CAMBRIDGE MA (May 23, 2017) – A program that provides laptop computers to low-income Cambridge residents celebrated an important milestone on May 23. High school students as well as adults building job skills at the Community Learning Center were recognized and given computers at a gathering held at Google Cambridge’s Kendall Square headquarters. The program also honored partners and sponsors of the program. Speakers included Denise Simmons, mayor of Cambridge; Geeta Pradhan, president of Cambridge Community Foundation; and Liz Schwab, head of external affairs at Google.
“Increasing opportunity by creating pathways into the innovation economy is an integral part of our work at the Foundation,” said Geeta Pradhan. “This program, which started with a generous gift from Google of 200 laptops, has grown through a partnership of organizations all committed to building skills and making connections for residents—high school students and adults—who can benefit from adding skills, access to tools and training.”
Those in the program wrote about how getting laptops touched their lives, “It is very hard to share one laptop with four siblings because they also need to use a laptop as much as I need to, wrote one student. “Even my younger brother, who is in fifth grade, has to use laptop to do his homework. I have to wait for my siblings. It is almost impossible for me to go to bed before 11:30 pm . . . .”
Others were excited by the possibilities the tools created.
“…Technology promotes interactivity and involvement. It makes everything easier to access. It helps us be more efficient and productive.”
Tech-cellerate started with the gift of 200 lap-top computers and a support fund from Google to the Cambridge Community Foundation. The Foundation built a network of community partners – including the City of Cambridge and Cambridge Youth Programs, Community Arts Center, Enroot, the Herbert and Maxine Jacobs Foundation, Kendall Square Association, the Lemelson-MIT Program, and Prospect Hill Academy Charter School.
“We are delighted to have a part in this program in our neighborhood,” said Google’s Liz Schwab. “Using technology to connect people to opportunities is critical—especially here in the heart of the innovation economy.”
Students who could benefit from access to laptops were invited to join Tech-cellerate through the community partner organizations. Training and individualized projects were developed to ensure recipients would be able to make maximum use of the computers. The program is managed by Romaine Waite, a community activist and entrepreneur.
He first saw the gap in technology among students in The Port, where he lived, and understood the impact that had on their lives. As the world becomes more wired, technology matter more, connecting students to the internet and the world of online knowledge and opportunity.
As the center of the innovation economy, the need to address this gap in Cambridge loomed large and he teamed up with the Cambridge Community Foundation to address it.
About Cambridge Community Foundation
Cambridge Community Foundation was established in 1916, making it one of the oldest community foundations in the country. The only foundation with the whole city of Cambridge in its purview, it is a key supporter of nonprofit organizations, distributing grants to meet local needs and support the aspirations of Cambridge residents. The Foundation provides advocacy and leadership support to deal with urgent local challenges and partners with donors to provide a permanent source of charitable funds for the community.
About Google in Massachusetts
Located in the heart of greater Boston’s technology community and across the street from MIT in Kendall Square, Google Cambridge is our second largest office east of the Mississippi River. We opened a small Boston sales office in 2003, joined a new engineering team in Cambridge in 2006, and opened our current office in 2008. Our Cambridge office has more than 1,000 employees working in sales and many product areas, including search, travel, Android, YouTube, networking infrastructure, and Google Play.