Teamed up for Technology

Teamed up for Technology

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PhotobucketWhen local school principal Peg Fischer wanted to set her students up with a computer lab in 1998, she headed to Crayons to Computers. Fischer found out that the organization was geared more toward classroom computers than equipping schools with entire computer labs, though.


To meet her schools’ needs, Fischer talked with a Crayons to Computers volunteer from General Electric, who set Fischer up with 24 computers for a lab. But Fischer and her husband saw the organization’s need for help, so they started volunteering in the computer end of Crayons to Computers.


As the organization continued to grow, it became clear that a separate nonprofit certainly would help the cause, as Crayons to Computers didn’t have the space needed to fulfill all of the city’s schools’ needs in the computer realm. So in 2003 Cincinnati Computer Cooperative (C3) launched as an official non-profit organization.


C3 recycles and refurbishes computers to sell at an affordable price for students, low-income area residents, senior citizens, schools and other non-profit organizations. As C3’s treasurer and president, Fischer and her husband serve as just two of about 150 volunteers who make C3 possible.


Those 150 volunteers do everything from unloading computers from donors’ cars to sorting the parts for recycling to wiping and crushing hard drives to ensure data security. Fischer herself, takes care of the business side of the organization by keeping the books, paying the bills, and taking care of sales invoices and receipts.



With everyone working together, C3 is able to offer complete computer packages (monitor, CPU, mouse, keyboard and a licensed copy of Windows XP) for just $75 or $150. Newer computers and computers with a licensed copy of Microsoft Office installed generally are the packages that run for the higher price.


Fischer serves as C3’s treasurer in addition to her full-time position as the principal at St. Thomas More School in Withamsville, Ohio. As a local school’s principal, she has experienced the customer side of C3.


"Since we didn’t have to put big bucks into buying brand new computers, we could really leverage our money, and our dollar stretched a lot farther," Fischer says. "So now we have Smart Boards in all of our classrooms, and in fact, this year we bought clickers too, which we absolutely love."


Beyond allowing schools to get more technology for their buck, C3 is able to offer licensed Microsoft products as a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher. "We are a Catholic school, so we try to do things on a very upright and moral basis, and all of our software is legal. We don’t have any gray areas on software, and C3 has really helped to do that," Fischer says.


For more information about C3, how to get involved and how you can donate your own computer, check out




Photographer: Ashley Sohngen

Model: Peg Fischer

Location: BOOST…for meeting’s sake