition, each Best Buy Teen Tech Center will have the opportunity to host a Geek Squad Academy, which is a free 2-day tech camp experience for teens led by Best Buy employees and Geek Squad Agents.
Best Buy invites community afterschool programs that have a fundamental commitment to youth, ages 13‐18, to apply for funding to create a Best Buy Teen Tech Center in Atlanta, Dallas, Oakland/SF or Los Angeles.
Minimum eligibility criteria include:
- Organization must be in either Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles or Oakland/SF
- Location must be within an existing and successful afterschool program that already serves youth ages 13‐18.
- Location can be hosted within a public or nonprofit community‐based organization (e.g., afterschool program, community center or library).
- Location should be within the metropolitan area of city.
- Location must be within 15 miles of a Best Buy store to allow for Best Buy employee volunteers. To find store locations, visit bestbuy.com and click on “Store Locator.”
- Host organization must have a space for the Technology Center with a minimum of 1,100 square‐feet.
- The location needs to be ADA compliant.
- Organization must provide a commitment to host the Best Buy Teen Tech Center for a minimum of 3 years.
In the first year, Best Buy will provide a combination of cash and in‐kind assistance to support start‐up costs for the center as well as staffing for the centers. Funding from Best Buy after year 1 will most likely be available as long as the site has demonstrated success and is adhering to all grant requirements.
To ensure the success of the Best Buy Teen Tech Center program, Best Buy is searching for community‐based afterschool programs with a respected track record for achieving results through community‐based initiatives, financial stability, and an ability to embrace new technologies as well as sustain the Tech Center over time (minimum three years):
The primary responsibilities of the community‐based organization (CBO) include:
- Demonstrating a commitment to the Best Buy Teen Tech Center learning model and philosophy.
- Working with schools and other community‐based organizations to build awareness of the program to drive teen participation.
- Hiring, supporting, and retaining a full‐time Technology Center manager.
- Providing an inviting, attractive and safe physical space for the Technology Center location.
- Ensuring access for youth from under‐served communities.
- Enabling participation of Best Buy employees to serve as volunteers at the Center.
- Having a commitment to participation in the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network (mandatory staff training, best practices sharing & lessons learned, participation in evaluation process, etc.).
- Developing financial and community support to help sustain the Teen Tech Center beyond the grant funding period.
- Submitting semi‐annual reports on program aspects such as youth recruitment, college/career activities, challenges, and successes, as well as engaging their youth participants in an annual youth impact survey.
- Adhering to Best Buy Teen Tech Center brand standards and marketing expectations, including websites, social media platforms, collateral, signage and other materials.
- Adhering to all licensing requirements of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network.
Best Buy will provide a combination of cash and in‐kind support for the first year, which will comprise:
- An equipment award that includes the hardware, software and necessary accessories for the center to be fully operational.
- A variety of high‐quality, professional software tools for creating graphics, 3D animation, images, video and music.
- Furniture that reflects the “look and feel” of a teen‐centric space.
- Support from Best Buy and Intel Computer Clubhouse Network staff for facility design and layout, equipment set‐up, software installation, and technical assistance.
- A $50,000 cash award for first‐year program costs. Program funding can be used for staff, staff development, and travel for required training‐related purposes through the ICCN. Program funding cannot be used for general overhead expenditures.
- Cutting‐edge curriculum and programs developed by the Best Buy Foundation national nonprofit partners.
- Ongoing support from Computer Clubhouse Network staff to conduct program evaluation, site visits, programmatic guidance, technology support and general assistance.
- Access to The Village, a Computer Clubhouse social network that enables Clubhouse staff and youth everywhere to meet, interact electronically, collaborate on design activities, and share computer‐based projects.
- Participation in one week of orientation and training for new Teen Tech Center staff at the Museum of Science “flagship” Computer Clubhouse in Boston (travel costs are separate but may be paid with grant funds), as well as written training materials and on‐line documentation to assist in start‐up and ongoing Clubhouse operations.
- Post‐training resources from the Clubhouse Network, including periodic check‐ins and professional development for Technology Center staff.
- Best Buy volunteers to help with local community activities and conduct trainings at centers.
Considerations and restrictions (PLEASE READ CAREFULLY):
1. This opportunity is available to 501(c)(3) community‐based organizations or other public sector entities that have existing afterschool programs and a commitment to youth in under‐served communities. Best Buy does not provide funding for private foundations described under IRS Code Section 509(a), organizations that promote or practice discrimination, political organizations, religious or fraternal organizations (unless for a program that is secular).
2. The initial grant will be to support the operation of the program for one year from date of implementation. Successful grant recipients will be eligible for additional years of funding based on demonstrated success.
3. The estimated costs of maintaining a Best Buy Teen Tech Center are based on a number of assumptions about the Teen Tech Center, the host organization, community location, and geographic setting. Operating expenses reflect the annual costs that the Teen Tech Center incurs in the course of doing business. These costs include personnel expenses, computer support, and program materials and supplies. The annual operating costs are estimated at $90,000 – $100,000, depending on local costs and pay scale.
4. The minimum space requirement of a Best Buy Teen Tech Center is 1,100 square‐feet (including a music studio and an inner‐office for staff). The Technology center must be located in a dedicated, separate area that can secure and safely house high‐end equipment. Each center will be Best Buy branded. With support from Best Buy and the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Technology Center will be furnished and decorated to provide a warm, inviting physical space that encourages creativity, self‐expression, and collaboration.
Features may include:
- Computers in clusters and “pods” (not classroom style or lined up against the wall)
- A table in a central location within the Center as a gathering place for youth to discuss, design, and work together
- Ergonomic chairs (on wheels, to encourage collaboration)
- Carpeting and color specs to create a warm, inviting environment
- Studio lighting
- Bookshelves & reading area
- Exhibit space for youth work (display boards, shelves)
5. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center Coordinator will be assigned to this program 100 percent (40 hours per week) of their time and must have a proven track record in youth services.
Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Help teen members develop projects,
- Recruit, train and support volunteer mentors, with a specific emphasis on Best Buy employees
- Provide community outreach in support of the Teen Tech Center program,
- Provide basic computer maintenance,
- Assist host organization in fundraising and publicity for the Teen Tech Center
- Support youth in pursuing academic and job opportunities, and
- Support other programs and activities of the host organization as time permits.
6. The Teen Tech Center will be open a minimum of 20 hours per week (after school and/or on weekends) throughout the year. Center leadership will be responsible for determining back‐up part‐time support for full‐time Teen Tech Center staff.
7. All teen participants under age 18 must have signed parent/guardian consent forms.
8. Best Buy will have the right to use any content or creative work, art or technology developed by participants engaging in activities at a Best Buy Teen Tech Center.
9. A grant and license agreement with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network will be required.
Required elements of the proposal: Maximum of 5 pages (not including attachments)
Proposals will be evaluated and competitively ranked by a review committee from Best Buy and the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. The review committee may choose to conduct a site visit as part of the selection process. The overall comprehensiveness, quality and clarity of the proposal will be reviewed. Please address each requirement below.
Mission & Strategic Direction (1‐page maximum)
Statement of Community‐Based organization’s mission and strategic direction:
1. Describe how a Best Buy Teen Tech Center can help achieve your current and future objectives.
2. Describe how you expect your participation would contribute to the success of the Best Buy program, as well as serve as part of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network.
Support of Teens (1‐page maximum)
1. Describe how your organization reaches and supports young people. Include number of youth served, related demographic data (e.g., ages served, gender mix, % on free and reduced price lunch program), hours of operation, and schedule of activities.
2. Specifically, describe successful engagement with economically disadvantaged and diverse populations.
3. Describe how a Best Buy Teen Tech Center would support the development of youth at your organization.
4. Describe leadership opportunities for youth within your organization, as well as the role of youth in planning and implementing programs and activities.
Program Information & Commitment to Learning (1‐page maximum)
1. Describe experience with informal learning environments, or willingness to engage your organization in new learning approaches.
2. Describe your experience with using technology as a learning tool.
3. Give examples of prior experience with program evaluation.
Commitment to Technology (1‐page maximum)
1. Give examples of how your organization has embraced technology in your operations, or plans to.
2. Describe how your organization integrates technology into programs, or plans to.
3. Include a description of proposed Best Buy Teen Tech Center location, staff, technology administration infrastructure, and technology support for sustainability. Attach a few photos of the proposed space.Describe planned or existing security infrastructure (both for your IT/data integrity as well as building security) for a Best Buy Teen Tech Center.
Community Relations & Sustainability (1‐page maximum)
1. Describe your volunteerism program.
2. Describe your organization’s support in the community and how you plan to maintain positive visibility of the program.
3. Give examples of your reputation in the community and a demonstrated history of success.
4. Give examples of collaboration with organizations in the community.
5. Describe how you would develop financial and community support to help sustain the Best Buy Teen Tech Center beyond the initial funding period.
1. Include resumes and/or biographies of current key staff that will be working on this project, including the executive director.
2. Include three letters of recommendation that support your collaborative efforts in the community.
3. List of organization’s Board of Directors, if applicable.
4. List of corporate funders and any funding that was received from Best Buy previously.
5. Proposal should include signatures of authorizing officials and the executive director.
1. Organization operating budget for two years.
2. Most recent financial statement, audited if available.
3. Documentation of current tax‐exempt status.
Proposal deadlines and administrative information:
In order to answer any questions you might have and provide more detail on the program, we will be hosting a RFP workshop at the time and location indicated below. If you are unable to attend at that time, you may participate in the webinar scheduled for July 23, 2015.
Proposal due date Proposal must be submitted no later than 5:00pm EDT on August 15, 2015.
Visit www.computerclubhouse.org/bestbuy for submission instructions.
Proposal requirements and information
Proposals must be submitted electronically.
Notification date: October 31st 2015
General Information Sessions
When: June 30, 2015. 2:00-3:30pm
Where: Impact Hub
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
When: July 9, 2015. 2:00-3:30pm
Where: EXPO Center
3980 Bill Robertson Lane, Los Angeles, CA 90037
When: July 14, 2015. 9:30-11:00am
Where: Big Thought
1409 S. Lamar St. # 1015, Dallas, TX 75215
When: July 21, 2015. 9:30-11:00am
Where: United Way, 100 Edgewood Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
Webinar (if unable to attend the Information Session)
When: July 23, 2015. 10:00am PDT, 12:00pm CDT, 1:00pm EDT
Check web site for specific call-in information one week prior to the webinar