News and Record

Partnership helps get free laptops into Guilford County students’ hands for distance learning

GREENSBORO — Guilford Education Alliance is purchasing thousands of refurbished laptops for Guilford County Schools students lacking technology as they attempt to learn from home due to COVID-19.

The nonprofit group has raised more than $300,000 thus far, toward a goal of $700,000, according to GEA Executive Director Winston McGregor, who also is a school board member. The laptops are free to students who qualify for them.

The plan is for the alliance to get 10,000 of the devices to the schools at a price of $70 each. Schools are checking in with families about their situations and trying to figure out where the greatest needs are. The first 520 of the laptops went out to schools and students on Monday.

GEA is working with the High Point based nonprofit Technology for the Future on the project. Technology for the Future provides a 1-year warranty for each device.

Adrian Martinca, the founder of Technology for the Future, also runs a company called A.M. Technologies. He is sourcing the laptops through his company and through other suppliers and partners that take part in something called the National Digital Inclusion Effort, he said.

He explained that he was able to lock in prices for the refurbished laptops at about $140 per computer, which he said was the going price a few weeks ago. Now, as the era of coronavirus and school closures ramps up, he said those same type of refurbished laptops are going for about $300 on the open market.

“This is going to be the new hand-sanitizer issue,” he said of the sudden surge in demand.

Martinca is providing a challenge grant of up to $700,000 to GEA, the group said, covering half the cost of the laptops and making the price $70 apiece, rather than $140. About 1,000 have been prepped and delivered to the school district thus far, Martinca said.

Leading contributors to GEA’s fundraising for this project include the Edward M. Armfield Sr. Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Say Yes Guilford and the Enrichment Fund.

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