As disparities in access and education have become increasingly clear during the coronavirus pandemic that continues to impact in-person learning, The Webby Awards
has teamed with Comp-U-Dopt
to deliver used computers to students in need.
Comp-U-Dopt, a nonprofit that exists to provide technology access and education, is dedicated to helping to close the digital divide for students across the United States. With Covid-19 infections continuing to rise, schools and governments are scrambling to keep students connected in virtual classes. But significant numbers of children throughout the country are still without access to a computer at home. To help fill the gap, The Webby Awards is teaming up with Comp-U-Dopt to encourage its massive community of Internet professionals to step in and step up.
“We’ve been honouring online achievement for 25 years,” said Claire Graves, executive director of The Webby Awards. “As submissions are open and we gear up to celebrate the best of the Internet again this year, we wanted to use our network and influence to help many of the kids who are struggling because they lack the hardware needed to do their schoolwork and access to the world of information available on the Internet today. Children are our future, and this is our opportunity to contribute to a future that provides more people more access and equity than ever before.”
During the past six months, The Webby Awards
has worked in partnership with YouGov to research how the pandemic is transforming our world. Among the findings gleaned from the 3,000 households polled is that 32% of parents are struggling with online schooling and nearly 50% are ready for the education system to permanently change in some way with new options for virtual education. This will only be possible with increased unilateral access to devices that allow all children to connect equally.
According to the Pew Research Centre, 46% of low-income families lack access to a computer at home. And United States Census Bureau data points to approximately 13 million families across the country facing the same challenge. With supply chain delays and the global demand for devices at an all-time high, Comp-U-Dopt’s approach is one of the most efficient and real viable methods of closing the gap for low-income students.
Individuals and companies interested in donating devices that are scrubbed to Department of Defense standards by Comp-U-Dopt can find detailed instructions on how and where to mail devices on The Webby Awards site. Donors can select a region where Comp-U-Dopt operates which includes communities in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, and Washington, D.C. and others.
“There are still many families without access to a device at home,” said Megan Steckly, CEO of Comp-U-Dopt. “Partnerships with organisations like The Webby Awards helps to advance our solution to sustainably solve the digital divide for families. We are sincerely grateful for their support, and belief in our mission to bring equal access, education, and opportunity to all children.”
Families in need of devices can visit Comp-U-Dopt’s website
, choose their location, and complete a short form to enter into a computer lottery. The organisation then randomly selects families on the lists based on their available inventory before inviting them to attend a drive-through distribution. Comp-U-Dopt – founded in 2007 – has distributed more than 21,000 computers nationally to students since March. Comp-U-Dopt and The Webby Awards, are optimistic that the thousands of people from across the globe logging on to the Webby’s site to submit entries for the 25th annual contest will donate to this worthwhile endeavour.