Groundbreaking Initiative Bridges the Digital Divide for K-12 Students in 10 U.S. Cities
Over 40,000 Devices Distributed, with 2.63 Million Pounds of E-Waste Recovered
NORTH CONWAY, N.H., December 5, 2023 (Newswire.com) - A new impact report has been released by Digitunity, revealing the transformative success of a two-year, 10-city initiative to close the digital divide for K-12 students and their families. Led by Digitunity and funded as part of AT&T’s Connected Learning commitment to address the digital divide, the project drew upon and featured the work of 11 top-tier nonprofit technology refurbishing organizations. An effort to bridge what is known as the “homework gap” in the project’s 10 markets, this collaborative effort surpassed its two-year target within the very first year, culminating in twice the projected impact by its conclusion.
Key outcomes include:
- 41,597 devices comprising laptops, desktops, and tablets
- 2,171 Wi-Fi hotspots ensuring connectivity
- 26,571 students equipped with digital literacy training
- An estimated 2,633,110 pounds of e-waste diverted from landfills
The initiative, launched in August 2021, was designed to foster long-lasting relationships between private, public, and social sectors within each community. This involved activating local nonprofit technology refurbishing organizations within Digitunity’s practitioner network, alongside a wide and diverse range of local businesses and nonprofit organizations. The project sought to source, refurbish, and deploy free or extremely affordable devices to underserved K-12 students. Championing this cause in the 10-city initiative were the following organizations:
- Inspiredu in Atlanta, GA
- Mission Ignite in Buffalo, NY
- Compudopt in Dallas, TX
- Digital Bridge in Milwaukee, WI
- Electronic Access Foundation and Human I-T in New York, NY
- Computer Reach in Pittsburgh, PA
- Kramden Institute in Raleigh-Durham, NC
- Computers 2 Kids in San Diego, CA
- InterConnection in Seattle, WA
- Wilderness Technology Alliance in Washington, D.C.
In Atlanta, Nafeesah Burson, after receiving a computer from Inspiredu, enrolled in 100 hours of cybersecurity training and CompTIA certifications. Similarly, in the Bronx, New York, students empowered with personal laptops embarked upon job workforce programs, refining their resumes and exploring new job opportunities.
The “AT&T Pioneers” employee volunteer network also played an active role. They not only volunteered at local used electronic donation drives but also demonstrated practical environmental responsibility by upcycling t-shirts into pet toys and promoting “going green” through seedling distributions at some of this initiative’s computer collection events.
“We've always believed in the necessity of connectivity and device accessibility for success. Working alongside Digitunity, we've been able to place devices directly into the hands of those most in need," stated Mylayna Albright, AVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, AT&T.
With hundreds of devices also being extended to recently arrived Ukrainian refugee families in Seattle, the initiative's reach is both deep and expansive.
Dr. Estelle-Marie Montgomery, Ph.D., Executive Director at the Faunteroy Center in the Washington, D.C., area, added, "Basic computer skills are now fundamental for connectivity across all generations."
The alliances fostered by this project have paved the way for a brighter future, with stakeholders from various sectors coming together behind a unified cause. As the pages of this initiative's success stories turn, they stand as a testament to the power of private, public, and social sector collaboration in creating lasting solutions to digital inequities.
To read more about the two-year project’s details and to learn more about the lives that were positively transformed, the summary report can be accessed at: https://links.digitunity.org/homework-gap-10-cities-download
Digitunity is on a mission to make owning a computer possible for everyone. Owning a computer is essential for people to thrive in the modern economy. Yet, 36 million people in the United States don’t have a computer at home. Since the 1980s, Digitunity and its predecessor organization have advanced digital equity by connecting donors of technology with organizations serving people in need. To learn more about Digitunity’s work, please visit digitunity.org.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
We’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives. As part of our company-wide commitment to address the digital divide, we launched AT&T Connected Learning to invest in connectivity, technology, digital literacy and education solutions to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Since 2008, we’ve committed more than $600 million to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.