FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 6, 2021
CONTACT: Victoria Rosengarten
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City today announced that the Employer Laptop Challenge, a community development program that encourages companies to donate used corporate devices, has helped coordinate more than 5,000 laptop donations to nonprofits, schools and refurbishers in 2020.
Since the beginning of the challenge, launched in April 2020, companies and agencies across the Tenth District have met the need to help close the digital divide. Through the program, employers are encouraged to donate at least 15 used, surplus laptops or desktops to local nonprofits.
The pandemic escalated the need for Americans to have access to broadband and devices. Nonprofit refurbishers that are usually a source of free or discounted computers for nonprofits and lower income families are unable to meet the current demand for devices. Employers can donate large numbers of used, like devices and easily solve an immediate community need.
According to a 2019 report from the Kansas City Fed, more than 30 percent of low income households lack a computer. In September 2020, a U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey reported that 4.4 million households with children don’t have consistent access to computers for online learning during the pandemic.
“The Kansas City Fed focuses on promoting access to affordable home broadband, devices and skills needed to participate in today’s digital economy,” said Jeremy Hegle, senior community development advisor at the Kansas City Fed. “Technology is a key driver of economic growth of cities and regions. A robust, stable economy requires that all members have equitable access to technology and opportunity.”
Organizations, businesses and agencies large and small, across the country can still participate in the challenge. The City of Kansas City, Missouri, donated 650 computers to kick off the campaign early in 2020. The donation to Connecting for Good, a Kansas City-based nonprofit computer recycler, included laptops, monitors, keyboards and other accessories.
Visit the Employer Laptop Challenge page at kansascityfed.org/laptopchallenge to get instructions on the donation process. Read how other employers participated in the challenge at Community Connections. For more on the digital divide, read the Kansas City Fed report on broadband access, economic impact and solutions for communities, Disconnected: Seven Lessons on Fixing the Digital Divide.
As the regional headquarters of the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, along with its Branch offices in Denver, Oklahoma City and Omaha, participates in each of the Federal Reserve’s three mission areas of monetary policy, banking supervision and financial services. The Bank serves the Tenth Federal Reserve District, a region that includes western Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado and northern New Mexico.