Led by the self-driving car company Aurora, Neighborhood Allies, and the Pittsburgh Technology Council, a coalition of companies and foundations are coming together to donate funds, hardware and expertise, initiating the “Beyond the Laptops” challenge.
The “Beyond the Laptops” challenge aims to purchase and refurbish more than 3,000 laptops for Pittsburgh Public School students and families isolated by the digital divide.
So far, the organizations have raised more than $200,000 with donations from Aurora, Google, Verizon, RK Mellon, University of Pittsburgh and Gismondi Family Foundation. The challenge is a creative public-private partnership created to leverage the technology industry in Pittsburgh and elevate our collective social responsibility to help our neighbors and communities in times of need.
For those who want to donate, visit: https://beyondthelaptops.org/.
Every donation makes a difference and just $50 helps refurbish one laptop and makes a major difference for a local student.
Aurora’s Head of Government Relations, Gerardo Interiano said: “As a company co-headquartered in Pittsburgh, it’s important for us at Aurora to engage and support our community in these times of great need. As we build and develop self-driving technology here in the community, we want to ensure that students throughout the city have access to the educational resources that will allow them to one day join us in solving the problems of tomorrow. Bridging the digital divide is just a start and Aurora is humbled to work with community partners on this initiative. We encourage others to join us.”
“Like many organizations and non-profit leaders in the region, Neighborhood Allies has been working diligently to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis in a manner that is both strategic and effective. With each new day we are committed to our mission of supporting the people, organizations, and partnerships committed to creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods – and as such we began investing into resources to bridge the digital divide in our most under-resourced communities in 2019,” said Neighborhood Allies’ President Presley Gillespie. “The COVID-19 pandemic created a new, real, and honest opportunity to convene resources and connect all of our communities to ensure that the most vulnerable residents continue to be able to remain in the economy during this time. Please join us in these collective efforts for a Pittsburgh with healthy neighborhoods that are thriving, resilient and livable for all!”
“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the disparity of technology and access in our region,” said Pittsburgh Tech Council’s Audrey Russo. “We are excited to be working with Aurora, Google and the rest of the community to take a step toward narrowing the digital divide. I’m so glad Aurora saw our social posts to help Neighborhood Allies locate equipment and setup in such a big way. The power of social media is amazing.”