Technology Changed Our Face

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
Saint Anselm's Cross-Cultural Community Center
City & State:
Garden Grove, 
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The Mission of Saint Anselm's Cross-Cultural Community Center is "to empower immigrant and under-served communities to lead healthy and self-sufficient lives in American society."

Submission Information

Impact Essay

Saint Anselm’s Cross-Cultural Community Center in Garden Grove California was founded in 1976 to provide urgently needed assistance to Orange County’s diverse refugee and immigrant populations. As a compassionate instrument for the humanitarian traditions of America, St. Anselm’s opened its door in 1976 to join hands with other community resources to help the fortunate refugees who have come into this country to rebuild their lives. From grass-roots concepts of providing food and clothing to the thousands of Vietnamese refugees held in Camp Pendleton in 1976 to the structured community services listed, St. Anselm’s has evolved into a Center that serves all ethnic communities in Orange County.

During 33 years in service to the community, St. Anselm’s has consistently increased the scope and outreach of its services and are committed to the mission of assisting these individuals and family of diverse cultures and backgrounds to fulfill their potential and becoming a good citizen. Through an array of 12 different programs and services available under one roof, St. Anselm’s have assisted thousand of refugees, asylees, and immigrants to secure employment, acquire language skills, gain US citizenship and more.

Recalling our old days of business operation with limited technology knowledge in terms of theory and equipment we used to utilize ten typewriters, half of them are obsolete, to run the business. At that time, we have many refugees coming to Orange County as in the California gold rush time. People moved to Orange County for more generous welfare benefits, a more congenial climate, and or reunification with extended family and friends. Each client has a personal file that we need to document all the services or works we provided them and all the documentations are handwritten. The problem become worse when ones’ writing is illegible that would be a big strain to try to figure out what was written. It is also time consuming matter when we have to do the paperwork with handwriting. This is very critical considering tons of paperwork, personal records and reports we have to submit on a monthly-basis to our grantors, to the county, the state that we have a contract with. At that time the only computer that has access to the internet was our Director’s computer. Until the year 2000 we begin to have an additional one, but it is available for 30 staff and people who need to use it have to sign up along with a weekly-basis schedule.


Only by the year 2001 and under new management that every staff for the first time has a personal computer with access to the internet but all of them were stand-alone computers. Each computer came in with its own pre-installed operating system, either Window 98 or later on Window 2000, Windows XP Home or Windows XP Pro edition. No network infrastructure and centralized data storage were established. System crash and data back-up were a nightmare to our staff which is not really computer literate at that time. Each staff was assigned a USB flash drive and was fully responsible for their electronic data storage and back-up. Backing up data on a carried-around flash drive is really inconvenient. In case of lost or misplacement, breach of confidentiality on staff work and our clients’ information could have been a serious problem.

From such an unstable and unsecured technology, we did a research and applied for technology donation through In March 2008, we were granted licenses for Microsoft Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange 2007, Microsoft XP Professional and Microsoft Office Suite. We were able to upgrade to server-client network. The server has been our centralized data storage and provided security to our files and folders in one place. In addition to the server operating system, we have been able to utilize Microsoft SharePoint to build an intranet for communication within our Center. Our staff has been kept updated with upcoming events and news in the Center but also in the community at large, as well.

As a non-profit organization that relies upon fundraising, Microsoft technology allows us to create a huge database of donors and supporters with different information necessary to cultivate and to boost our fundraising efforts. Communication to our colleagues, partners, supporters, grantors and clients has been significantly improved. We were able to utilize our emailing system to spread out our newsletter, to inform the public with our Center’s activities, to send invitation and reminder on upcoming events and meetings. Microsoft Outlook facilitates our contacts with the whole world out there, along with the home web page establishment more people gets to know our service better and at the same time more support was provided. Microsoft Office Suite has contributed a whole lot more to our staff’s daily workload. Microsoft Access has been utilized for all of our client’s data and scheduling. We provide transportation to thousands of frail seniors in Orange County but we never missed any transportation scheduled for our clients. Client tracking and retention services have been easier than ever. Utilization of Microsoft Access for our client’s database has significantly increased our client enrollment to different programs and services offered at the Center. Client service logs would be exported to spreadsheet as a requirement from our grantors. Formulation in Microsoft Excel has helped our staff in calculation purpose, in counting different services based criteria, in conditional match. Public presentation has been even better. We would no longer have to use a big heavy overhead for presentation of our Center and our different services to the community. Our staff could now create their own program with PowerPoint presentation. Our Center showcase has been made public in talk shows, in fundraising campaigns and in public presentations. Without the presentation feature of Microsoft Office Suite, we could hardly reach and demonstrate our multi-cultural services to people in need. Our marketing materials, fundraising and outreach flyers/brochures are mainly created in Microsoft Publisher. The availability of templates has eased our staff’s design, which inevitably contribute to the reduction of time-consuming on creation of flyers/brochures and banners. Last but not least is Microsoft Word, a main and important feature in our daily work. Letters and proposals are created through this wonderful suite.

In short, nobody or nothing allows us to do our business more effectively and efficiently than the advances of Microsoft Technology. Microsoft technology has completely changed the face of our center that not only benefits our day to day operations, but also the lives of thousand refugees and immigrants we serve. We have been relied and will rely on this technology for every aspect of our business to optimize our organizational and operational efficiency. Thousand thanks to Microsoft that has completely changed our Face!

Submission Category
Stable and Secure Technology
Project Image
Supporting Work Files