Presented by AvidXchange Foundation, Written by Amy Andrews
E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide) is a non-profit focused ensuring that all students have affordable access to essential at-home technology and digital literacy training to support academic success and prepare students for college, careers, and beyond.
“COVID brought the topic of the digital divide to the forefront, but it has always been there and is exactly what we’ve been helping families address since 2013,” shared Christy Cowan, Community Outreach Coordinator for E2D. She added, “Our focus remains on the important work of getting laptops donated, refurbished and out into the community. That didn’t stop for us with COVID.”
Since its inception, E2D has provided laptops to over 14,000 local households and is proud of the fact that they were able to impart roughly the same number of laptops last year that they did in 2019.
Through a partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, E2D is also responsible for Re-Image CLT which enables student techs to gain invaluable workforce development and digital literacy skills, as well as labs to help refurbish and re-image laptops for community use.
“Our Re-Image work continues in shifts throughout the week, as we stay safe with COVID protocols,” said Cowan. “It is amazing to see how they have shifted and are still plugging away.”
Traditionally, E2D has focused on both access to technology and digital literacy, but COVID has intensified the focus on simply getting laptops into the hands of the students who need them. To that end, E2D has set a goal of disseminating 500 laptops per month throughout 2021.
For readers who would like to help, E2D is seeking donations of used laptops, but they are also keen to grow their pool of corporate laptop donations. “When we get a donation of 25 corporate laptops, it is exponentially more time and cost effective to refurbish and re-image them than individual laptops,” added Cowan. “We are grateful for all donations, but we want companies to understand that we are a safe, secure option for their end of lifecycle laptops and to think of us.”
In 2020, E2D added five new corporate laptop donors and encourages readers to think about their own employers. “We’d like to ask readers to start poking, by asking their IT departments where retired laptops go, and if the answer isn’t to donate to E2D, to keep going.”
E2D does use any and all laptop donations and even makes use of out of commission laptops for spare parts, such as screens, fans or keyboards.
“We are so appreciative of the generosity in our community,” Cowan emphasized. “It is making a huge impact in the lives of students across the Charlotte area on a daily basis.”This month's #SpotlightOnCLT: Bridging the Digital Divide is presented by our friends at AvidXchange Foundation!