Acting Secretary Parrish Announces Device Day, Challenges Partners to Donate Computers

RALEIGH

As part of North Carolina Digital Inclusion Week, acting N.C. Department of Information Technology Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Thomas Parrish announced today as Device Day and challenged businesses with a presence in North Carolina to donate their surplus computers to two nonprofits, the Kramden Institute and E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide).

The Kramden Institute, located in Durham, and E2D, located in Charlotte, refurbish computers and get them to North Carolina residents who need them the most. They have teamed up with NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office as well as NC TECH, the N.C. Business Committee on Education and the N.C. Chamber Foundation for a campaign to collect 10,000 devices by the end of the year.

“Without computers, North Carolinians cannot fully leverage the benefits of the internet,” said Secretary Parrish. “We are calling on our corporate partners to help us support Kramden and E2D in reaching their goal of 10,000 donated devices by the end of the year. As we continue to navigate the pandemic and work, learn and connect online, it is especially important to ensure that our residents are not left behind due to lack of resources.”

Earlier this week, Gov. Roy Cooper proclaimed this week, Oct. 5-9, Digital Inclusion Week in North Carolina to highlight the importance of digital equity and to prompt digital inclusion efforts across the state to improve broadband access, foster adoption, promote digital literacy and increase computer ownership.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging for North Carolinians without reliable and affordable high-speed internet service and adequate internet-enabled devices at home. 

“Kramden has been overwhelmed with calls and emails from families desperate for a computer-- either to help their children with schoolwork or to be able to work from home. It took a pandemic to reveal the staggering depth of the digital divide, not just in North Carolina but across the country," said Michael Abensour, executive director of the Kramden Institute. "Our staff has been working since March to meet that demand, but the need far outstrips our existing supply of computers. I'm hopeful that the private sector continues to step up and to provide a flow of donated machines for us to refurbish and distribute."

According to the 2018 American Community survey data, 12.6% of North Carolina households do not have access to any type of computing device – including a smartphone – and 5.9% of households rely solely on smartphones for a computing device. This situation leaves many residents stuck in the digital divide, unable to effectively work, learn and participate in an increasingly digital society.

"A complete resolution of the digital device gap is doable if more companies can find a way to donate their computers to non-profit refurbishers like us, said Pat Millen, E2D founder and president. "In the past 12 months, we have provided over 4,500 laptops to North Carolina families. If we obtained additional corporate technology, we could quadruple our output immediately."

This campaign is primarily focused on large-scale corporate donations. Both Kramden and E2D offer free pickups of assets, data destruction, and certified downstream recycling of e-waste. Both organizations also accept individual donations. For more information about donating to E2D contact denise@e-2-d.org, and for information about donating to Kramden, contact jricker@kramden.org

Quotes from Partners 

N.C. Business Committee on Education

"NCBCE is proud to support Digital Device Day, as we work with public and private partners across North Carolina to bridge the digital divide," said Lilyn Hester, head of External Affairs - Southeast, Google, who serves as vice chairwoman of NCBCE and chairwoman of the NCBCE Remote Learning Working Group. "There is much to do, including making sure folks have the resources they need to do school work, job tasks and other important day-to-day business."

NC TECH

“North Carolina has a vibrant and growing tech sector who strongly supports the state and its communities,” said Brooks Raiford, CEO of NC TECH. “NC TECH is proud to support the Digital Device Day initiative to help put computers in the hands of our K-12 students that don’t have access to such a device and desperately need them for virtual learning, homework, and more.”

About NCDIT's Broadband Infrastructure Office

NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office leads the statewide initiatives to expand high-speed internet access, adoption and use for all North Carolinians and serves as a statewide resource for broadband access, first responder communications and state-led classroom connectivity initiatives. In 2019, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 91 (EO91), which lays out clear directives to expand broadband across the state through a task force comprised of cabinet agencies, which the office facilitates and supports. In partnership with the Friday Institute, the office is currently conducting a survey to gather better data on broadband availability and quality in the state. To learn more and to take the survey, visit ncbroadband.gov/survey.

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