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Helping a Charlotte organization bridge the ‘digital divide’

A smiling Sanai Jones holds a new-to-her laptop in her arms. To her, it’s more than a keyboard. It’s more than a screen. It’s a chance to complete schoolwork at home, a chance to stay up to speed with her peers, and a chance to pursue opportunities she might not otherwise have had.

This is the kind of opportunity the non-profit “Eliminate the Digital Divide”, or E2D, has been striving to provide to thousands of underprivileged students and families in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. Founded in 2013, the group’s goal is to solve the digital divide by giving students laptops, digital access and the training they need to succeed.

Lowe’s has been helping E2D accomplish its goals since 2013 by donating decommissioned laptops to the organization. E2D refurbishes the computers and distributes them to families in need of the technology.

“It is great to work for a company active in the local community,” said Dale Davis vice president of enterprise program delivery for Lowe’s. “We’re making a difference in the lives of others by helping organizations like E2D.”

To date, Lowe’s has donated more than 3,000 laptops to E2D. Just this month, Lowe’s employees were there to see nearly 90 of those computers make it into the hands of the students and families who need them. Students like Sanai.

“Lowe’s has been and remains our most important donor for E2D,” said Pat Millen, co-founder and executive director of E2D. “Getting over 3,000 laptops that we can refurbish …, well, I cannot tell you how critically incredible that is.”

In addition to providing students with laptops, E2D also recently worked with Lowe’s to provide a new computer lab at Garinger High School. There, Garinger students will be employed as computer technicians who will refurbish and reimage hundreds of laptops themselves. E2D hopes this helps gives Garinger students the chance to get hands on experience, while making more laptops available for other families.

Samuel Wilson, a senior analyst for Lowe’s, continues to play a vital role in organizing and arranging the company’s laptop donations. He was on site for the ribbon cutting of the new computer lab at Garinger.

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Lowe’s always says we’ve got to help people love where they live and I think this is a great example of that.
—Samuel Wilson