Community Engagement in the Technology Industry

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It may seem odd to find charity and goodwill in an industry that often comes across as extremely competitive, but there is an organization in South Florida where technology companies, private businesses, educational institutions, and a non-profit come together to provide access to technology for other institutions and organizations in need. This organization is called the South Florida Digital Alliance, and it serves as a portal for the advancement of technology and communications infrastructure in the community. According to their website, the South Florida Digital Alliance (SFDA) “seeks to empower the information disadvantaged throughout South Florida through a variety of grants, educational programs and community outreach that within four short years has already demonstrated a profound impact on the educational opportunities, job skills, productivity and quality of life throughout South Florida.”

The non-profit entity of the SFDA was created in 2009 under the name, The Miami-Dade Broadband Coalition. Through a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Miami-Dade Broadband Coalition created an alliance of organizations spanning across the government, educational, healthcare, and non-profit sectors. These groups came together in support of connecting organizations to the Internet in order to increase the quality of life and work for the less fortunate in the area. Today, the SFDA creates opportunities for access to technology to many people in need of the resources required to succeed in business or education.

In order to provide technology benefits to students in the area, the SFDA relies on the donation of recycled and refurbished computer hardware from businesses that may be going through a technology upgrade. Companies can donate old computers, hardware, and other accessories to the alliance, which will redistribute those IT resources to schools or educational institutions as needs arise. Often the donations from businesses are large—70 computers or more. This provides a great way for an organization to recycle old devices that may otherwise be thrown out, and instead, the equipment can be used by students as tools of technology enrichment. Truly, a lifecycle of resources in the community.

Many technology companies take part in the partnership through the South Florida Digital Alliance, and they can provide support in several ways—from in-kind to monetary donations.

Hugo Perez, Managing Director at UDT (UDT), donates his time by serving as the Marketing Chair on the Board of Directors for SFDA, which is another way that those in the Technology Industry can support the initiatives of the SFDA.

The best way to strengthen a community is from within. By using already available technology resources, the South Florida Digital Alliance, and its membership organizations provide crucial IT support through the donation of hardware, software, and services in order to offer the greatest opportunity for learning and advancement within the community they serve. Though the market may be competitive, the goodwill of those in the technology sector shines through involvement in organizations such as the South Florida Digital Alliance.

For more information, or to support the SFDA, please click here.

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