System i Helps Catholic Charities Spend Its Money on the Needy
June 19, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In the IT business these days, vendors talk a lot about doing more with less, and while having a lower total cost of ownership is a big deal, it generally means that some small company or big corporation now has more money to play with, and it doesn’t generally directly impinge on the lives of people. Not so with OS/400 shop Catholic Charities, which is a non-profit located in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis in the home state of the AS/400, iSeries, and System i.
Catholic Charities served 1.1 million meals to hungry people last year and it runs 14 housing programs that provides more than 1,000 beds to homeless people every night. Every penny that the non-profit organization doesn’t spend on information technology is food in someone’s stomach and a place for them to rest their heads. And that is what makes this organization exemplary of the values of the AS/400 platform, and that is why IBM is telling the non-profit’s story to the world.
The organization provides identification cards to the people it serves, which gives them a means of showing who they are (something many homeless people lack) and a sense of belonging. Perhaps more importantly, the charity’s CommunityCard tends to discourage those with a predator bend from using its facilities, since they don’t want to be identified or traceable, which has the effect of making life safer for the other residents in its temporary housing. The applications behind this identification system run on the i5 520 that Catholic Charities has just acquired. This machine not only supports the housing facilities, but also runs Lotus Domino and Quickplace applications inside logical partitions, and will soon run the workloads of two remote servers. This consolidation will help Catholic Charities reduce its IT budget by $10,000 a year (which is about 3 percent of its total IT budget), and since moving to the OS/400 platform, the organization has already saved $30,000. That may not sound like much, but it is a lot of meals.
The system also runs St Joseph’s Home for Children, a shelter that assists some 2,000 children in distress each year; the Northside Development Center, which provides early childhood education and support; the Evergreen Residence, which helps single men and women establish a rental history so they can become self-sufficient; Branch III, which is an employment and skills development center; and Seton Services, which provides prenatal and adoption services.
That’s a lot of good to pack into one little black box.