Nationwide nonprofit ITAD company PCs for People has opened an Atlanta processing facility, and it now has its sights set on Philadelphia.
The St. Paul, Minn.-based organization began leasing a 10,750-foot space in Atlanta in March. The processing facility came after PCs for People opened a small technology hub (a quasi-retail space) in the metropolitan area in July 2022.
So far, the response from enterprises and other organizations providing used electronics has been positive, said Brian Hooker, managing director of PCs for People Georgia. For example, one medical system has agreed to provide PCs for People with 500 computers each month through its IT refresh project.
“It’s been exciting the reception that we’re seeing here in Atlanta by folks who want to engage us, to get a benefit while doing good,” Hooker said.
PCs for People gained a foothold in the Southern region with a 750-square-foot technology hub, which opened in July 2022 at a workforce development center called Westside Works. That space has distributed over 1,500 used computers since its opening.
PCs for People in March 2023 began leasing the separate processing facility, which has four docks and about 3,500 square feet of conditioned office space.
Hooker said Microsoft provided PCs for People with a $500,000 grant to open the Atlanta facilities. The tech giant, through its Airband Initiative, provided another $300,000 grant to PCs for People to launch internet service for people in need in the area.
Hooker said the hope originally was to open a warehouse for electronics processing at the same time, in July 2022, but the real estate market was a challenge. He then thought they were on track to lease a space starting in October, but the deal fell through.
“We had to scale down the size of the space and then move farther out to get more availability,” he said.
“We really had to sharpen our pencils to figure out how to make a nonprofit work in this type of real estate environment,” he added.
The opening came shortly after PCs for People opened a location in Oak Lawn, Ill., near Chicago, in December 2022.
$500,000 contract to grow into Philadelphia
PCs for People is now working to expand into Philadelphia.
Allison Coleman, national marketing manager for PCs for People, said the organization has hired the managing director there, but a facility location hasn’t been solidified yet. Working with the city’s Digital Literacy Alliance (DLA), PCs for People has started collecting material there for processing elsewhere, she noted.
The city’s Digital Literacy Alliance signed a $500,000 contract with PCs for People to provide free or low-cost computers to residents in need. The contract funds came from the Independence Public Media Foundation (IPMF), city government general funds and previous DLA funds provided by Comcast, Verizon and AT&T, according to a city press release.
The release noted that scaling up a system of computer refurbishment to provide low- and no-cost computers to residents in need is a key strategy in the city’s Digital Equity Plan.
“As the City works to achieve digital access for all Philadelphians, we will continue to invest in resources, so everyone has access to the internet, devices and the digital skills needed to use these tools,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated in the release.
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