Serious About Serious Good
I was looking for mice.
Working in Family Services at Habitat for Humanity – Greater Columbus, I was making cold calls in pursuit of IT equipment to provide local Habitat families with in-home computer access. A happenstance cold call to Redemtech turned into much more than a donation of computer mice – a formal partnership between Redemtech and Habitat for Humanity International that is today a nationwide offering under the Serious Good® program.
Three years later, instead of working at the local Habitat affiliate, I now find myself on the other side of the table, as the new Director of Serious Good.
Although my job title has changed, my passion for bridging the digital divide in this country has never wavered, and neither has the need. Nearly 30 million U.S. households currently lack a computer. In today’s society, that means that these families lack access to vital job, education, and social resources. Experts agree that without Internet access, it’s virtually impossible to break the cycle of poverty. And the divide expands beyond the home – American schools and nonprofits are in need of more than 13 million computers to carry out their basic missions.
Coming from the other side of the equation – working first at a nonprofit organization with Redemtech as a community partner – I understand the needs and perspectives of our partners in a way that I could not without my previous experience. We’ve taken a walk in the same shoes (well, permitting you wear a size 7.5). That is why my work here at Redemtech is not simply a job, but a reflection of who I am.
Serious Good is about doing serious good in the community. It’s helping responsible organizations meet crucial financial, social and environmental goals. Less than three years in existence, it has already touched lives and invigorated families and communities (more about which in future installments), as I can personally attest from my time with Habitat for Humanity. But in a very real sense, our work is only just beginning.
When he hired me, I told Redemtech President Bob Houghton that I had originally thought the Habitat computer project was just a small idea, and was astounded when it grew from a local initiative to a national offering. Bob’s response says something about the wider vision of the man as well as of the company he founded: “I would argue it was a big idea, just in a small environment.”
I am committed to developing more ideas, both big and small, to leverage surplus IT assets into a more just and sustainable society through Serious Good.
I’m interested to hear from you:
- Did you have a seemingly small idea turn into a big one?
- Do you see the digital divide impacting your community?
- How can we as corporations or organizations help solve the digital divide?
Please tell us your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. Let's inspire each other! Seriously.