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Going Back — and Giving Back — to School

Posted by Rich Hume - CEO, Tech Data on Sep 21, 2020 8:32:00 PM

Students, teachers and families face unprecedented challenges this school year — e-learning, virtual classrooms, social distancing restrictions and hybrid teaching scenarios, to name a few. Working parents feel vastly under-resourced and school districts and students are navigating untested virtual learning programs. Even more troubling are those families without adequate access to the hardware and high-speed internet demanded by this new environment.

As a leader in both our industry and within our communities, Tech Data recognized that this moment was our opportunity — and truly our responsibility — to address this digital divide in education across the U.S.

With colleague input and support, we launched our largest-ever single charitable investment, supporting national and local organizations that are tackling digital inequity. We called this initiative Giving … Back to School. Click the image below to watch the short video.

Giving… Back to School – Tech Data’s largest-ever single charitable investment targeting organizations that are addressing digital equity and education.   

Committed to Education Since the Days of Dial-Up

 Children and education have long been a core focus of Tech Data’s community outreach efforts*. In previous summers, colleagues in our offices across the country were accustomed to team building (and a little inter-department rivalry) through annual on-site backpack and school supply drives. However, like many other companies, our U.S. offices have remained closed, and social distancing and sanitizing procedures are strictly enforced in our logistics centers — making traditional community activities largely impossible.

In light of this, the Giving … Back to School initiative provided Tech Data colleagues new ways to contribute to students and families in need, including:

  • Casting their votes for local and national nonprofits that they believed in.
  • Assembling virtual fundraising teams to compete for matching dollars from the company in support of additional causes.
  • Participating in contactless school supply and technology drives in their own neighborhoods.

Organizations Tech Data and its colleagues supported through
Giving … Back to School.

 Over the next few weeks, the Authority Blog will spotlight the nonprofits that received the most votes in each location.

Nationwide e-Voting and e-Cycling1-1

All Tech Data colleagues across the U.S. voted for national nonprofits in the digital equity space that they wanted to see the company support. As a result, we distributed $150,000 among several causes, based on the allocation of colleague votes they received. Among these organizations were Human-I-T and PCs for People, two national non-profits that provide refurbished technology like laptops, desktops and tablets to low-income individuals and nonprofits, affording them the life-changing impact of computers and mobile internet. Their e-cycling programs keep thousands of pounds of e-waste out of landfills throughout the U.S. each year.

Other national nonprofits that received votes from our colleagues, like EveryoneOn and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, focus on equitable access to the internet, addressing geographical and fiscal limitations among rural and urban communities.

Local Network Detected

2-1Likewise, Giving … Back to School also allocated financial support to local nonprofits based on the votes of the colleagues in our five largest U.S. locations. These neighborhood organizations included Boys and Girls Clubs in Florida and Ohio, Academy Prep Centers, children’s homes and homeless prevention centers. Our colleagues believed that the children at the highest risk of being left behind by digital inequity would see the greatest impact from these incredible organizations, supported by programs like online tutoring, virtual enrichment activities and digital learning etiquette training.

Local colleagues also recognized another group grappling with the shift to virtual learning: local school districts and education foundations. These organizations are on the front line of supplying resources to students, and Coronavirus has stretched already thin budgets. Our grants helped alleviate some of that tension and get much-needed tablets and hotspots into the hands of local students.

Competition, But Make it Virtual

3-2While our community relations team researched and vetted all the eligible organizations in the voting portion of this initiative, we also expected that our colleagues would have their own ideas of nonprofits that are helping students adjust to this school year.

In order to capture the personal passions of these philanthropic colleagues, Tech Data allocated an additional $50,000 to match personal fundraising efforts. All U.S. colleagues were eligible to create their own fundraising teams and compete in a Team Challenge. The top fundraisers would then receive matching dollars from Tech Data — up to $10,000 per team! The team challenge concluded this past Friday, and we will announce winning teams, their selected nonprofits and fundraising totals in a forthcoming blog post.

Stay Tuned — And Stay Connected

Support for our communities is woven into the fabric of Tech Data’s culture, and we are proud to partner with organizations that are making differences in the lives of our students, teachers, and families. I want to thank all of our colleagues who contributed and made their voices heard.

At right, you’ll see all the organizations we supported through Giving … Back to School. I encourage you to learn more about the profound impact each of these organizations are having in communities across the country and to join us in our collective crusade against digital inequity. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that we know we are Stronger Together.

About the Author:

Rich Hume has served as Chief Executive Officer of Tech Data since June 2018. In his role as CEO, he is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and oversees all aspects of the company’s extensive global operations. Rich first joined Tech Data in March 2016 as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Tech Data, he worked with IBM for over 30 years. Rich holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the Pennsylvania State University.

Tags: Corporate Social Responsibility, Giving Back, Digital Equity, CSR