United Way of North Central Florida distributes over 70 laptops to those in need in Alachua county

United Way of North Central Florida distributes over 70 laptops to those in need in Alachua county

The United Way of North Central Florida (UWNCFL) recently provided over 70 laptops to those in need in Alachua County. United Way NCFL supplied individuals currently participating in tutoring courses and workforce development programs with a computer to continue their education, development, and skill building by providing the tools needed to help them be successful.


The computers were provided to United Way NCFL through a donation made by SumTotal, who contacted United Way to let them know they had extra laptops that they wanted to donate.  First Federal Bank and Cox Communications sponsored the program and assisted the United Way in getting the laptops refurbished and ready to be distributed to the community.


“As the only mutual bank chartered in the state of Florida, First Federal Bank is committed to supporting local non-profit organizations that help our communities flourish,” said John Medina, the bank’s President and CEO. “United Way of North Central Florida’s vision is to ‘empower everyone to achieve their full potential’ and we’re honored to help advance this goal.”


Many individuals are currently using library computers for computer services, job applications, and literacy courses and need the extra support of a laptop. A decision was made to take a holistic approach to the distribution and the United Way partnered with the Alachua County Library District to help coordinate the distribution of the donated laptops to those with the greatest need in our community. An application and rubric were created to ensure the specific need of each applicant, including participation in tutoring courses, workforce development programs or other courses and skills training were met, and how having a laptop would help the recipients’ development and skill building. In the two weeks that the applications were made available, there were 159 applicants ranging in age from their mid-20s to over 65 years old.


“Digital literacy for adults is very important and being able to access the internet is just as important. Almost everything is online these days, job applications, shopping, and community services to name a few. The recipients of the laptops will now be able to use this tool to make a small part of their lives a little easier.” – Brad McClenny, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Alachua County Library District


The distribution event began on Wednesday, October 12th at the Headquarters branch with two more dates on Thursday, October 13 at the Alachua branch, and Sunday, October 16th at the Tower Rd. branch. All individuals selected to receive laptops were invited over the three days to pick up their laptops and receive how-to computer training and internet safety lessons. In addition, Cox Communications provided presentations on low-cost internet options and family learning programs. The United Way concluded the event with additional bags containing information on financial literacy and additional resources.


Rahkiah Brown, the Director of Community Impact for the United Way of North Central Florida expressed her appreciation for all of the organizations that worked together to help deliver the laptops to those with the greatest need in our community, “I’m so grateful for our sponsors Cox Communications and First Federal Bank for making it possible for us to distribute quality computers to deserving individuals in our community. I’m glad that SumTotal thought of us when considering their computer donation. By partnering with the Alachua County Library District, we were able to facilitate distribution events that were full of great information and additional resources that will support the personal and professional goals of the recipients.  We know there’s a significant need for computers in our community and we hope the opportunity to do something like this again will come soon.” 


The United Way of North Central Florida is an autonomous organization serving the six county area of Alachua, Bradford, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union. The United Way is focused on the building blocks that lead to a good quality of life including education, health, financial stability, and immediate living needs. The United Way of North Central Florida will be celebrating its 65th year serving the community next year. You can learn more about UWNCFL at https://www.unitedwayncfl.org/


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