Friday, February 29, 2008

TechSoup Receives Grant to Provide Low-Cost Refurbished Computers to Community

SAN FRANCISCO — Nonprofit technology assistance provider TechSoup announced it received a $500,000 grant from The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) to distribute 9,500 Refurbished Computer Initiative (RCI) computers to nonprofits and low-income families by October 2009.

TechSoup's RCI works to meet the growing demand for affordable, quality computer systems nonprofit organizations and their low-income clients need. RCI provides an essential component of a technology ecosystem that includes: power; hardware; connectivity; software; training/support; and affordable cost. The grant will enable TechSoup to take RCI from successful pilot program to sustainability, and is a crucial step for California and the nation toward digital inclusion for the underserved.

Contributions from corporate partners that donate their used equipment form the cornerstone of the program. Once these computer systems are upgraded, they are made available to end-users at the lowest possible price point – currently under $300. The RCI model enables companies to invest in their communities by providing essential tools for learning, while simultaneously engaging in "Green Philanthropy" by diverting their computer equipment from landfills.

The RCI program is geared to the business needs of large corporations by providing data security, fulfilling environmental regulation requirements, and transferring liability. The program accepts all IT and office equipment, working or not. Materials that are not suitable for reuse are recycled following "no export" and "no solid-waste landfill" policies, thereby protecting the environment while delivering a social benefit.

The California Emerging Technology Fund is a nonprofit private foundation established pursuant to requirements from the California Public Utilities Commission in approving the mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI. Its mission is to provide leadership statewide to minimize the Digital Divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband and other advanced communication services to underserved communities in a way that advances actions to make California a global leader in the availability and use of broadband technology.

Founded in 1987 as CompuMentor, TechSoup is one of the most comprehensive technology assistance providers in the world, employing a staff of 150 and deploying a budget of over $18 million in FY 2008. It conducts a range of major programs on the international, national and the local level, including the operation of its nonprofit technology Website and its distribution service for technology product donations.

This grant will make it possible for TechSoup to make more equipment available to more people, while benefiting the environment and creating a more sustainable program. This is an invaluable program for larger companies and a smart way to protect the environment while helping people in their communities.

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