PCs for People to distribute free computers to low-income families in Cambridge area

St. Paul, Minnesota nonprofit organization PCs for People has selected the Cambridge area to be among 10 Greater Minnesota communities to distribute 75-100 free computers to low-income families as part of a mobile refurbishing project funded by the Blandin Foundation and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The project seeks to reduce electronic waste while simultaneously helping bridge the digital divide in Greater Minnesota.

In the coming weeks, PCs for People will be working with local Cambridge area businesses, the East Central Regional Development Commission and other organizations to identify desktop and laptop computers they have or will soon be retiring from service and are ready to recycle. The organization’s mobile refurbishing team will travel to Cambridge sometime in April to refurbish the computers including wiping all data, making any necessary repairs and upgrades, and installing a fresh installation of Microsoft Windows XP or 7. The computer will then be loaded with free software including educational games, OpenOffice, and security and antivirus software.

The organization will work with community organizations to identify low-income families and individuals who would benefit from personal computer ownership. All computers come with a 90-day warranty and self-paced basic computer skills training.

“This is a win-win for businesses needing to manage their end-of-lifecycle digital equipment assets in a cost-effective way, and for the community,” said Michael Graif, Project Lead for PCs for People. “Not only are businesses receiving valuable data wiping and hardware recycling services for free but it’s in a way that benefits their local community. The goal of this project is to help empower Minnesotans by providing them with access to technology so they may enjoy the personal, economic and educational benefits of owning a personal computer that many of us take for granted. What we need now to make this event successful is to find local businesses willing to donate their old computers,” Graif said.

PCs for People is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Since 1998, the organization has distributed refurbished computers to over 10,000 Minnesota families. PCs for People is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher and a member of the Recycling Association of Minnesota and the National Association for Information Destruction.

Businesses looking to participate in the program and donate their equipment should contact Michael Graif at [email protected] or by calling 651-243-0093. For more information about PCs for People, visit www.pcsforpeople.org.