Our Stories

Human I-T : Helping Close the Digital Literacy Gap

 

The internet offers access to social and government services, educational tools, employment opportunities, and countless sites that allow a majority of working people in the U.S. to depend on some type of communication technology as part of their daily tasks. However, lower levels of computer ownership and internet connection are more prevalent among low income households, non-family households, disabled populations, minority populations, and households with lower levels of education, which has resulted in lower digital literacy rates in these disadvantaged communities. In efforts to close this gap, a unique organization has made it its mission to advance digital literacy while maintaining social and environmental awareness. 

Public Counsel's Community Development Project (CDP) has worked with Human I-T, a nonprofit organization committed to closing the technology and digital literacy gap, while simultaneously reducing e-waste and creating jobs. Through donations received from individuals and companies, Human I-T refurbishes laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other technologies and donates them to organizations, community centers, families, and individuals. In addition to refurbishing, Human I-T provides digital literacy courses, vocational training, and technological support to its recipients, which fosters a network of support rather than just supplying a commodity.

Within its first year of being an active nonprofit, Human I-T diverted over fifteen tons of e-waste and donated technologies to 145 organizations and 137 families. In addition, over 70% of Human I-T's computers and technologies were donated directly to women. This is particularly significant since women are considerably underrepresented in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math. By providing the necessary tools and services to its clients, Human I-T not only is creating countless opportunities for individuals, but it continues to advance its mission by forming partnerships and collaborating with the City of Los Angeles through programs such as OurCycle LA, which has distributed 2,500 computers to low-income families and LA-based nonprofits.

From its early stages as a newly formed 501(c)(3) organization, CDP has witnessed the growth and impact of Human I-T firsthand. With the help of pro bono attorneys at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Proskauer Rose LLP, K&L Gates LLP, Manatt, Phelps and Phillips LLP, and Latham & Watkins LLP, CDP has provided Human I-T with impactful legal services such as drafting employee and volunteer manuals, reviewing organizational documents, trademarking intellectual property, and ensuring its good standing with the proper state agencies. In receiving these invaluable legal services, Human I-T's operations were strengthened, allowing the organization to focus on its mission and programs.

Aaron Wilkins, CFO of Human I-T, says, "We remain grateful for the pro bono services Public Counsel and the pro bono attorneys provide. Knowing that we have access to quality, free legal services allows us to grow and serve more of the community with the highest level of professionalism and confidence".

Currently, Human I-T has partnered with Our Children LA, a nonprofit that provides web-based resources to help unaccompanied youth find support and services. During the month of November, Our Children LA will collect used cell phones which will be recycled or resold to purchase new smart phones that will be distributed to youth at drop-in centers around the county. For more information on how you can participate, please click hereFor more information about Human I-T, please click here