Connecting our community one computer at a time
I am really excited to announce the re-launch of Computers for the Community — a 501(c)(3) non-profit that takes donated computers, has them refurbished by volunteers, and then sells them for a small administration fee to those in the community who need them. Computers for the Community was founded in 2007 and has served hundreds of low-income families around Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but in the past few years it has been scaled back due to the original founder’s other commitments.
An official Board of Directors is currently being formed and is will be made up of senior IT professionals from around the community. I have known many of the volunteers for years and am looking forward to the opportunity to work with them on this great community service organization. Once our Board is set up, we will begin to define our policies and procedures.
There are two key reasons why I am so passionate about being part of Computers for the Community. First, I hate to junk a perfectly usable computer just because it is a bit out of date for my needs. There are other refurbishing companies in the area, but none are dedicated to serving the community, their motivations are fueled more by profit. Over the years I’ve donated dozens of computers to Computers for the Community, which have gone on to be invaluable to their new owners.
Second, I really enjoy volunteering my time to community service projects and I want to find ways to get more people involved, like my teenage son. Many middle- and high-school students could be passionate about community service if there were ways for them volunteer their time in a field that they are already passionate about, like computers. And what better way than refurbishing used computers?
In Sioux Falls, computer equipment cannot be sent to our landfill, therefore it must be recycled. We will accept donations of computers, monitors (no CRT monitors), keyboards, mice and printers. For large corporate donations, we can arrange a convenient pickup as well. Our 501(c)(3) status makes every donation a tax deductible donation and we provide a receipt for your taxes. What you see as junk may actually be a $150 tax write-off.
All refurbishing will be done by coordinated volunteer events held once per quarter. During each event, we will have between five and ten volunteers who will work as an assembly line to test, wipe and reinstall the operating system on each computer. Every computer will be restored to a like-new condition and will be ready for a second life.
Our goal is to target middle-school and high-school students as volunteers to get them involved early in community service while also building valuable IT skills which may drive them into technology careers.
For those who qualify, we offer the refurbished computer for a small administration fee which ranges from $75 to $125. Each quarter we will coordinate a distribution date where computers are distributed along with some set-up and training. Our goal is to work with other non-profits in the area to identify those who could benefit from a refurbished computer.
Like all non-profit organizations, we rely on volunteers and donations from others who also believe in our cause. As Computers for the Community gets up and running, I will post more information about how you can help out as well. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter for future updates.
I would love to have your support by donating your used computers. Please send me a Tweet at @wbushee, or drop me an email. After all, shouldn’t we all help our community?
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