CARLSBAD — The COVID-19 pandemic upended the way the world has had to adapt to new learning and working environments.
And for non-profits, times have been equally as tough as unemployment and the economic fallout has led to major cuts in donations and funding. But for some, such as the San Diego Futures Foundation, demand is at an all-time high.
The SDFF provides refurbished computers to lower-income individuals and families. And the need for computers now is more urgent than ever, which is why the non-profit partnered with the Carlsbad-based San Diego Tech Hub and Chopra Global for donations to secure 36 computers to the SDFF.
“When COVID-19 started to hit, there was a great rush and demand because people had to stay home,” said SDFF Executive Director Gary Knight. “We had distributed half of our yearly allotment … in those first three weeks of COVID.”
The SDFF donates between 3,000 to 6,000 refurbished computers per year, Knight said, but since the pandemic hit, the foundation rushed to get 1,500 machines out by April. Additionally, the foundation is out of stock, but is in dire need of older units to refurbish and donate to those who need access to the internet.
He said most of the foundation’s recipients are students, lower-income individuals and families, veterans and seniors. Knight said the computers have provided access to school curriculums, work, and just keeping people like seniors connected during the stay-at-home orders.
They also provide basic digital literacy, repair and coding classes and certifications, Knight said.
“We formed an IT service department,” he added. “We have IT services, training and computer refurbishment.”
The SDTH was founded in 2018 by Jones and several others with two purposes: connecting talent with jobs, and committing to social good projects, such as seeking donations to the SDFF. The hub has grown to more than 1,500 members and part of it is leveraging those professional networks with organizations like the SDFF, Jones said.
“It’s about the power of the network and resources you have available,” Jones said. “It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s just people connecting. When you have people giving without any expectation, magic just happens.”
Jones said fellow SDTH member and co-founder Attila Ambrus, along with Péter Tiszavölgyi, spearheaded the donation drive by connecting the SDFF with Chopra Global, while Jones put out a call for action on his LinkedIn page. In less than 24 hours, the three entities connected to deliver the computers.
Jaime Rabin, Vice President of Partnerships and West Coast Operations for Chopra Global, a holistic health and wellness center, said the company transitioned its workforce to their homes. The company provided laptops to its employees, which left three dozen desktops available as they were unused.
Tiszavölgyi and Rabin connected and he linked Chopra Global with the tech hub and SDFF.
“Our lease is ending and previously we would’ve transferred everything to our new office space,” Rabin said. “We thought if we’re not moving into a new space right away … what could we do with this that would be for the better good? We were able to deliver the desktops.”
To donate an old computer to SDFF, visit sdfutures.org.