History of the Cristina Foundation

The National Cristina Foundation (NCF) supplies computer technology and training to people with disabilities, students at risk, and economically disadvantaged persons. It provides them the opportunities to lead more independent and productive lives. Visit National Cristina Foundation or 20 Years of NCF online.

NCF started as a small operation – with one Apple IIe computer in a special education class in the Yonkers Public Schools in Westchester County, NY. Visit History of the Cristina Foundation in the US.
After this initial effort NCF developed a computer Re-use Model, which it still uses today. Visit The NCF Strategy.

NCF took its mission outside of the United States very quickly. In 1986 it embarked on its first trip to China, taking a hundred Apple IIes donated by John Scully, the president of Apple at that time. China had very few mainstream computers in the 1980s. These computers were the first ever brought into China for the benefit of anyone with a disability.
The Chinese were open to NCF’s approach because Deng Pufang, the son of the Chinese Premier, was himself disabled, and an advocate for people with disabilities in China.

David Bruce McMahan and Yvette Marrin made numerous trips to China from 1986 on, taking educators and trainers to demonstrate how the technology could best serve people with disabilities. NCF introduced educational software to students with disabilities to China, and aided in the development of Chinese voice synthesizers for the blind.
After China, NCF expanded its mission to Ireland, Costa Rica, Poland, Lebanon, Brazil and other places where the need was greatest. The populations NCF served abroad expanded over time to include adults of all ages and persons who were economically disadvantaged.

In its work to direct computers across the education to careers spectrum both in the U. S. and abroad, skill development has been a critical concern. David Bruce McMahan undertook in 1990 a PhD in labor economics, specializing in disabled populations, after being influenced by the U. S. Harris polls findings in 1987 that two thirds of individuals with disabilities were unemployed and wanting to work.