The City calls on individuals and businesses to donate used laptops, computers, and other devices to help Philadelphia cross the digital divide
PHILADELPHIA—The City of Philadelphia today announced that PHLDonateTech will continue for another year with the addition of new partners and a generous grant from Santander, one of the country’s largest retail and commercial banks. PHLDonateTech is a City initiative that calls on residents and businesses to donate devices—particularly laptops and computers—so that they can be refurbished and distributed to residents in need across Philadelphia.
“We’re thrilled that we can continue PHLDonateTech’s work for another year,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “To help close the digital divide, we need to ensure that anyone who needs a device has one. If you or your organization has laptops, computers, or other devices, donate them through PHLDonateTech to help residents and families in need.”
PHLDonateTech initially launched in December of 2020 with support from AT&T in response to the immediate need of technological devices across Philadelphia due to the pandemic. As people stayed home, individuals without access to devices lacked the tools they needed to get essential services, learn, work, and connect with others.
“Santander is committed to helping our customers, businesses, and communities prosper,” said Angela Moultrie, Executive Vice President and Region President, Pennsylvania and Central New Jersey at Santander Bank. “Creating opportunities for digital access leads to increased financial inclusivity and empowerment for Philadelphia residents, and we’re proud that our grant will assist in this critical service and solution for our community members.”
Santander has donated $35,000 to help continue the work to get computers to those in need, allowing 500 more devices to be distributed through the program. The City’s Office of Innovation and Technology is also collaborating with Digitunity, an organization dedicated to closing the technology gap to identify organizations who can donate usable devices through the program. EY, a professional services organization, will offer support by creating an employee giving program and encouraging its business partners to donate devices through PHLDonateTech.
“Collaborations such as this one in Philadelphia are required to close the digital divide,” said Scot Henley, Executive Director of Digitunity. “Working together to ensure that everyone who needs a computer is essential in order to successfully engage in today’s world. We are pleased to be engaged with Philadelphia in this work.”
“EY’s Bridging the Digital Divide initiative addresses the three main aspects of technology access: hardware, connectivity, and mentoring,” said Rob Tannen, PhD, Senior Manager of the EY Design Studio PHL. “While it is a national effort, our collective success depends on effective partnerships between our local offices and community-based organizations and initiatives. This is why we’re working with PHLDonateTech to ensure that we help those in need of digital support and devices.”
In addition to its original partners, the City will be partnering with and funding Done With It, a secure electronics and recycling program from TERRA that allows individuals to mail in used devices, and TDIConnect, a computer refurbisher that distributes devices to communities in need.
“There are enough retired devices to close the digital divide,” said Steven Napoli, President & CEO of TERRA. “The process of getting them into the right hands just needs to be made simple and secure, and that’s what we’ve done through our collaboration with PHLDonateTech.”
The City will continue to partner with PHLDonateTech’s original partners: Retrievr, an on-demand clothing and electronic recycling company; and several local refurbishers which include the Electronic Access Foundation (EAF), the NERDiT Foundation, and the Temple University Computer Recycling Center (CRC).
PHLDonateTech looks for devices in fair or good condition that can be refurbished and donated, but will also properly recycle any devices that are unable to be refurbished. Individuals and organizations can either get their devices picked up or mail them in. When mailing in devices, shipping costs will be covered for anyone living in a 50-mile radius of Philadelphia. Organizations and businesses can also request a bulk pick-up of devices if they have 25 or more computers to donate.