Georgia-based non-profit bridges the 'digital divide'

If there's one thing the pandemic has proven, it's that access to technology is vital -- especially for students.

And according to Inspiredu President & CEO Richard Hicks, that makes his mission more important than ever.

"This job is a calling, more than it is a job," Hicks says.

Inspiredu is a Georgia-based non-profit (a spin-off of PowerMyLearning), focused on providing students and their families the technology they need for education.  That means working laptops, desktop computers, and tablets given to local families at no charge.  As Hicks explains, "I kind of think of us as the technology version of the food bank."

Hicks says after 13 years in charge of the organization, he knew there was a digital divide.  But as the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools and forced virtual learning, it led to what he calls a "tsunami of need."  Since March, Hicks says Inspiredu has provided refurbished devices to more than 2,500 families, up from about 1,500 in a typical year.  That means the organization is in constant need of donations.

"We take the technology devices," says Hicks.  "The laptops, your desktops, your monitors, and your tablets.  And when you donate those to us, we wipe them clean of the data.  We make sure all the data is wiped.  We can provide you with a certificate of data destruction, so that you can be comfortable knowing that your device was donated to a great cause and it was clean of your information."

After cleaning the devices, staffers load them with educational programs.  Right now, they're being given out in donated backpacks, distributed through partnerships with schools and other local organizations.

For Hicks, providing students with laptops and tablets isn't just about getting them through school; it's about opening a gateway to possibility.

"These kids are going to be the ones that take our community forward.  They're the future."

For more information on donating your used device to Inspiredu, click over to the organization's website here.