By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond Promise teamed up with Tech Exchange to host a laptop distribution event for college-bound scholars at the Richmond Main Public Library on Sat., Aug. 26.
Funded via Richmond Promise’s grant from the City of Richmond’s Department of Children & Youth, the organization handed out nearly 40 laptops provided by Oakland-based Tech Exchange, which in part provides free refurbished computers and digital literacy training to low-income families. Another roughly 15 laptops will be distributed to scholars soon.
College-bound scholars who completed their Richmond Promise “Summer Bridge” onboarding indicated an interest in receiving refurbished laptops for use in college.
Students receiving Pell Grant, Cal Grant B and the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth received priority in the laptop distribution process.
Emani Mason, a recent Kennedy High graduate headed to UC Davis this fall, called the distribution “very exciting and helpful.”
“I was having a lot of trouble finding a computer that would help me in college and be affordable because I am a low-income student, so it was a matter of getting the right tools on the computer and the right price range,” Mason said.
Richmond Promise Executive Director Chris Whitmore emphasized that, “Providing access to technology is so important when we talk about empowering Richmond students to have success in college and beyond,” and expressed gratitude to Tech Exchange for helping the organization bridge the digital divide.
Richmond Promise is an organization that provides postsecondary access and success—and since its origins in 2016—has supported more than 3,300 young people from Richmond “to and through” higher education. Currently, more than 1,500 scholars per year pursue their associate and bachelor degrees, and career technical education certifications nationwide supported by Richmond Promise scholarships.
The organization traces its roots to a $35 million, 10-year investment from Chevron Richmond, with the aim of building a culture of postsecondary access and success throughout the city.