PCs for People has partnered with Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse (AFTRR), a Digitunity program, on an innovative program built to advance the work of nonprofit computer refurbishers. In order to provide high quality refurbished computers with secure, authentic software to individuals in need, PCs for People and Digitunity turned to Microsoft for a solution. The result isa new, national-scale program with a charitable purpose — all proceeds go towards closing the digital divide.

The pandemic has exposed just how wide the digital divide is today, as tens of millions of Americans are negatively impacted. Rising to meet the moment, Microsoft recognized PCs for People’s leadership in the refurbishing industry, granting PCs for People the coveted Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) status. Doing so provides Microsoft with a means to help refurbishers install low-cost Windows and Office licenses on computers that are distributed to vulnerable populations across the globe. Digitunity has joined forces with PCs for People to bring this new program to market.

“It is an honor to be recognized by Microsoft, partner with AFTRR, and provide our industry with a solution to device equity,” says Casey Sorensen, CEO of PCs for People. “I got a home computer when I was 9-years-old and decided that day I wanted a career in IT. The pandemic has shown millions of kids don’t have this same opportunity.”

Proceeds from the sale of licenses help support the Alliance for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse (AFTRR), a community of nonprofit technology refurbishers with the shared agenda of bridging the digital divide. PCs for People has been an integral part of the AFTRR community since the group came together in 2016. 

Digitunity serves in a backbone support role for AFTRR, providing ongoing support, fostering the group’s strategic work, aligning activities, building awareness, advancing policy, and creating a space for the sharing of best practices, networking, and problem solving. Collectively, the AFTRR community refurbished and disseminated an estimated 300,000 computers in 2019 alone.

“There’s never been a more critical moment for this kind of work,” says Scot Henley, Executive Director of Digitunity. “We are proud to lock arms with PCs for People and support the AFTRR community, each member making a positive impact on so many lives, all across the country.”

Refurbisher Lou August of Wilderness Technology Alliance, a Washington, DC-area nonprofit refurbisher had an immediate need for low-cost Windows licenses and was the first to take advantage of the new program. Funded by the Washington, DC city government to help vulnerable members of the community, more than 180 refurbished computers were being prepared for individuals on the city’s food stamp program. These low-cost, genuine Windows operating system licenses help August finish the job and make a tangible impact.

“Microsoft Windows and Office are essential to our refurbishing operation because our computers go to low income individuals seeking computer skills for employment,” says August. “Knowledge of Windows and Office is essential in the workplace.  Better yet, the revenue from our purchases goes to support digital equity, so it is a win-win-win for everyone!”

Third party refurbishers interested in registering for licenses can do so at mar.pcsforpeople.org.

About AFTRR & Digitunity

AFTRR is an initiative of Digitunity, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to eliminate the technology gap, through and with a network of stakeholders, so that everyone can thrive in a digitally-connected society. Learn more about Digitunity at digitunity.org and AFTRR at aftrr.org.