As part of North Carolina Digital Inclusion Week, acting North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Thomas Parrish, announced today as Device Day and challenged businesses with a presence in North Carolina to donate their surplus computers to two nonprofits, the Kramden Institute and E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide).
The Kramden Institute, located in Durham, and E2D, located in Charlotte, refurbish computers and get them to North Carolina residents who need them the most. They have teamed up with NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO) as well as NC TECH, the NC Business Committee on Education (NCBCE) and the NC Chamber Foundation for a campaign to collect 10,000 devices by the end of the year.
“Without computers, North Carolinians cannot fully leverage the benefits of the internet,” said Secretary Parrish. “We are calling on our corporate partners to help us support Kramden and E2D in reaching their goal of 10,000 donated devices by the end of the year. As we continue to navigate the pandemic and work, learn and connect online, it is especially important to ensure that our residents are not left behind due to lack of resources.”
Earlier this week, Governor Roy Cooper proclaimed this week, Oct. 5-9, Digital Inclusion Week in North Carolina to highlight the importance of digital equity and to prompt digital inclusion efforts across the state to improve broadband access, foster adoption, promote digital literacy and increase computer ownership.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging for North Carolinians without reliable and affordable high-speed internet service and adequate internet-enabled devices at home.
“Kramden has been overwhelmed with calls and emails from families desperate for a computer– either to help their children with schoolwork or to be able to work from home. It took a pandemic to reveal the staggering depth of the digital divide, not just in North Carolina but across the country,” said Michael Abensour, executive director of the Kramden Institute. “Our staff has been working since March to meet that demand, but the need far outstrips our existing supply of computers. I’m hopeful that the private sector continues to step up and to provide a flow of donated machines for us to refurbish and distribute.”
According to the 2018 American Community survey data, 12.6 percent of North Carolina households do not have access to any type of computing device–including a smartphone–and 5.9 percent of households rely solely on smartphones for a computing device. This situation leaves many residents stuck in the digital divide, unable to effectively work, learn and participate in an increasingly digital society.
“A complete resolution of the digital device gap is doable if more companies can find a way to donate their computers to non-profit refurbishers like us, said Pat Millen, E2D founder and president. “In the past 12 months, we have provided over 4,500 laptops to NC families. If we obtained additional corporate technology, we could quadruple our output immediately.”
This campaign is primarily focused on large-scale corporate donations. Both Kramden and E2D offer free pickups of assets, data destruction, and certified downstream recycling of e-waste. Both organizations also accept individual donations. For more information about donating to E2D contact [email protected], and for information about donating to Kramden, contact [email protected].