Sioux Falls Re:Boot drive looks to outfit groups with computers, tablets

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When you consider donating to local nonprofits, gifts of money, time, or products related to the organization’s mission might first come to mind.

But basic operating tools can be also be difficult to afford.

Technology is critical for an organization to run efficiently. Local biotech consulting firm, DRACO, has developed a solution for area nonprofits. 

In partnership with the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship and SEAM, DRACO launched a technology drive, Re:Boot Sioux Falls, in November. Twelve local nonprofits were selected as beneficiaries, and Re:Boot aimed to collect and refurbish at least 200 units, including desktop computers, laptops, and tablets.

“We’re looking for donations so they can focus their time and efforts on their mission,” said DRACO founder, Eric Sandhurst. “If we can offset some of those operating costs by donating a computer, then more of their time and money can go toward their mission.”

So far, around 75 units have been donated—enough to meet the needs and requests of seven of the beneficiaries. Sandhurst is actively promoting a second donation campaign to reach the final goal. 

He says the majority of the initial donations came from corporate partners, banks, and schools, and most of the donated units were desktop computers.

“With this second donation campaign, we are aiming to engage more with the public, rather than just businesses, so we have a more distributed giving network where the public is helping out nonprofits in our community,” Sandhurst said.

The twelve nonprofits listed below are the beneficiaries of Re:Boot’s first technology drive: 

  • Active Generations 
  • Alpha Center
  • EmBe 
  • Feeding South Dakota
  • Glory House of Sioux Falls
  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls
  • Helpline Center 
  • McCrossan Boys Ranch
  • Reclaim Community
  • The Salvation Army
  • Toy Lending Library of South Dakota
  • Volunteers of America, Dakotas  

“They’re community service-oriented across the board—from children, to seniors, to people getting back on their feet, to new and expecting mothers,” Sandhurst said. “They’re providing a wide variety of essential and critical community services. We tried to pick 12 that covered a number of different sectors including activities, housing, education, and food.”

The five organizations whose needs have yet to be met are Active Generations, Alpha Center, EmBe, Helpline Center, and Volunteers of America, Dakotas. 

According to Sandhurst, the greatest need right now is tablets and laptops. He notes that these have been more difficult to collect as they hold their value well, making people less likely to donate. 

As far as condition, Re:Boot requests units that are five years old or newer, have little to no damage (scuffs or minor scratches are acceptable), and contain an Intel Processor 5 or higher. Once Re:Boot receives the units, they work with SEAM to fully test and wipe data from the systems. 

Sandhurst emphasizes the safety of working with SEAM, a trusted authority when it comes to data security. Regardless of whether or not donors are able to wipe their devices prior to donation, they can rest easy in the knowledge that SEAM will remove everything and completely reset the systems. 

If a donated unit does not end up fitting the beneficiaries’ needs, Re:Boot will handle recycling.

In addition to technology donations, Re:Boot hopes to raise at least $1,000 to assist in the purchase of Microsoft Office and Office 365 for the donated systems. Through a partnership with TechSoup, Re:Boot is able to provide up to 50 individual Office 365 licenses for $11.00 each and up to 50 Microsoft Office upgrades for $20.00 each.

Initially, Re:Boot also planned to host workshops on a number of topics including computer and internet safety, resume building, basic programming, and computer troubleshooting. These would have taken place after the donated units were distributed, and they would have been tailored to each organization’s specific needs.

Due to COVID-19, the workshops will now be formatted as PowerPoint decks created by Dakota State University students. These will be available to all beneficiaries, and more specific assistance may be offered via Zoom meetings.

How to donate

Technology donations will be accepted at Zeal throughout the summer. Appointments are not necessary, but they can be made by contacting Sandhurst at eric.sandhurst@draco.bio. You can also contact Zeal’s community manager, Peter Hauck at 605.275.8020 or peter@realzeal.com. For larger donations, please contact Sandhurst in advance. 

Re:Boot also requests that donated items be wiped down with disinfectant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

If you would like to make a financial donation, you can donate online via Patreon, or write a check to Dakota Research and Consulting Organization (a nonprofit organization). Checks can be dropped off at Zeal or mailed to DRACO, Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship, 2329 N Career Ave. Suite 213, Sioux Falls, SD 57107. 

You can also view detailed Re:Boot Donor Information online

This article was produced by Startup Sioux Falls and syndicated by the Sioux Falls Business Journal. Startup Sioux Falls is a digital hub that aims to connect the communities, companies and non-profits that make up Sioux Falls’ startup ecosystem.

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