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9/1/2005
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IT Industry Rallies For Katrina Relief

IT companies are rushing to implement a wide range of programs aimed at encouraging donations.

The IT industry is rallying to support victims of Hurricane Katrina with a wide range of programs to encourage donations.

EMC, for instance, donated an initial $25,000 to the victims, and is encouraging employees to help by matching their donations, a company spokesperson said. Similar efforts late last year led to $1.3 million raised to help victims of the massive Asian tsunami.

Intel has already contributed $1 million via the Intel Foundation to fund relief for the Katrinia disaster, and is matching dollar-for-dollar contributions by employees. A similar effort earlier this year raised $5 million in tsunami relief, company executives said.

The HP Company Foundation has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross, and will match employees' financial contributions through Sept. 30, up to a total company match of $1 million, a company spokesperson said.

The company may also offer office space at its Houston site to agencies providing disaster relief-related services to New Orleans residents that are being relocated to the Houston area, and is talking with its partners to make technology solutions available to the relief efforts, the spokesperson said.

Brocade Communications Systems is matching employee contributions, up to $150,000. The funds will go to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund.

CDW is matching employees on a 4-to-1 basis for the first $100,000 that employees raise. The funds will be sent to the American Red Cross, America's Second Harvest, the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity, a company spokesperson said.

Computer Associates is in the process of setting up a fund to let employees assist coworkers affected by the hurricane. The company is also matching 2-to-1 employee contributions to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.

D&H Distributing plans to donate 1 percent of its dealer sales on Sept. 12 to the American Red Cross, a figure expected to be in the tens of thousands of dollars based on sales expectations, according to the Harrisburg, Pa.-based company. D&H is also arranging a process for employee donations and has asked vendor partners to offer similar rebates, discounts or matching donations that day.

Tech Data will match employees' contributions to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Tech Data CEO Steve Raymund's Raymund Foundation will also match donations.

Cisco Systems is donating $1 million and adding up to $1 million from the Cisco Foundation to match employee contributions. As of Wednesday, more than $250,000 has been pledged by Cisco executives and employees.

McAfee has donated $50,000, and also plans to match funds through an employee contribution program.

Late Wednesday, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison sent a letter to employees that said, in part: "We have been in touch with our customers and partners, private and public, and we have pledged our full and expedited support to any technical assistance related to recovery and relief in the region." He then pledged that Oracle will "match contributions, dollar for dollar," made by Oracle's U.S. employees to the American Red Cross, Hurricanes 2005 Relief Fund.

Oracle partner TUSC will help Katrina-affected Oracle customers in the region get their databases up and running. TUSC will provide up to a week of continuous assistance to get the systems back to production levels, said Rich Niemiec, CEO of the Chicago-based integrator.

Salesforce.com, San Francisco, will match donations to the Red Cross or Habitat For Humanity for a total of $250,000.

Other IT vendors are offering other types of help as well.

At least two data recovery vendors are offering to aid companies and individuals who need to recover data from hurricane-impacted computers.

Tugboat Enterprises, British Columbia, Canada, is offering complimentary copies of its Lifeboat Data Rescue software and complimentary technical support to victims in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee and South Carolina.

Novato, Calif.-based DriveSavers is offering discounted data recovery services to consumers and businesses whose computers and data storage devices suffered from water damage. The company is waiving its normal $200 attempt fee and reducing service fees by one-third through November 30.

Verizon Wireless, while working to restore mobile phone service, is also providing residents of New Orleans and the surrounding area free local and long-distance calls, free battery charging and technical support.

3Com is insecuring a toll-free phone number for use by state, local and disaster relief agencies in the area that need donated IT equipment. The Marlborough, Mass.-based vendor is putting together VoIP and wireless kits, staging and pre-configuring them in its Atlanta, Ga. offices and driving the gear to impacted areas. Agencies such as the Lousianna Department of Health and Hospitals have already received equipment, a spokesman said.

And Cingular Wireless has set up free emergency local and long-distance calling stations at its company-owned retail stores in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The ASCII Group, Bethesda, Md., is coordinating requests from its reseller members to offer e-mail, DNS and Web sites for other ASCII members in the Gulf Coast.

Efforts wil be expanded to help all businesses in the region, according to Doug Young, vice president of distribution programs and membership services at ASCII. Several members, including Macro Systems, Fairfax, Va., Aprima IT, Pasadena, Tex., and WonderKids Computer, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., have volunteered to the cause, according to ASCII.

SCOTT CAMPBELL contributed to this story.

Note: This story was updated Friday morning with information on other IT vendor programs.

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