Michael and Maria Schwartz, both 2004 graduates of the San Antonio campus, established Technology Shared Foundation in March 2022 on their own and began working on how best to serve their community around Savannah, Ga.
They met with the City of Savannah, which has 10 locations around the city called Golden Age
Resource Centers that provide a variety of programs for both youth and senior citizens in lower-income or disadvantaged areas. That seemed a perfect fit for the services that the Schwartzes were offering, and a great partnership was born.
“We started in October 2022 at one of the City of Savannah’s newest facilities. Each week we provide training sessions on the use of Google, Microsoft, and social media applications like Zoom, Facebook, and Instagram. In addition, we train on how to use hardware such as cell phones, tablets, and PCs, These are things most seniors have heard about but have not had a lot of practice with and are very wary of the technology,” noted Michael.
“We have recently expanded into a second location, conducting training sessions with the youth after-school program and partnered with the summer camp for kids as well.”
Still early in the game, Michael is the primary trainer for the sessions, with a few college students that volunteer their time.
Michael and Maria still work full-time. Working remotely allows them to provide technology training to their community. Both are Veterans of the U.S. Army. Michael works for Microsoft, having spent a decade in the Seattle area before relocating two years ago to Georgia. After retiring from a 22-year career in the U.S. Army, Maria works for Medcor, managing Occupational Health clinics nationwide.
With his extensive background in technology, Michael’s knowledge base is above the level of most. He is fully aware that there are many who do not have the basic understanding of everyday technology and how to use it safely and effectively.
“Either you are part of the social equity problem or part of the solution. We chose to be part of the solution,” said Michael. “For me it boils down to providing an opportunity to people who are underserved, don’t have the ability to take a college course, don’t have a technology center in their home or are unable to buy Microsoft products. These groups need more guidance to get to the same level of success using technology.”
Michael mentioned his training centers heavily around Google products and services since many of them are free and available across various platforms. Learners can use them on a smartphone, tablet or computer at the library. Most users can accomplish many tasks with this knowledge gained.
“Feedback from participants has been positive. Initially they feared technology, but as the year progressed both seniors and youths wanted to do more and use the programs that had been taught in class. Many even adopted new technology by buying their own smart phones, tablets, and laptops. It’s been exciting to see their development and enthusiasm throughout the year,” said Michael.
“We discovered the youth are equally in need. A lot of the school-aged children know how to use an Xbox, PlayStation, a joystick, or do things on their phones. But the basic fundamentals on using a computer, and the mindset of how to be safe and successful with technology was not there,” he said. “We are creating a generation that knows how to use an application on the phone, but they don’t know the technology behind it and how to translate that to other platforms.”
For the coming year, the Schwartzes are looking forward to expanding their services and adding volunteers and programs to help more individuals. They will be collaborating with a local technology company to offer Cyber Security training with help from a federal grant. They are also planning to develop a “Train the Trainer” model and work with military spouses to provide them additional opportunities.
Michael and Maria have both benefited from their education at Wayland. Both pursued their
education as adults while Maria was stationed in San Antonio at Brooke Army Medical Center. Both forewent college in the traditional route, opting for military service instead, where they met and married.
“Later in life we realized the value of having a formal education. We learned about Wayland through the community, friends, and co-workers who were attending as well. We liked that Wayland offered various degrees, all our professors were flexible and worked with us when duty called. We felt they genuinely cared about us.,” said Michael. Maria went on to attain a Master of Arts degree from Webster University afterwards.
To learn more about Michael and Maria’s work, visit their website at
Michael serves as Executive Director of the Foundation, while Maria is Chief of Staff.