Direct Response to Increased Needs

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Rio Vista Center
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Rio Vista Center is a non-profit, Christian organization that responds compassionately to the needs of the Valley’s less fortunate through mobilizing and working with the community.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


This Chinese proverb illustrates the transformation that has occurred at The Rio Vista Center (RVC) in South Phoenix as a result of this year’s successful integration of Microsoft technology into the Rio Vista Center’s expanded service delivery model. Beginning in 2002, the Center provided emergency food assistance and clothing to area residents, which grew to serve 23,000 area residents by 2008. In early 2009, the Rio Vista Center established a Human Services Headquarters (HSH) and Career Development Center (CDC) within the Rio Vista Center which utilizes Microsoft technology to power the delivery of critical human services and workforce resources to area residents.


To facilitate this expansion of services, the Rio Vista Center formed a collaboration of partners that include the City of Phoenix Department of Human Services, the City of Phoenix Workforce Connection, the AZ Department of Economic Security, as well as other faith, business and nonprofit partners to deliver expanded services to area residents.


The Rio Vista Center expansion was a direct response to the dramatic increase in the needs of the community it serves in South Phoenix. The Rio Vista Center operates in a zip code with a population of 63,000 residents, with some 17,000 of those living below the poverty level. Among the adult population, 45% have less than a high school education. Per capita income is less than 50% of the US average and long term poverty is endemic. Gang violence plagues the neighborhood, and many youth live without the hope of bright futures because high school graduation rates are low and gang participation is high.


Rio Vista’s Human Services Headquarters (HSH) has the capacity to provide direct services to 51,000 people annually. Rio Vista volunteers are trained to staff the HSH to provide assistance to area residents with online applications for federal food stamps, state AHCCCS health benefits, and school food programs. Located right in the neighborhood, the HSH provides ease of access to computer terminals run with Microsoft technology that provide a vital link between community residents and the services/benefits they need to improve the quality of life for their families.. Microsoft’s contribution of Microsoft XP Operating Systems made this linkage possible since many of the computers donated to the HSH arrived with no operating system. The cost of acquiring operating systems for these computers proved prohibitive, and Microsoft’s contribution has allowed Rio Vista to furnish the HSH with a bank of operating computers that allow area residents, with the assistance of RVC volunteers, internet access to services at no cost.

Rio Vista’s Career Development Center (CDC) serves as an employment resource center and training facility for area residents seeking employment. Rio Vista volunteers have been trained to engage clients with job searching and employment resources through the Phoenix Workforce Connection (PWC), a division of the City of Phoenix Community and Economic Development Department. Computers have internet access, and e-mail, voice mail, printing and copying services are also available.. Through Phoenix Workforce Connection, the CDC utilizes resume builder and skill assessment software along with access to their employer network to connect area residents seeking employment with the City’s workforce system. Microsoft’s donation of Office 2003 Professional Software has enabled CDC clients to write professional resumes and receive training through the Office Suite of programs. Training on this Microsoft software provides computer skills that are marketable in numerous occupations. Additionally, the CDC will offer various workshops, practice interview panels, and provide career coaching.

The Rio Vista Center has expanded its service delivery model from one that provides basic needs and emergency assistance of food and clothing to include human services and career development resources that help area residents become self sufficient. Currently, both the HSH and the CDC are operated by trained Rio Vista volunteer staff for up to 20/hours per week.

With the help of Microsoft software in the Human Services Headquarters and the Career Development Center, the Rio Vista Center has transformed their mission from provision of basic and emergency assistance to facilitation of an integrated delivery model of services and resources that lead to self sufficiency for area residents.

Thank you Microsoft and Techsoup for helping the Rio Vista Center expand our delivery model to help the residents of our neighborhood live into their full potential and thereby revitalize our neighborhood as they develop.

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact
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