Bridging the Digital Divide

{ March 15, 2022 }

The “Digital Divide” refers to the disparities in levels of access to, and use of, information and communication technologies and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted its presence in myriad ways: from the new status quo of remote work and school to telehealth and contact-free app deliveries. The digital divide disproportionately impacts people of color (see a 2016 Detroit Free Press article on racial equity and the digital divide) and children (see a 2020 Washington Post article regarding impacts on children) which can range from lack of broadband internet access (or internet in general), a home computer, software, and information technology skills and experiences, which are now necessary prerequisites for the modern school system and workforce. The pandemic has only exacerbated these issues, as shown by the geomap created by The Education Trust–Midwest (see the original with supporting information here).

In partnership with local social service organizations, Data-Driven Decisions will collect recyclable and reusable computers (and components), refurbish systems from what is salvageable, and distribute free refurbished computer systems to individuals and families in need. This will divert local digital waste and transform it into digital access for a local family with limited digital access.

Organizations like small nonprofits and mission-driven organizations can face similar issues in terms of access to practical data solutions. For example, it’s often not possible or practical to hire a full-time or even part-time data analyst so these specialized tasks must be delegated to staff that were not hired for such skill sets. This can lead to unreliable (and often undocumented) procedures, errors in reporting, and vastly underutilized data resources (think data as a burden instead of data as an asset).

Our business goal is to bridge the digital divide for small nonprofits, mission-driven organizations, and under-served communities by providing highly affordable, customized IT and data solutions. If you would like to learn more about turning electronic waste into digital access please feel free to contact us at

Published by Ken Roubal

As an aspiring data scientist and Founder of Data-Driven Decisions, L3C, my goal is to maximize the impact of nonprofits and mission-driven organizations by leveraging innovative and affordable data solutions. I worked directly within nonprofits for many years across a number of fields including mental health (8 years), affordable housing/homelessness (3 years), early childhood education (4 years), adolescent diversion within criminal justice (1 year). I have over 12 years experience in all aspects of mental health research in a community-based setting. I'm also a longtime computer enthusiast and refurbisher and I'm presently working on partnering with local organizations to deliver free computer systems to under-served communities.

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