Closing the Digital Divide with Refurbished PCs
JANUARY 4, 2015
Tags: RefurbishedRefurbishing Workshop manager, Karita Matlock, at work
The main contributor to the Digital Divide is a lack of access to affordable computer equipment. Under resourced people who could benefit greatly by connecting to the Internet simply do not have the funds to purchase a PC.
At Connecting for Good, we live by the motto “Reuse Before You Recycle.” Every year millions of perfectly usable computers are stripped down and their components recycled. The cash return on this practice is less than $12.00 per unit. Not only is reuse better for the environment, it allows us to create high quality Internet ready PCs for low income families and cash-strapped nonprofit organizations. We also offer free and affordable ways for them to connect to the Internet.
These refurbished PCs are a valuable resource for the senior citizens, inner city students and low income families who are receiving them. Who knows? If by placing an affordable Internet-connected PC in the hands of a teenager living in a housing project, you might have just launched the career of the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs!
At Connecting for Good, we are the electronic version of the gleaners who gather useful food from the fields after the harvest. We want to put still useful PCs back into the community where they can do a world of good. In 2014, we provided nearly 1,000 refurbished computers to low income Kansas City residents for as low as $75.00. Some of them we use to create public access computer centers in schools, churches and community centers. In the coming year, we plan to double our output now that we are operating a full scale, professionally staffed computer refurbishing workshop.
Our staff, interns and volunteers take used desktops and laptops and create high quality, Internet ready PCs. The refurbishing operation provides over one third of Connecting for Good’s annual operating income. Additionally, these efforts provide jobs with us for people from the urban core and a chance to learn marketable technical skills for our interns and volunteers.
As a participant in the Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program, a software grants program allows us to provide these computers to those who complete our free digital life skills classes and meet income qualifications. Every computer that comes out of our shop has a fully registered copy of the Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft Office is also available.
We follow a strict set of data destruction standards that ensure the confidentiality of the information on the donated computers we receive. What we can’t use, we send out to certified recycling organizations so nothing ends up in a landfill. To meet our outreach goals, we need hundreds of used computers every month.
Won’t you help? You may be able to give us PC equipment that you don’t use and get a year end tax deduction at the same time. What is no longer useful to you can be turned into something that will truly change people’s lives for the better!
- If you are interested in giving your equipment toward our efforts, please use our Computer Donation Form.
- If you would like to volunteer in our refurbishing operations, use this form.
- See About Us to learn more about Connecting for Good.