First Access program gives Oklahoma organizations a head start on State Surplus items
By Christa Helfrey
The State of Oklahoma's First Access program, housed within the Office of Management and Enterprise Services Capital Assets Management division, is revolutionizing the way organizations access and buy surplus items from state government. Launched on Feb. 1 this year, the program has already attracted more than 90 organizations, including school districts, nonprofits and other governmental entities, eager to take advantage of the opportunity to buy surplus items before they are available at public auction.
First Access is designed to help our state’s nonprofits, municipalities and local government groups propel their missions of supporting Oklahomans by providing them with items like furniture, office equipment and technology devices. By offering these items at a reduced cost, the state is not only supporting these organizations but also promoting sustainability by reducing waste.
Organizations that participate in the program have an opportunity for significant cost savings, allowing them to allocate resources to other critical areas. For instance, schools that have long needed updated technology could likely find a solution on the First Access platform. Nonprofits, too, have been beneficiaries of the program. Many of these organizations operate on tight budgets and depend on donations to keep their operations running. The First Access program has allowed them to acquire much-needed supplies and resources at lower costs, enabling them to serve their communities more effectively.
One organization that has benefitted from the program is Class Matters, a local nonprofit that provides STEM exposure to socially and economically disadvantaged students in Oklahoma City. After receiving its first building as a donation, the nonprofit struggled to acquire necessary equipment and furniture. However, since joining First Access, Class Matters has been able to purchase tables, chairs, TVs and a large whiteboard at a significantly reduced cost, enabling it to outfit the new building and provide crucial resources to students.
"I feel so encouraged," said Dr. Darron Lamkin, Class Matters founder and president. "Thank you for believing in me and making the impossible possible."
First Access is available through GovDeals, the state's user-friendly online auction platform, which makes it easy to browse categories and place orders. New items become available all the time, and Program Coordinator Rebecca Watson is dedicated to helping organizations find what they need.
"If we don't have it here, you never know what's going to come through the door the next day," she said, "so I keep an eye out for the next best thing for someone."
The State of Oklahoma's First Access program is a testament to OMES' mission of "Serving those who serve Oklahomans," and is making a real difference for organizations across the state. As it continues to grow and more organizations participate, it's clear that First Access is more than just a smart way for the state to manage its surplus items. It's a tool for empowering organizations to achieve their goals and better serve the people of Oklahoma.
First Access is free to join, and interested entities can visit the First Access webpage to learn how to request membership.
For questions or more information about First Access, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.