Biotech Companies Rally to Deliver Devices to Students & Families through Tech Goes Home

As work-from-home policies and hybrid and remote learning models continue into the new year, Life Science Cares Boston, a collective organization that connects the life science industry with nonprofits to fight poverty, has launched the organization’s 2nd 1,000 Laptop Challenge. Donated devices from area biotech companies, like Collegium Pharma, will be distributed to students across the Commonwealth through Tech Goes Home, a nonprofit that empowers communities to access and use digital tools to overcome barriers and advance lives, to help shrink the digital divide exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The pandemic has underscored just how significant a burden digital exclusion continues to place on the many individuals and families who remain without internet access, digital devices, or digital skills necessary at home to survive and thrive,” says Sarah MacDonald, Life Science Cares Executive Director. “These tools are essential to helping adults find jobs, empowering students to achieve, accessing critical health services for seniors, connecting with loved ones and engaging in civic activities. At the same time, companies regularly refresh their devices and end up with surplus of decommissioned equipment that still has plenty of useful life left. We are so thrilled to be able to make these connections.”

When COVID-19 hit Massachusetts in March 2020, Life Science Cares quickly launched a multi-faceted COVID-19 relief effort to help Greater Boston neighbors facing challenges during the crisis. The organization rallied more than 600 area biopharma executives and employees to raise $1.8 million that was granted to nonprofits providing food, shelter and medical care.

Tech Goes Home was one of the first nonprofits to receive support from Life Science Cares’ COVID-19 Response Fund. Since June, Tech Goes Home has served more than 2,400 learners, providing new computers and internet access via its community partners, including Life Science Cares’ nonprofit partners Just-A-Start, Breakthrough Greater Boston and Project Hope. In addition, the organization successfully transitioned its digital and life skill classes to an online platform, increasing access to fundamental digital skills training, community resources and benefits, and virtual learning opportunities. Individuals and families served by Tech Goes Home range in age from 3 to 94 and have a median household income of under $35,000. Eighty five percent of those served represent communities of color and nearly 50 percent are immigrants or first-generation Americans.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the urgency of the fight against digital exclusion, which is, fundamentally, a racial and social justice issue for our communities,” says Theodora Hanna, Tech Goes Home Co-CEO. “Support from Life Science Cares could not come at a more critical time. If our neighbors continue to suffer from digital inequity – especially now – their health, their education, their economic prospects, and their wellbeing will continue to suffer inequitably as well.”

Life Science Cares is challenging its network of companies and industry leaders to participate in the 1,000 Laptop Challenge. Collegium Pharmaceutical, a leader in responsible pain management, has already secured 134 laptops for the cause.

“As a company who is focused on making a positive difference in the communities we serve, Collegium is proud to participate in the launch of Life Science Cares 2nd Annual 1,000 Laptop Challenge,” said Alex Dasalla, Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications of Collegium. “Tech Goes Home is working hard to provide critically important resources to individuals in underserved communities who are facing challenges only intensified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we at Collegium are humbled to support them in this endeavor.”

Devices to be donated include new and refurbished Chromebooks, MacBooks and Windows laptops with Chrome OS, MacOS Catalina and Windows 10 operating systems. Technology dating earlier than 2016 will not be accepted. Laptops will be delivered to HiQ Warehouse in Medford, Mass. before distribution to students will begin through Tech Goes Home’s more than 200 community partners statewide.

For more information or to donate, contact Amber Black at amber@lifesciencecares.org.

Founded in Boston in 2016, Life Science Cares was created as a platform for members of the life sciences industry to give back while also giving nonprofits the funds and volunteer power necessary to grow and innovate. This combination of connecting multi-year grants and volunteers to nonprofits that need both is the core value the organization brings as it works to decrease the ever-widening economic gap in communities. To contribute to the Life Science Cares COVID-19 Response Fund, visit https://lifesciencecares.org/get-involved/covid-response/.