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By Jaidyn Crookston | October 19, 2021 | 6 Minute Read

Donate Old Computer Equipment to Help Your Community (and Possibly Receive CRA Credit)

PCs for People picking up computer equipment from North American Savings Bank
The ideas in this article came from a webinar with Sarah Baharin, VP, Fair Lending/CRA Officer at North American Savings Bank, and Zina Stankewsky at PCs for People. You can access the webinar recording here
Banks and credit unions have a lot of computer equipment. Like, a lot. But when it’s time for an upgrade, this old equipment usually ends up in a landfill. Even though it still works! 
Imagine what would happen if instead of sending your old computer equipment to a landfill, you recycle or refurbish that equipment and give it to people in need. 
With so many computers, printers, and other electronics being sent to the dump each year, reusing this equipment would make a huge difference to those in need. Especially for low-and-moderate income (LMI) individuals and families, who often don’t have access to the technology and internet service they need to be successful in today’s world. 
And this need has only increased during the pandemic. More than 30% of low-income households don’t have a computer,* which is a serious problem as more and more parents, children, and individuals need computers to do work or school from home. 
Many financial institutions, like North American Savings Bank (NASB), have already taken steps to help these LMI communities by donating their old computer equipment. 
When workers went remote during the pandemic, NASB updated its technology and retired old equipment. Sarah Baharin (VP, Fair Lending/CRA Officer of NASB) didn’t want to send this equipment to a landfill. While researching ways she could off-load retired equipment in a socially and environmentally responsible way, she reached out to a long-time local partner, Connecting for Good, now a PCs for People organization.
PCs for People is a nonprofit that recycles and refurbishes used electronics. They then distribute them at deeply discounted prices to low-income households and nonprofits throughout the United States. 
With 7 locations around the US and more on the way, PCs for People has distributed over 155,000 computers and recycled over 8 million pounds of technology since 2008. 
Last year, NASB donated 403 computers to PCs for People and donated over $8,000 to cover the cost of new hard drives for each of them. These computers were refurbished and distributed to various organizations and families in the community. According to Sarah, “These donations were vital to keeping our community's kids successful remotely and adults and organizations thriving and connected.” 
NASB arranged with PCs for People to keep 125 of the 403 computers for the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council,** a 501(c)(3) neighborhood improvement organization. Ivanhoe is one of NASB’s strong community partners and works to build a clean, beautiful, safe, and thriving neighborhood for their 6,000 residents. 75 of these computers were given to 3 community centers (25 computers each), and 50 computers were given directly to Ivanhoe residents in need. NASB also donated $3,750 to Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council to purchase 25 refurbished laptops..      
Not only did NASB help the community and the environment, the bank also hopes these efforts may receive positive consideration under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)
As NASB’s Fair Lending / CRA Officer, Sarah is always considering how NASB’s efforts to serve the community may also translate to CRA-eligible services, loans, and investments. In this case, in-kind computer donations to a refurbisher who serves the low-to-moderate income and nonprofit community and the donations made to Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council may receive positive CRA Community Development investment consideration. As Sarah indicated in the webinar, she in no way guarantees CRA credit for this or similar efforts and encourages any bank to do their own research, document their case for CRA eligibility, and work closely with their regulator.

If your bank or credit union has any old computer equipment, you should recycle it instead of sending it to the landfill (click here for a list of PCs for People’s accepted equipment). If you’re in an area served by PCs for People, they’ll be happy to come pick up your equipment. If you aren’t located in these areas, don’t worry. There might be other nonprofits nearby with similar missions that can help. Digitunity, a nationwide nonprofit that supports a network of computer refurbishers like PCs for People, may help identify organizations near you. Do some research and determine what your options are. 
By taking the time today to recycle your old computer equipment, you can help fight the digital divide faced by so many LMI individuals and communities. Not only that, but you may even get CRA credit. 
To learn more about NASB’s donation or PCs for People, check out this recorded webinar where Sarah talks about their program and the impact they’ve had in the community. 

* Please note that reference to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and its Employer Laptop Challenge Program and logo do not constitute or convey endorsement of the organizations referenced in this blog post or webinar, nor does participation in the Employer Laptop Challenge constitute automatic CRA credit.
** For more information about Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council and the great work they do in the community, please reach out to Dr. Karen P. Boyd, Executive Director at 816-921-6611.

None of Kadince, Inc., its affiliates, or its respective employees, directors, officers, and agents (collectively, “Kadince”) are responsible or liable for any content or information incorporated herein. Read full disclosure.

Jaidyn Crookston | Content Manager, Kadince

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