The National Cristina Foundation: Bridging the Digital Divide
Harry “Bud” Rizer, CEO of the National Cristina Foundation, holds close ties with the nonprofit’s origins and cause. In fact, he was there before its conception, exploring opportunities for technology to serve the disabled nearly 34 years ago. At the time, he was wrapping up his doctoral work at John Hopkins University. Part of his research was focused on how computers could benefit individuals with disabilities; a project that drew the attention of one particular couple. “I was visited by people from New York who were wondering if computers could help people with disabilities,” Rizer recalled. “So I took them around my lab, showed them people with just about every type of disability who were able to interface with a computer and said, ‘well, what do you think?’” What they witnessed was clearly inspiring, for that same couple later became the founders of the National Cristina Foundation: Yvette Marrin and the late Bruce McMahon. They invited Rizer to join the Board of Directors where he served, and he became the organization’s CEO in 2008.