Saturday Academy

"Microsoft technologies have greatly increased staff efficiency and organizational reach, enabling Saturday Academy to do what we do best: ignite children's natural curiosity and love of learning."

Spokesperson for Saturday Academy

Software Donations Bolster Unique Science Academy

The mission of Saturday Academy (SA) is to inspire young people to explore their world through hands-on learning with experts and professionals. SA emphasizes the sciences, especially engineering, technology, and health science because of their essential role in modern life. 

Since it was founded in 1983, the Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit has served nearly 150,000 students in Oregon and southwestern Washington state. SA strives to give kids opportunities unavailable elsewhere. High school students, for example, do cancer research with world-renowned doctors. Middle school students use electron microscopes to learn about nanotechnology from leading professors. And elementary school students learn to program robots from a professional computer programmer. To provide these experiences, SA collaborates with nonprofits, government, schools, and industry. 

In 2006, SA became an independent nonprofit after years as a program of Portland State University. As an independent organization, SA could no longer rely on the university for technology infrastructure resources. 

Fortunately, TechSoup was there to help provide essential donations. Many of SA's programs take place outside of normal business hours. With Remote Web Workplace, staff can perform important job functions from anywhere at any time. 

Both staff and students utilize Microsoft's Server and Office software. SA staff use Microsoft Access to maintain programming, donor, and student data. Students use Office for many of the lab-based projects they work on. And hosting all this data is the server software connecting the network of staff and student computers. Since becoming independent, SA's enrollment rates have increased more than 19 percent. SA credits that feat to support from the TechSoup software donation program and Microsoft.