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September 2022

The need for digital inclusion extends throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Although Tech Exchange’s home base continues to be in Oakland, you may have recently seen us at events farther afield. In Contra Costa County, new partnerships are radically changing the lives of college-bound students, empowering parents and seniors, and improving the quality of life everywhere in the community.

Major equipment donors like our friends at West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) are critical to our ability to serve our participants and close the digital divide. Last year, WCCUSD made a commitment to donate their aging computers to Tech Exchange. 

To date, over 6000 of these devices have become part of our stock for refurbishment and distribution to our participants. The environmental benefits from these and other donations are impressive. Last year alone, Tech Exchange diverted 30,353 pounds of e-waste in Contra Costa County –the equivalent of reducing emissions from 1,600 gallons of gas!

“We couldn’t be happier to have found a partner like Tech Exchange,” says WCCUSD Chief Technology Officer Tracey Logan. “When the time came to decommission thousands of district devices, our team was hesitant to dispose of them through conventional means. By donating to Tech Exchange, we benefited financially while contributing to the well-being of our Bay Area neighbors and diverting dangerous eWaste from landfills. It was a win-win-win!

To start connecting our refurbished devices with Contra Costa County residents, Tech Exchange began a partnership with Richmond Promise. Funded by a grant from the City of Richmond Fund for Children and Youth, the project has already served over 100 students.

On Friday, September 2, the two teams got together in Richmond to distribute Tech Exchange computers. Jasper, a Richmond Promise scholar who will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall, was one of the laptop recipients. “A computer is a critical part of my college experience,” he says. “Especially after the last few years, having a powerful, reliable device to enable online classes is essential. Thank you!”

You can meet the Tech Exchange and Richmond Promise teams on October 25, 2022 when we will co-host an Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) enrollment event at the Richmond Library. Click here to learn more about this event, which is open to all community members.

Eligible households can reduce their monthly internet bill up to $30 with the ACP discount, but many residents don’t know about the program or need help with the application. Tech Exchange’s trained multilingual staff and volunteers reach out to the community and guide applicants through the process. We hope you’ll spread the word!

As support for Tech Exchange’s work builds, we look forward to bringing ACP enrollment events, laptop distributions, and more to additional areas of Contra Costa County such as Antioch, Concord, Pittsburg. Together with our partners, grant funders, and individuals like you who donate to support our mission, Tech Exchange can expand our reach and close the digital divide for more members of our community.
Low Cost Internet Sign-Up Events

On Saturday, August 27, Tech Exchange teamed up with Sacred Heart Community Services, the San Jose Digital Inclusion Project, and the California Emerging Technology Fund to participate in Get Connected California Day!

More than 40 families dropped in to get help applying for internet subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Thanks to our volunteers, staff, and partners, these families now have a monthly $30 credit and reliable high-speed internet.

Sign-Up Events
Tech Exchange will continue to offer ACP enrollment events with partners throughout the Bay Area, as well as at our TecHub in Oakland. 

Spread the word about our October 25th ACP enrollment in Richmond, and watch our social media and our upcoming events page for updates about other events and digital skills workshops.

You can also visit us at the TecHub to learn more. ACP specialists are available during our open hours 10am-4pm, Wednesday - Saturday.

Kansas City Librarians
Recently, Tech Exchange host visitors from the Kansas City Library who were touring the country to learn about how different cities are addressing the digital divide, as part of the Community Catalyst program funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

After the visit, our guests reached out to say that touring Tech Exchange was a highlight of their trip, and that they will highlight our approach as a national model. Thank you, KC Librarians; we can't wait to see what happens next!
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