Barings is helping to eliminate the Digital Divide
Barings provides digital access to local community through nonprofit partnerships
In celebration of Giving Tuesday on 11/29, the global day of giving, Barings hosted a computer distribution at Shamrock Gardens, a 265 unit property that houses over 550 people in East Charlotte.
As a part of their larger initiative to bridge the digital divide, Barings, E2D, the Center for Digital Equity, and LISC launched a public-private partnership in October of this year to increase digital equity at affordable housing communities that Barings and LISC support in Charlotte. The partnership takes a holistic approach spanning three years to deliver 1,600 laptops, while seeking to improve digital literacy for residents at these communities.
Barings has committed over $250,000 to drive the partnership’s efforts. The partnership will focus on residents living in housing developments that are part of the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund (CHOIF) managed by LISC, which Barings invested in as part of the Charlotte Housing Initiative in 2019.
Barings is committed to making an impact in its local community. “E2D has been a long-standing partner of ours. So, we brought them to the table to do distribute laptops, alongside the Center for Digital Equity, which is such a wonderful community resource. When you think about the three legs of the digital equity stool and really working to address the digital divide, both partners really make an impact on the digital literacy and digital education component,” said Elizabeth Cooper, head of Barings social impact. This was one of Barings' largest distribution days in the project.
On each of these distribution days, registered residents come out and receive a free laptop. They can also work with volunteers from the Center for Digital Equity and Barings to learn about the affordable connectivity program and can receive educational resources and digital literacy training.
Family fun is also a big component of these laptop distribution events; they include the Barings Book Bus for kids to pick out free books and the Charlotte Hornets’ Hugo, a food truck, and DJ.
“This is a community event bringing the community that we are serving together, but also bringing a variety of organizations together and I think all of us would very much agree that the Power of Collaboration really amplifies the impact that can be made in the community,” said Cooper.
Barings employees also get a chance to volunteer at these events and, at this distribution, 30 employees came out to help and participate in the fun.