Helping Habitat for Humanity Homeowners Cross the Digital Divide
At Habitat for Humanity, our experience has been that the vast majority of our 80,000 homeowners across the country are on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. That’s why we are partnering with Redemtech on Serious Good, an initiative to foster corporate donations of refurbished computers to help people cross the Digital Divide. Through Serious Good, our Habitat homeowners will get the digital tools they need for success in school, at work and in the community.
A Hand Up, Not a Handout
We always say that a Habitat home is a “hand up, not a handout” – and the same is true of computers donated through Serious Good. Ours is a no-frills approach, and even a few years ago, we would have considered a home PC a luxury for our partner families. However, in this digital age, a home PC is essential to successful home ownership, along with a refrigerator, stove, and other appliances.
Our Habitat homeowners have earned this type of support, because Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to a down payment and monthly mortgage payments, our homeowners invest hundreds of hours of “sweat equity,” representing their own labor invested into building their Habitat house and those of other partner families.
Although the parents own their Habitat home, we sincerely feel a home PC is of paramount importance for giving children equal footing in school, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. If a child is not exposed to the basics of computing and age-appropriate software at an early age – along with how to use a keyboard and mouse – they are at a disadvantage from the very beginning of their educational experience. Their long-term outlook from this lack of exposure is diminished substantially, right out of the gate.
A PC is also an essential tool for enabling adults to find work, stay in touch with support networks of families and friends, tap into lifelines of goods and services – and connect with their partners at local Habitat for Humanity affiliates. Staff members at local affiliates play a vital role in helping partner families solve problems and become successful homeowners. A home PC opens the gates for e-mail communication that streamlines the process for everyone involved.
Consistent with our “hand up, not a handout” philosophy, we require our partner families to complete training courses and demonstrate proficiency in computer skills before receiving a refurbished PC. This approach ensures that once Redemtech and Habitat go into a home to set up the donated computer it will be used productively and safely.
Our partnership with Redemtech through Serious Good enables Habitat to do something we could not do on our own. For example, if a company came to us directly and wanted to donate used computers, we simply would not have the resources to ensure data security for the donor and that equipment was in good working order for our partner families. Redemtech has the processes in place to make certain donated equipment meets the needs of our families – while assisting donor companies in doing Serious Good in their local area.
Serious Good provides an effective way for companies like yours to make a substantive difference in local communities. Donating a portion of your used computers to Habitat homeowners through Serious Good says a lot about how your organization views philanthropy. It’s not just about writing a check – it’s about helping adults and children get the necessary digital tools they need to improve their lives and become successful citizens.
Serious Good puts computers in the hands of people who need them most – and that’s a tangible outcome that sends a powerful and positive message to partner families on your behalf.