ARLINGTON, VA. – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has taken up the cause of putting technology in the hands of seniors and people with disabilities with its CEA Foundation, a charitable organization.
The group, founded in 2012, has the mission to link seniors and people with disabilities with technology that improves their lives.
The CEA Foundation provided grants to six organizations in 2013 that are using consumer electronics to support seniors and/or people with disabilities. In addition, the CEA Foundation supported other organizations with donations.
It has a 15-member board of trustees that includes John Shalam (founder and chair of Voxx International) as chairman, Larry Richenstein (from Peak Ventures and Unwired) as vice chair, and Veronica O’Connell (CEA’s Congressional affairs VP) as secretary and treasurer. Stephen Ewell is the group’s executive director.
At the 2014 International CES the foundation hosted a panel called “Consumer Electronics Can Change the World” that featured representatives from AfterShokz, Google and Samsung talking about the impact their companies are having through philanthropy and design of products that can improve their consumer’s lives. The foundation also interviewed many of their grant recipients and board members on the Experience CEA stage.
This month the CEA Foundation will also be holding a panel and be a sponsor at the Cal State Northridge 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, from today through March 22, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.
The organization is also now in its grant cycle with decisions on grants for this year to be announced by the end of April, according to Ewell. The organizations that have previously received grants include American Foundation for the Blind, Hearing Loss Association of America, Lighthouse International, Selfhelp Community Services, Older Adults Technology Services, and Raising the Floor.
The CEA Foundation said that industry members can help by mentioning to people within their companies about the work that the CEA Foundation is doing to represent the industry and give back to these important communities.
Ewell noted that the foundation has received “a good reaction from the industry” since members see it as “an opportunity to support non-profit groups” that are helping seniors and people with disabilities.
“The foundation also helps create awareness” between members and the groups and “build relationships … find out what their concerns are,” Ewell said, which is “a win-win” for everyone.
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