Mary Helen Montgomery
The Enterprise Center’s digital equity program Tech Goes Home had big plans this spring for another term of hosting classes across the city to residents who were interested in learning basic computer skills. Of course, plans changed — and while we could no longer host classes, we still wanted to get technology into the hands of the people who needed it most. With more than 100 laptops in storage, and the opportunity to purchase additional tablets and hotspots, The Enterprise Center is donating more than 300 pieces of hardware (laptops, tablets, and hotspots) to nonprofit partners who will use them to improve service to our community.
Clínica Médicos, which serves medical needs in the Latinx community, will use the devices to connect with clients through telemedicine. Hospice of Chattanooga will be able to provide patients the opportunity to stay in touch with loved ones while in-person visits are not feasible. The Partnership for Families, Children and Adults has helped three families living in their domestic violence shelter, each with school-age children who were able to use hotspots and Chromebooks to stay current with school work.
The COVID-19 crisis has only underscored the importance of being able to keep in good communication, and Bridge Refugee Services is using their tablets and hotspots to run ESL classes for local refugees. Two other partners, Reach One Teach One and The Bethlehem Center, are both using these new connectivity resources to help low-income students complete online learning. A pastor at a local church, who had not been able to stay in touch with his congregants since social distancing began, is now able to communicate with his congregation through live video. Greenspaces is focusing on workforce development, and is using the donated laptops for a training program. Even the creative community has been impacted — Soundcorps, a nonprofit that serves musicians, is using donated hardware to help artists live stream music and collect an income.
The Enterprise Center is humbled to have the opportunity to work with such incredible partners who have such strong relationships in our community. We believe that access to technology can always have a meaningful impact on people’s lives, and especially during this time.