About Us

What We Do

PCs for People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit striving to bridge the digital divide by providing the necessary tools to put a functional computer into the hands of low-income individuals and get them online.

Corporate Recycling Services

Our mission is fulfilled through the partnerships we have with over 250 business and government agencies to recycle and refurbish their retired electronics. As a corporate electronics recycler we are able to offer a free, safe, and responsible source for your end-of-life IT asset needs. As an organization we have developed an efficient and cost effective process to address businesses' concerns surrounding confidentiality, security, and sanitization of their digital data. PCs for People provides many of the same services a traditional electronics recycler would offer at no cost to the business. Our recycling services include a free pickup of all retired business electronics and National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) certified data sanitization services.

After recycled equipment undergoes our NAID certified sanitation process, our team of dedicated technicians refurbish all usable equipment, making it accessible to underserved populations of our community.

Once refurbished, the equipment helps us to further fulfill our mission to provide affordable personal computers, computer repairs, internet service, and education to people with limited technological experience due to social, physical, or economic circumstances.

Bridging the Digital Divide

At PCs for People we work hard to provide these services because we know the importance of having affordable access to technology in the home. Statistically speaking, better access leads to an increase in graduation rates, economic output, and long-term employment.

A big portion of our outreach outside of the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area is reflected through our PCs for Kids and PCs for Vibrant Communities programs. PCs for Kids is our response to the digital divide within the school system. The RAND Corporation's research found that "technology literacy plays an important role in a child's ability to succeed in school and later life." Since 2011, our regional partnerships across the Midwest with school districts and Head Start organizations have given thousands of low-income students the tools needed to develop skills for post-secondary success and future careers.

PCs for Vibrant Communities is a developmental initiative designed to connect adults looking for employment with a home PC through strategic partnerships with workforce centers. According to estimates by the U.S. Commerce Department, 95% of all new jobs created require significant computer skills. Our goal is to promote digital skills to prepare them for finding employment and building a career.

Volunteer & Intern Training

PCs for People gives hands-on educational experience through our work training, internship, and volunteer opportunities. Our programs teach the basics of hardware and software repair while learning how to refurbish computers. Volunteers gain a firsthand view of how a nonprofit organization operates. To learn more about PCs for People's volunteer and internship programs, please email your resume and cover letter to our Volunteer Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Upcoming Projects

So what's next? In 2015, we are continuing our partnerships with the Blandin Foundation and the Otto Bremer Foundation to further address the digital inclusion issues across the Upper Midwest.

Through the Blandin Foundation we are striving to address broadband adoption within rural communities on the Blandin Broadband Communities Project. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration reported that PCs for People's computers helped "parents pursuing higher education while they took care of their children at home; parents being better able to communicate with their children's schools using the internet and email; and individuals searching for and finding jobs." Access to the internet increases digital literacy skills and inclusion into the digitally-connected world.

Through the Otto Bremer Foundation we will work with five communities across the Upper Midwest, partnering with Workforce Centers and school districts to get computers and low-cost internet into the hands of those that lack this necessary life-line.

PCs for People strives to engage an entire community and leverage existing resources to address the digital inclusion disparities on a local and sustainable level.

If you would like more details on our corporate services or schedule a pickup please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.

Our Story

In 1998, Andy Elofson, a social worker with Blue Earth County, met with a young man who was expelled for misusing school computers. In an effort to help, Andy gave him an old computer the county wasn't using anymore. Six months later, the young man was creating a positive future for himself and others by developing web pages for local businesses and churches.

That is when PCs for People began. For the next 10 years, PCs for People operated out of a small office in Mankato, MN. Through the hard work of Andy and computer-savvy volunteers, the office's impact grew.

Our mission is to create new opportunities by providing affordable personal computers, computer repairs, internet service, and education to people with limited technological experience due to social, physical, or economic circumstances. In a concerted effort to bring PCs for People's mission to a larger constituency, we expanded to the Twin Cities!

Move to Saint Paul Headquarters

In 2008, volunteer Casey Sorensen became PCs for People's first Executive Director. That year, we opened our St. Paul headquarters, received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status and became certified through the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID) for data sanitization. PCs for People soon moved from our small office to a larger building on Marshall Avenue -- in what had previously been an old ice cream factory. Since opening, we've given out more computers each year. Our staff has increased from a few volunteers to 14 paid employees, multiple interns, Community Employment workers from TSE, and even more volunteers.

Low-Cost Internet

In 2012, PCs for People partnered with nonprofit Mobile Citizen to offer low-cost, unlimited data internet through Clear. Clients could now afford to go online with the PCs and laptops they received. This greatly expanded our organization, with thousands of new clients signing up for internet each year -- some connecting at home for the first time.

By the end of 2015, our available internet coverage will widen even more as Clear is absorbed to Sprint (though we temporarily don't have modems). Clients will soon have access to Sprint's nationwide internet coverage and even faster LTE speeds.

On-Going Projects & Grants

In 2010, PCs for People launched PCs for Kids to provide home computers to families with an elementary-aged child by partnering with schools in various midwest communities. Having a computer available at home gives a significant advantage to students by allowing immediate access to information, study materials and educational opportunities. This project has been very successful with support from the Otto Bremer Foundation, allowing thousands of families to recieve their own free computers in the past 5 years.

In the Spring of 2010, the Blandin Foundation, PCs for People, and 18 other coalition partners received a $4.7 million grant award on behalf of rural Minnesota communities. The program was titled Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) and it's goal was to bring a network of resources to rural Minnesota communities - especially those unemployed and seeking employment, small businesses, and local leaders. This grant expanded broadband and computer use in rural Minnesota areas.

PCs for People and the Blandin Foundation are continuing their partnership as a part of the Blandin Broadband Communities Program. We will provide 500 refurbished computers to rural Minnesota communities in 2015. Together we have already distributed over 3,000 computers to qualifying households to help enhance recipient's quality of life by staying connected to the people they care about and the information they need.

Recent Work

In 2014, PCs for People distributed 8,549 computers, completed 2,642 repairs, and signed up 6,491 new internet subscribers. Of the computers distributed, 2,400 of them were at no cost to the recipients through our PCs for Kids program. The average family size that we worked with was 3.3 people with a household income of $12,800. We estimated 47,183 people were impacted by our efforts, and 25,736 of these were children.

Our Impact

Population Served

our-impactTo receive a computer from PCs for People a potential recipient must be below the 200% poverty level, have a family member with a disability, or work with a social worker. Other examples of those who could qualify:

  • Adult & Child Mental Health Case Management
  • Employment Services
  • Medical Assistance 
  • MinnesotaCare
  • Food Support or Financial Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Section 8 or other Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • The National School Lunch Program's "Free Lunch" Program
  • Head Start

Individuals receiving a computer are asked to provide a small donation, usually $35-50. Many times government programs that clients are involved in will cover the donation. Another service offered to eligible individuals, even if they never received a computer from PCs for People, is affordable computer repair. Individuals can bring in any computer and have it repaired for $25 in most cases.

Read more: Our Impact