Owning a Computer is Fundamental to Achieving Digital Equity
Everyone who needs a computer should have one, and no one can be left behind.
Owning a computer is critically important to being able to participate in an increasingly digital world. There are 36 million people in the United States that do not have a computer at home. We acknowledge that historical and institutional barriers have led to this persistent problem.
The mission of Digitunity is to make owning a computer possible for everyone.
A ready and robust supply of free or affordable devices will be made available through accessible, resilient, community-level distribution systems, to ensure that anyone who needs a computer has one.
Theory of Change
To solve this problem, Digitunity commits its time, expertise, energy, and influence to:
- Cultivate a ready and robust supply of free or low cost computers to support digital inclusion;
- Establish or bolster local systems of distribution; and
- Develop and apply knowledge that leads to inclusive systems change.
Primary Work Streams
Unlocking Supply to Advance Digital Equity
- Influence how business, government, and other large institutions manage IT assets so that they support the communities in which they operate.
- Develop and deploy innovative supply chain solutions to redirect supply to support digital inclusion.
- Source and place large quantities of unfinished equipment with certified refurbishers and finished equipment with other Network member organizations.
- Find meaningful ways in which for-profit entities can contribute towards achieving our mission.
- Advocate for policy changes that can expand device ownership within intended groups.
Advising Communities on Sustainable Device Solutions
- Engage directly with states, cities, and coalitions to guide them towards long-term, sustainable device solutions based on our Methodology for Sustainable Device Ecosystems.
- Develop and continuously improve playbooks and repeatable models to be utilized at scale.
- Explore and determine viability of Network as distribution vehicle in communities
Cultivating and Leveraging Knowledge
- Gather and document learnings and best practices from the field to develop, deploy, and improve sustainable and repeatable models to expand device ownership.
- Develop and share institutional knowledge through research, publications, and education that continually informs the field.
These organizational values are at the core of our work, shaping how we make decisions, and guiding how we engage and interact with partners, donors, peer organizations, and each other.
In service to our mission, we are willing to take risks. We are courageous, knowing that we will have both successes and missteps along the way. We embrace the challenge of this work.
Curiosity and Humility
We ask questions. We learn from others and are humble enough to recognize that we don’t have all the answers. We seek novel solutions, even when they are not apparent or easy. We let our good work speak for itself.
Honesty and Integrity
We take responsibility to ensure our actions match our words. We prioritize open, transparent communication in all interactions. We are committed to continuously learning about the historical and current structures that cause inequity.
As a human-centered organization, Digitunity believes in the innate value of each person. This is reflected in our organizational culture and guides our activities with partners and the communities we serve. The work is serious, but there is fun in collaboration. We respect each other and bring our best selves to this work.
Interdependency and Collaboration
We recognize that advancing digital equity cannot be done in isolation. Solving this issue requires each of us to leverage and share our unique perspectives, expertise, and insights. The success of this work requires us to rely on each other, both institutionally and individually. We honor that this takes time, and requires trust building and shared risk, in service to the mission.
We recognize the human toll of the digital divide and the urgency needed to address it, while simultaneously affirming that long-term, comprehensive solutions are the goal. Acknowledging and working against the interconnected systems of power that created and maintain this divide is complex. The work we do must be predicated upon grappling with history in an effort to create a better future.
Guiding Principles and Assumptions
Abundance & Asset-Based Mindset
We believe that there are sufficient resources in circulation to end the digital divide, and lasting solutions require articulating a common vision, engaging non-traditional partnerships, and utilizing creative approaches.
We are working to solve a challenging problem, rooted in complex, interwoven causes. Our work is driven by a deep conviction that the digital divide is, at its core, a matter of equity. In addressing the digital divide, we are doing our part to build a more fair and just society.
We are consistently presented with choices in our work and we look to our mission as the first consideration in our decision-making. In terms of revenue, our goal is not “what can we accomplish with the revenue that we have generated?” Instead, we aim to generate the revenue required to accomplish our goals.
Digitunity centers individuals impacted by the digital divide in its thinking. However, we do not specifically serve individual people; instead, we use our unique experience and national perspective to influence and reshape local systems so that historically marginalized people, such as people of color, older adults, and those with lower levels of income and education, all have the ability to thrive in the modern economy. It is those individuals who are the ultimate beneficiaries of our work.
In response to this complex national issue, Digitunity’s efforts are national in scale, not bound to any specific geographic area. We employ education and influence to make change; we go where the energy is. We work from both the outside and inside of organizations. We recognize that incremental change can lead to substantial impact. We stand alongside high quality organizations that share our values.
Digitunity is in a unique position to foster systemic changes and also support local efforts. However, success for Digitunity is not defined in the same way a local practitioner may define it. Digitunity’s work occurs at a level above the “front lines” and we work to leverage that position to benefit local communities.
While short-term gains may indeed be the outcome of our work, we are striving for lasting, sustainable solutions. We also believe that environmental sustainability must be a concept woven throughout a system.
We support and actively work to include the input of those most affected by digital inequity. We also put the needs and will of a local community first, always.