We are extremely proud to announce that PCs for People is expanding our reach to a new city: Philadelphia, PA! This expansion is funded by a $500,000 grant from the Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) to the City of Philadelphia’s Digital Literacy Alliance (DLA), as well as City general funds and previous DLA funds from partners Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
While we have not yet found a physical space to call home, PCs for People Pennsylvania is the organization’s newest location and will be used for retail, e-recycling, and refurbishing. This expansion was announced at a community laptop distribution event on Monday, March 27, 2023. Fifty laptop computers were given out at no cost to eligible residents connected with the nonprofit organization Ceiba. Funding for the computers was provided by The City of Philadelphia.
Press Release Excerpt:
“Technology is a critical part of daily life – whether it is to apply for jobs, access an online class, or request medical care. As the City works to achieve digital access for all Philadelphians, we will continue to invest in resources, so everyone has access to the internet, devices, and the digital skills needed to use these tools,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I’m excited for PCs for People to join the efforts within the City’s Digital Literacy Alliance and provide low-cost devices and support to our residents who need it most.”
While a 2021 survey showed improvements in digital access among Philadelphia residents, 16 percent of households still lack a high-speed home internet connection and 25 percent still lack a working home computer or large screen device. Among low-income residents, 37 percent have neither a computer nor a tablet. A key strategy in the City’s Digital Equity Plan is to scale a system of computer recycling and refurbishing to ensure there are low-cost and free computers available to residents in need.
“Research has shown that access to a large-screen device – a laptop, desktop, or tablet – that is connected to the internet, reduces the homework gap and increases participation in the labor force,” said the City of Philadelphia’s Digital Inclusion Manager, Juliet Fink Yates. “Building an ecosystem that keeps devices out of landfills, provides devices to those in need, and offers a much-needed system of technical support to extend the lifecycle of those devices, benefits all Philadelphians.”
This contract with PCs for People is possible thanks to a grant award of $500,000 from Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF) to the DLA, as well as City general funds and previous DLA funds from partners Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T.
“We’re excited to learn that DLA is moving funds to PCs for People to do just that: expand device recycling, refurbishing, and distribution in Philadelphia,” said Karla Jimenez-Magdaleno, Program Associate at IPMF. “It’s inspiring to witness how DLA is providing tangible support to Philadelphians through a thoughtful process that took the time to ensure that the funding could reach as many people as possible.”
“In today’s digital world, it is vital that everyone has access to these resources, regardless of their background or financial situation,” said Joseph Benson, PCs for People’s Vice President of Business Development. “We believe that access to computers, internet, and digital skills are not only a matter of convenience, but a matter of equity and social justice. As such, we are incredibly proud to join the digital inclusion community in Philadelphia and work together with the organizations already here ensuring that everyone has equitable access to the technology they need to succeed.”
PCs for People will host a storefront for eligible customers, office space for staff, and an intake, data destruction, and refurbishing center for the organization’s zero-landfill certified e-recycling services. Corporations interested in supporting this work can visit www.pcsforpeople.org/philadelphia to learn more about their no-cost, secure data destruction and e-recycling services. Computers will be picked up, wiped, and refurbished or recycled to support people in the community. Donors will be provided an in-depth report showcasing the donation’s impact.
Read the full press release here.