Connect Illinois Computer Equity Network

Connect Illinois Computer Equity Network

Through a first-of-its-kind collaboration among the State of Illinois, PCs for People, Cook County, and various community partners, Illinois has launched a statewide network that will receive, refurbish and redistribute used computers for those in need. Over 1.1 million Illinois households lack at-home computer access and this initiative aims to help bridge the digital divide for equitable advances in remote learning, work from home, telemedicine, and other requirements of everyday life.

The new Connect Illinois Computer Equity Network will put upgraded devices into the hands of Illinois families in need by hosting community distribution events across the state in 2021. To determine eligibility, please review the FAQ below.  To check for a distribution event near you, please view the below list of upcoming community events below– this list will be updated on a regular basis as additional events are scheduled across the state.

To source the network with newly refurbished computer devices, the State of Illinois is working with private and philanthropic partners to build a pipeline for Illinois households in need. For those interested in donating, more information can be found below.

Illinois is the first to develop a statewide computer equity network devoted to collection of used computers from public and private sectors – matched with a state contribution as well – for a multi-year commitment to distribute tens of thousands of upgraded devices for Illinois households on an annual basis.  The Illinois Office of Broadband will leverage ongoing digital equity and infrastructure programs to maximize the impact of the computer equity network and to help close the digital divide in Illinois.

 

FOR DISTRIBUTION OF DEVICES:

Who is this program for?
Illinois households without access to a working computer or internet device or those seeking to donate are encouraged to visit PC’s for People’s website to register and learn more about how they can request a computer.

To be eligible, residents must be below 200 percent of the poverty level or enrolled in income-based government assistance programs, such as free or reduced school lunch, Medicaid or SNAP.

How do I apply to receive a free computer?
Residents seeking a newly refurbished computer should take the following steps:

  1. Visit the PCs for People website here.
  2. Find a community distribution event near you – and click the location to register, or go to the registration page here.
  3. To apply, residents must produce proof of eligibility at the time of applying, including documentation of income-based government assistance. For more details please refer to eligibility guidelines here.
  4. Wait for your application to be reviewed. Once approved for pick up at an event, you can collect your new computer/device. Plan to have proof of eligibility on hand. All community distribution events will observe COVID-19 health guidelines.

What if I don’t see a community event near me?
Events will be scheduled throughout 2021, with at least one in every Illinois county. Don’t see an event near you just yet? Check back for more information or sign up to hear when an event is planned near you here.

What if I cannot make it to one of the community events?
Newly refurbished devices can be purchased on PCs for People’s online store. Products are available based on supply at low-moderate costs. Customers must show proof of eligibility at the time of purchase.

When can I expect to receive my equipment?
PCs for People will distribute computers to eligible households from community distribution events scheduled in counties across the state.

What should I expect to receive on my device?
As a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher, PCs for People is able to provide computers with licensed copies of Windows 10.

Monitors, accessories, hardware upgrades and additional software (such as licensed Microsoft Office) are available for an additional fee.

 

FOR DONATIONS:

How do I donate my computer or laptop?
To donate to the Connect Illinois Computer Equity Network, please bring used computers and devices to any of the upcoming community events, or to one of these two statewide distribution centers:

  • PCs for People Warehouse – Metro East – 100 Florida Avenue, Belleville, IL 62221
  • Opening to the public for sales and donations on January 11th – store hours 10am to 4pm
  • PCs for People Warehouse – Chicago-Cook Metro Area 15900 S. Cicero Avenue, Oak Forest, Illinois 60452 (Coming soon in 2021!)

For corporate donations, or donations of 15 or more pieces of equipment, please schedule a free pick up here.

What types of donated computer equipment will be accepted?
PCs for People will accept any and all used computer equipment, redistributing what it can refurbish and recycling what it cannot refurbish.  There are a limited number of items that are not accepted including home appliances, lightbulbs and hazardous materials.

What’s the PCs for People process for refurbishing equipment and protecting information?
PCs for People is NAID AAA and R2 certified, requiring the non-for-profit to practice the highest standards of information destruction, hard drive sanitization, and environmental computer device recycling along with a zero-landfill policy.

Is my donation eligible for a tax reduction?
PCs for People will provide a receipt that contains our tax ID number and the IRS code for a tax deduction for property donated to a charitable organization under applicable rules and regulations.

Which partners have contributed so far?
Several philanthropic organizations have stepped up to partner, including the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, the Jewish United Fund, the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Project partners are in contact with several large corporations which have expressed an interest in donating to the Connect Illinois Computer Equity Network.

The State of Illinois is working with Illinois companies to recruit donations to the initiative.

What do I do if my organization would like to host an event?
PCs for People will support the state in coordinating public/private partnership and events. Visit the PCs for People webpage to fill out a form to host an event (just above the FAQ section).

Computer Equity Network Distribution Events Calendar:
Please visit the PCs for People page here and fill out an application.