Promoting Equitable Access to Tech

A tech-donation drive at the Los Angeles Convention Center will give unwanted tech devices and accessories a new life, benefiting “communities left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Author: Michelle Russell       

LACC Tech Donation Drive

Donated devices are loaded into a Human-I-T truck out the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC). In November, LACC partnered with Human-I-T on a tech donation drive, collecting unwanted devices that will be refurbished and given to underserved communities.

In recognition of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) each year partners with a community-based organization. In previous years, the LACC coordinated recycling efforts with organizations including St. Francis, Salvation Army, Goodwill, LGBTQ Center, Homeboy’s Electronics Recycling Center, and EduCare. Recycling is among the LEED-certified facility’s green practices, Nancy Walker, LACC’s vice president of sales and marketing, told Convene.

For this year’s ARD, the LACC initiated a tech-donation drive with Human-I-T, a Long Beach, California–based nonprofit that provides tech devices, internet access, digital skills training, and tech support “for communities left on the wrong side of the digital divide.” At the same time, according to Human-I-T’s mission statement on its website, the nonprofit helps businesses and organizations “do good by diverting technology from landfills to protect our planet.”

Kadamia Hubbard, LACC’s operations manager, facility & sustainability, was introduced to Human-I-T by Alp Ertek, LACC’s IT manager, and the two departments collaborated on the tech drive, with Hubbard taking the lead. Collection bins for the tech drive were placed in employee breakrooms for five days in mid-November. All convention center employees and in-house partners received several emails about the drive during the weeks leading up to ARD, outlining the types of items that could be donated, how employees could receive tax credits, and how the equipment would be repurposed for digital inclusion for underserved communities. After the week-long e-waste collection drive, Human-I-T came to the LACC to pick up the materials.

“It was important to the team that the ARD partner chosen could illustrate how the donated items would make an impact on our community,” Walker said. One yardstick of that impact: Approximately 900 pounds of equipment was collected. The items — including laptops, monitors, cell phones, and power cords — will be repaired or used for parts to create refurbished technology, which is then donated to underserved communities to promote digital inclusion.

“As a LEED® Gold–certified facility, we are always grateful for new collaborators with regard to our sustainability efforts,” LACC General Manager Ellen Schwartz said. “The Human-I-T story resonates” with the center’s mission, she added, “as we can clearly see the benefit of our contributions right here in our local community.”

While the drive has come and gone, Walker said the plan is to continue to work with Human-I-T moving forward, so that tech items left behind from events at the LACC can serve another purpose.

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene.