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The Business of Giving

Exploring philanthropy, non-profits and socially motivated business, from the Gates Foundation to your donation. A fresh look at the economy of good intentions.

November 24, 2010 at 2:51 PM

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Black Friday: laptop recycle program helps local nonprofits

Posted by Kristi Heim

Your old laptop might be ready to retire, but it can still travel the world on important missions.

It could be used to help Peace Corps volunteers teach AIDS prevention and computer literacy in Namibia, assist World Concern with its disaster response in Haiti, or help ActionAid manage and distribute humanitarian aid after the flood in Pakistan.


A staff member of World Concern in Haiti uses a donated laptop do to payroll in a Cash-For-Work program, which employs unskilled laborers to clear rubble and repair homes.

Those are some of the uses that Seattle-based nonprofit InterConnection has found for donated laptops and computers. InterConnection works to obtain used laptops from companies and individuals, refurbish them and put them in the hands of people in need.

This year the group is offering free shipping to anyone donating a laptop by mail anywhere in the country.

InterConnection Director Charles Brennick said he hopes that people who are considering buying new devices on Black Friday will put their old ones to good use and "turn tech trash into tech treasure."

Brennick, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, has shipped 25,000 computers since starting the organization 10 years ago, working with the Peace Corps, World Concern, World Vision and Microsoft Community Affairs.

InterConnection also offers inexpensive desktops and laptops to low-income and unemployed individuals and students in the U.S. Its volunteers get training on how to fix computers and install hardware and software.

Donors can get a prepaid label on InterConnection's website here.

InterConnection requests laptops that are functioning and less than five years old. Donors can also drop off their old machines in person at the center, located at 2222 N. Pacific St. in the North Lake Union neighborhood.

Businesses with multiple machines can also call or email to schedule a free pick up: (866) 621-1068.

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