Annual Report

2023

Letter from the CEO

Dear Friends, Partners, and Community Members,

As we reflect on the journey of Human-I-T over the past year, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude and pride. In the face of challenges, we’ve not only found opportunities but have also redefined the boundaries of possibility. Our pursuit of digital equity and environmental sustainability has been fueled by our core values— bold ideas, brought to life with creative collaboration and a commitment to excellence in execution.

The strides we’ve made together in 2023 stand as a testament to our collective spirit of innovation, our commitment to holistic sustainability, and our unwavering dedication to our mission. Each achievement is a reflection of our principles to empower our communities with technology, learn and grow relentlessly, and embrace diverse perspectives, ensuring the best ideas always lead the way.

In 2023, we shattered records. With the distribution of an unprecedented number of electronic items, we’ve made Human-I-T history. This is a monumental leap forward in our mission to bridge the digital divide. From the tens of thousands of households we connected to affordable internet, to the thousands of new learners who embraced digital literacy through our programs, each person connected represents a step toward a more inclusive and equitable world. Behind these numbers are stories of real people whose lives have been changed for the better. 

By ensuring that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, gains access to life-changing technology, we’ve not only met our goals but set a new standard for what’s possible. This achievement marks a pivotal moment in our journey, reinforcing our commitment to create a world where digital access is not a privilege but a right for all.

This year took us from the doorsteps of individual homes to the heartbeats of communities everywhere. Thanks to over 100 events and resource fairs, and especially due to the strong relationships with folks at companies like AT&T, Visa, and other Fortune 500 members donors , we’ve been able to empower thousands of people with access to life-changing technology. 

The opening of our Digital Equity Center in Detroit, in particular, is a manifestation of this vision realized, a dream that General Motors and the Rocket Community Fund helped bring to life. This center is our promise in action, offering a welcoming space where technology meets people’s needs head-on – regardless of their income. 

This year, we’ve also taken our fight against e-waste to new heights, diverting a massive 3.6 million pounds from landfills. It’s a huge win, not just for us, but for the planet. And it’s all thanks to the incredible collaboration with our corporate technology donors, whose collective promise to do right by our planet is helping make tech accessible to everyone. Together, we’re building a future where we can all do well by doing good.

As we turn the page to 2024, I am extremely excited about what lies ahead. 

Our journey forward will see us refine and optimize our e-waste donation process, which promises to transform how organizations approach IT asset disposition. Integral to this will be the launch of an industry-leading technology donation portal, a platform that will deliver unparalleled transparency and engagement for our technology donors. This portal is designed to connect donors directly with the lives they’re changing and the environmental benefits of their contributions.

Equally exciting is the continued advancement of ‘Hugh,’ our AI-powered assistant. Hugh’s development represents a significant stride in our mission to stay on the bleeding-edge of what’s powering digital navigation. From simplifying internet bills to facilitating applications for critical digital resources and support, Hugh is set to revolutionize the way our users interact with technology, ensuring that our commitment to digital inclusion reaches new heights.

These groundbreaking initiatives represent just a few of the ways that our commitment to pushing boundaries and embracing innovation will deepen our social and environmental impacts in 2024 and beyond. 

I want to extend my deepest thanks to each of you—our employees, partners, donors, and community members. Your dedication, passion, and belief in our mission are the driving forces behind our success. Together, we are not just imagining a better world – we are creating it.

Here’s to a remarkable year, filled with more milestones, more impact, and more lives changed. 

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Together, we will continue to break barriers, protect our planet from e-waste, and empower people to unlock their full potential online. 

Warmest regards,

Gabe Middleton
CEO, Human-I-T

Our Mission

Human-I-T is a social enterprise that creates equitable access to opportunity by providing devices, internet access, digital skills training, and tech support for communities left on the wrong side of the digital divide, while at the same time, empowering businesses and organizations to do good by diverting technology from landfills to protect our planet.

In 2023, our employees, donors, and partners helped us create the following impacts in our communities:

60

devices distributed

to communities across the country

11

households assisted

with internet access

3

tech support tickets

resolved

5

digital literacy users

trained with the knowledge to unlock their full potential

3.4

pounds of e-waste

diverted and kept out of landfills

Innovations in our e-waste removal business

We Broke Our Records – Again

We’re proud to report a year of remarkable triumph in our ITAD operations. This past year, Human-I-T set new benchmarks for success, handling a record-breaking 3.45 million pounds of e-waste. This achievement marks more than just a numerical milestone; it represents our unwavering commitment to reducing the digital divide and our planet’s e-waste burden.

Our network of corporate technology donors has seen remarkable growth, with 257 new organizations joining our mission in 2023 to protect the planet from e-waste by donating their technology, including the onboarding of three new Fortune 500 clients. This surge in collaboration brought in over 5,700 pallets of technology in 2023 alone, each one a step towards a world that chooses to refurbish and reuse valuable computing resources rather than dispose of them in landfills. 

Our Business Development and Operations Teams have outdone themselves, ensuring that our mission resonates with organizations from every sector across the spectrum, making it easier and more impactful than ever to donate decommissioned technology.

Full Device Refurbishment – the Key to Enhancing our Environmental Impact

2023 was also a year of transformative improvement in our device refurbishment process. Our goal was clear: to not only increase the volume of donations we could process but to enhance the quality and impact of each refurbished device. By minimizing touchpoints, automating diagnostic and wiping stages, and maximizing the value of donated laptops, we’ve made significant strides in our operational efficiency. These improvements have allowed us to reduce the cost of goods sold (COGS) for grant-funded projects, maximize reuse, and amplify our community impact.

Simple Fixes Lead to a Better, More Nimble Distribution Process

Another pivotal part of our strategy this year involved a major redesign of our  distribution processes. By making key optimizations to our internal distribution procedures, we have dramatically reduced our shipping error rate to below 1%, ensuring that the right devices reach the right recipients with unparalleled accuracy. As a result, our community-based organizations can now rely on us to deliver technology that meets their specific needs with the utmost precision and reliability.

These process enhancements have not only increased our operational efficiency but have significantly improved customer satisfaction. Our ability to deliver timely and accurate hardware directly translates to more individuals and organizations empowered with the tools they need to thrive in a digital society.

As we look to 2024, we’re inspired by the progress we’ve made and are eager to continue our journey towards becoming a world-class ITAD provider. Our vision is clear: to bridge the digital divide and combat e-waste through a relentless pursuit of excellence. Together, with our partners and donors, we’re poised to make an even greater impact on the health and well-being of our communities and our planet.

Philanthropic Progress

We collaborated with our philanthropic donors to turn their contributions into innovative solutions that drive digital equity

In 2023, Human-I-T embarked on an tremendous journey, leveraging the power of collective action to bridge the digital divide like never before. With the collective strength of our corporate donors, including but not limited to AT&T and Visa, we’ve pioneered innovative solutions that have delivered unparalleled nationwide programmatic impact.

The Need is There, and So are We

This year, we’ve seen our efforts materialize into tangible outcomes, with 60,000 electronic items redistributed, including 24,000 laptops given free of charge to recipients across the country. 

This achievement is a testament to the synergy between Human-I-T and our corporate donors, whose contributions have been instrumental in expanding our reach and enhancing our impact. These collaborations with our donors have enabled us to participate in 100 community events and resource fairs, including 18 flagship distributions nationwide. These events are immersive experiences that afford us opportunities for genuine engagement with the communities we serve. 

Against a backdrop elevated with food, drinks, music, and interactive activities, we mostly spend these events empowering recipients not only with devices but also with the knowledge and guidance necessary so they can confidently navigate the digital world. By centering recipients’ stories and understanding their aspirations, these gatherings celebrate the potential of technology to uplift and connect people from all walks of life.

Now, as we expand our reach in 2024, we remain committed to enhancing these events further to create meaningful experiences that leave a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve.

Human-I-T and AT&T Joined Forces for a Third Year to Empower Communities Across the Country with Technology

Our collaboration with AT&T in 2023 stands as a beacon of our shared commitment to digital inclusion. With a generous donation propelling our initiatives forward, we’ve managed to distribute over 19,500 devices to tens of thousands of individuals in need, all while empowering them with access to low-cost internet plans and ongoing technical support. Through events in communities spanning from Oregon to Georgia to California and more, we’ve not only bridged the digital divide but have also fostered a sense of empowerment among recipients.

Human-I-T Stood Side by Side with Visa to Ensure People had the Digital Tools and Skills they Need to Unlock their Full Potential

Similarly, our collaboration with Visa has been pivotal in extending our programmatic impact to new heights, with 3,010 individuals receiving assistance in 2023 across Canada and the US. Our joint Digital Empowerment Program, aimed at providing fully subsidized laptops to households, exemplifies our dedication to creating equitable access to the digital ecosystem. This initiative, focused on financial and digital upskilling, underscores the holistic approach we take towards digital inclusion, ensuring that beneficiaries are equipped not just with devices but with the knowledge and skills to navigate the digital world effectively.

As we reflect on our achievements in 2023, we are filled with gratitude for the unwavering support of our corporate donors. Their commitment to our shared mission has been the driving force behind our ability to create innovative solutions and drive digital equity at scale.

Looking ahead to 2024, we are energized by the possibilities that lie before us. By continuing to collaborate with our partners, we will not only expand our reach through device distribution events and educational initiatives but also deepen our impact in the communities we serve. Our focus remains steadfast: to create a future where every individual, regardless of their background, has access to the technology and opportunities they need to thrive in the digital age.

Together, we will continue to break down barriers, close the digital divide, and empower communities across the nation.

We strengthened our relationships with government officials and got closer to the communities we served.

In 2023, we continued to build upon our strong track record of collaborating with government entities to bridge the digital divide. A prime example of this is our work with the City of Long Beach, where we executed a large-scale digital inclusion initiative funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Through this project, we empowered 1,400 residents in the city with a personal laptop, and 1,400 people also received a hotspot to guarantee access to high speed internet from anywhere, with specialfocus on populations that mirror those prioritized by upcoming federal funding programs like the Digital Equity Act and Broadband Equity and Deployment Act.

Our success in Long Beach was built upon our previous experience working with the city on a similar project funded by the CARES Act, which involved providing around 1,300 laptops and 1,300 hotspots to Long Beachers.”This established relationship, combined with our expertise as a subject matter expert and practitioner in the field of digital inclusion, positioned us as the go-to resource for executing the ARPA project effectively.

If there’s one thing our work in Long Beach showcases, it’s that we are the ideal partner for local and state governments interested in executing digital inclusion programs funded by the Digital Equity Act and Broadband Equity and Deployment Act. By continually refining our processes and leveraging our expertise, we are well-equipped to work side-by-side with local community-based organizations to identify beneficiaries, distribute devices efficiently, and ensure that the resources reach those who need them most.

A Remarkable First Year for Our Digital Equity Center in Detroit

When we opened the doors to our visionary Digital Equity Center on 7 Mile Road in June 2023, it marked the culmination of years of hard work and partnership-building. This first-of-its-kind retail space dedicated to digital inclusion was made possible thanks to the steadfast support of donors like Rocket Community Fund and General Motors, who provided critical funding to turn our ambitious vision into a reality.

From the moment you step inside, it’s clear this is no ordinary electronics store. Here, Detroiters can get affordable access to the four pillars of digital equity – low-cost devices, internet connectivity, digital skills training, and tech support – no matter their income level. Whether browsing the aisles of discounted laptops and tablets or signing up for a subsidized internet plan at our service desk, the Digital Equity Center offers a welcoming space to take advantage of truly affordable technology.

The first six months have shown just how powerful this human-first philosophy can be. We’ve guided over 4,575 Detroiters through our digital navigation pipeline. For many who recently started online classes, our Center represented the first time they had affordable tech support just down the street.

To those in Detroit and beyond, we extend an open invitation to visit our Digital Equity Center on 7 Mile Road. Our doors are open to anyone seeking to explore the possibilities of digital equity, whether you’re in need of a device, internet access, skills training, or support. Come see for yourself the impact we’re making and learn how you, too, can become a part of this digital revolution right in the heart of Detroit.

A First Year Look Back at the Impact of Digital Navigation

The success of the Digital Equity Center in Detroit is due to far more than just its affordability. At its core, the impact of this innovative center is enabled by our cutting-edge digital navigation model piloted in 2022. 

In practice, this means that our staff don’t just ring up sales – they take the time to understand each visitor’s unique goals and circumstances to build a personalized road map for getting online successfully. It could mean assisting someone in-person with basic computer skills, registering for our virtual training courses, or making sure they get the right model and data plan.

“Having the Digital Equity Center here means the world. I don’t have to worry about traveling across town or getting overcharged just to get my questions answered. The staff really take the time to make sure I’m set up for success online.”

-Rashida

“Helping navigate my fellow community members to the right side of the digital divide has been inspiring since opening last June. You can feel the difference being made in their lives digitally through the smiles we bring day in and day out.”

-Jake Arns

We’re deeply grateful to General Motors, Rocket Community Fund, and all our partners who continue empowering us to create new pathways to digital equity in our city. With the support of like-minded partners, we’ll be able to expand the reach of this innovative model by opening other Digital Equity in more neighborhoods across the country.

AI and Digital Equity: There is No Roadmap, So We Made One

As we embarked on the journey to refine the experience of full-service in-person digital navigation, it became increasingly clear that artificial intelligence (AI) would play a critical role in shaping the future of digital inclusion. 

Recognizing the monumental task ahead, we committed ourselves to a careful and deliberate integration of AI-based tools and programs across Human-I-T last year. This endeavor was a bold step towards realizing a future where digital equity is within everyone’s reach, especially when facilitated by the intelligent, compassionate application of AI.

Meet Hugh – The Manatee

Central to this effort was the incorporation of AI into the Human-I-T Online Store, transforming it from a mere marketplace into a comprehensive, accessible hub where technology serves as a beacon of empowerment. The debut of Hugh, our AI-powered assistant, represented a significant leap forward in our capacity to aid recipients in navigating the vast online world. Hugh was designed not just as a tool for facilitating online purchases but as an educational cornerstone, capable of assisting users with complex tasks such as deciphering internet bills, applying for government assistance, and exploring our array of services with unparalleled ease.

Check out our AI-powered Assistant

The Youth Need to Know that AI is Waiting for Them

Our experiences at the Digital Equity Center underscored the unmatched value of in-person interactions in creating lasting impacts. This realization inspired us to conceive an innovative experience for Los Angeles’ youth during Tech Empowerment Day 2023, held at the LA Coliseum: a chatbot text-based game that embarked players on a treasure hunt on a deserted island, all the while imparting the fundamental principles of prompt engineering. With over 300  participants and a myriad of unique, creative experiences with this interactive activity, this event served as a vivid demonstration of our strategic goals to transform lives and foster vibrant, resilient communities.

Check out our Pirates Chatbot Game

Looking ahead to 2024, our ambitions with AI are set high. Paramount to our vision is our goal of developing an AI-driven digital navigation chatbot, a multilingual platform capable of effectively triaging new recipients’ technological aspirations around the clock.

Furthermore, we aim to enrich our digital literacy courses with modules dedicated to teaching adults the utilization of generative AI and AI-based tools, leveraging our insights from the Tech Empowerment Day to enhance our in-person AI-enhanced events nationwide. As we stand on the threshold of a new era of digital equity, we invite you to explore the potential of artificial intelligence by interacting with Hugh, our AI-powered assistant, on the Human-I-T Online Store. This is your opportunity to see how AI can make technology accessible and understandable for all.

Visit us today, and let Hugh show you the possibilities that await when we harness the power of AI for the greater good.

Diverse Perspectives

Our work at Human-I-T is only possible because of our penchant for listening to other humans

For the past decade, Human-I-T has leveraged the input and feedback of everyone—from our employees, to our recipients, to the people who live in the different communities we serve—to shape how we approach digital inclusion.

After all, it is our belief that practicing radical transparency is key to helping us efficiently discover the truth, and that creating an environment where diverse perspectives are valued allows the best ideas to rise to the top.

Adherence to these values has been the backbone of so many of our most pivotal and impactful projects over the years, and 2023 proved to us that, by listening first and doing second, we are more equipped than ever to bridge the digital divide and drive digital equity in communities across the globe.

Stories of Opportun-I-T

Hear how getting access to technology changed Jack and Veronica’s life

Partner Highlights

Why our partners in the fight to close the Digital Divide, like AT&T, feel it’s imperative to collaborate with Human-I-T.

Streets of Curios-I-T

We have questions, and the people have answers

These Organizations Were Critical to Us Building Bridges in Communities Across the Country

In 2023, Human-I-T collaborated with a diverse range of organizations to tackle the digital divide by providing technology directly to communities in need. These efforts have significantly expanded the reach and effectiveness of digital inclusion initiatives. The organizations listed below have played a crucial role in this mission, bringing Human-I-T into their digital inclusion programs to ensure that access to technology leads to real opportunities for those we serve. Together, we’ve made substantial progress towards a more digitally equitable society.

EveryoneOn
Los Angeles County
Forest County
Housing Authority of Travis County
Hamden Public Library
Housing Authority for the County of Los Angeles
City of Detroit 
Forest County
California State University Dominguez Hills 
Wayne State
Join us in creating a more digitally inclusive world. If your organization is interested in partnering with Human-I-T to bridge the digital divide, click here to learn more about how we can work together to empower communities in need.

Our Monetary Donors

The key to promoting digital access

AT&T Foundation

Visa Inc.

The General Motors Foundation

The Rocket Community Fund

The Ahmanson Foundation

The City of Long Beach

The Cisco Foundation

TD SYNNEX
Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell
Wine Warehouse
Essex Property Trust
Microsoft Corporation
Michael and Kim Wilkins
Microsoft Corporation
Venable Foundation
Cox Charities
The Accenture Foundation
Dell Giving
Evalyn M. Bauer Foundation
Palo Alto Networks
Southern California Edison
The Union Pacific Foundation
California Water Service Group
Athena Thomas

Alisan Amrhein
Katerli Bounds
Chad Brown
Rebecca Brown Smith
Carter Covington
Gerald Cuesta
Will DeCamp
Timothy Dennig
Richard Elinson
Brigitte Erickson
Brooke Forsythe
Marjorie Foster
Edith Garcia
Gig Harbor High School Key Club
Vanessa Gorski
Jonathan Green
Daniel Harris
Kyra Jones
Lisa Kirkpatrick
Kara Lang
Benjamin Liu
Felix Mallard
Kerry McLeish
Rebecca McLeod
Theresa Mulligan
Kari Ortloff-Evernden
Samantha Pavich
Richelle Pittella
Nora Poulton
Revamped Recycling, LLC
Kathryn Rowland
Tod Scherwin

The California Emerging Technology Fund
Comcast
Digitunity
L.A. Care Health Plan
The Herbert R. & Jeanne C. Mayer Foundation
The City of Detroit
Spectrum Digital Education
MUFG Union Bank Foundation
The California Public Utilities Commission
The Rudolph J. and Daphne A. Munzer Foundation
Sheila Ortloff
Craig Newmark Philanthropies
The William C. Bannerman Foundation
The Michelson 20MM Foundation

PayPal
The Clif Family Foundation
eBay
Chegg
WarnerMedia
Intersport
Laserfiche
Sandler Partners
McMaster-Carr Supply Company
American First National Bank
Renaissance Charitable
CNY Global Foundation
The Bess J. Hodges Foundation
Perry Wright
Jason Becker
The Smart and Final Charitable Foundation
Overwatch Group LLC
The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Gregg Bussjaeger Memorial
Enersys
Tae Lim
Erik Rogers

Sol Sepsenwol
Slava Serpik
Kiaran Snyder
Matt Stofka
Dayna Svoboda
Leilani Terrell
Theo Travers
Michael Werbow
Nicholas Whise
Jermane White
Iris Yamashita
Guy Yeshayahu
Emanuel Zaya
גיא ישעיהו

Financials

2022-2023

Your support will continue to make all the difference.

Over the past ten years, individuals like you have ensured that we had the support necessary to expand the reach of our programmatic services and empower an ever-increasing number of people with access to digital technology.

Now, with one of our most successful years behind us, we ask that you continue to contribute to our mission of creating a world where everyone has equal access to the digital resources, connectivity, and support they need to unlock their full potential.

Empower people. Protect the Earth. 

Empower people. Protect the Earth. 

Empower people. Protect the Earth. 

Empower people. Protect the Earth. 

Empower people. Protect the Earth. 

Empower people. Protect the Earth.