Mobile Beacon and PCs for People Denver recently completed a series of technology distribution events held in Denver, CO from September 2016 until May of 2017. Through our Bridging the Gap program, Mobile Beacon and PCs for People Denver partnered to provide computers, hotspots, and affordable internet to individuals and families under the 200% poverty line, and other Denver community members in need. The average annual family income of the recipients was just $14,300. In the first eight months we donated 1,600 computers and 870 hotspots with the help of 27 area schools and community organizations as partners in these events.
More than 5,000 family members received either a computer, internet access, or both. Nearly half of the recipients (41%) had never had home Internet before receiving their hotspots and three months of free Mobile Beacon’s unlimited, uncapped, and unthrottled 4G LTE Internet access. The majority (57%) of recipients said that the desktop or laptop they received from PCs for People Denver was their first home computer. Although it was not their primary goal, PCs for People as an organization also felt a positive effect. They were able to establish themselves and thrive quickly in the Denver community after only their first year in their new market.
The Bridging the Gap program emphasizes the “whole-family” approach to digital inclusion. While the distribution events often provided a computer and/or internet access for one member, all family members will now be able to have access to technology to help them better with academics. Having a computer and internet will help parents to enhance their digital literacy skills so they can better research college programs for their children, check their homework, track their grades, and communicate with their teachers easier and more frequently. These distributed devices can also help parents and seniors with adult education classes they may be taking, find better jobs, or research and apply for government assistance.