1998: PCs for People was formed when Andy Elofson, a Blue Earth County social worker, arranged a donation for a local teen that was computerless. The computer was given by Blue Earth County to assist and foster this boy's exploration into his interest in computers. The boy had been expelled from school and was unsure where to turn. Six months after the donation the boy was creating a positive future for himself by developing web pages for a business in Mankato.
Several months after the first computer was donated by Blue Earth County, Andy was asked if he wanted another one. He thought, "Great, I can give it to someone else." Then two months later they asked if he wanted about 30 more. Andy recruited several tech savvy high school students from an alternative high school, started working out of an office at the government center in Mankato and PCs for People was born.
1999: After about 40-50 computers had been given out Andy started to make contacts with agencies about getting equipment to needy kids. Everyone was receptive and Andy had great sucess. PCs for People outgrew their office and moved into a recently uninhabited group home.
2000: PCs for People was added to the Minnesota state list for computer donations, we became a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher and entered into an agreement with MRCI (Mankato Rehabilitation Center, Inc.) that gave us 501(C)(3) status.
2001: Relationship/internship program developed with Minnesota State University - Mankato. PCs for People's website was developed.
2004: A new relationship developed with South Central College, in North Mankato. More students volunteered time to repair computers and to serve the community. 275 computers were given out this year.
2007: Over 1,500 computers have been distributed since 1998.
2008: After ten successful years in Mankato, PCs for People expanded its program impact by developing a new office in St. Paul, MN. During this time PCs for People incorporated with the Minnesota Secretary of State and received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS.
2009: PCs for People becomes a transitional work center providing temporary employment and training for individuals transitioning off government benefits and seeking full-time employment. Participants are able to learn real-world job skills while preparing themselves for new careers in technology and office administration fields. These partnerships include the Employment Action Center, Ramsey County, and the Changing Lives Program.
More than 2,000 computers distributed to low income families! 440 hours of phone support provided to computer recipients. Over 100 tons of computer equipment reused.
2010: PCs for People moves from their 2,000 Sq Ft. location into an 11,000 building. The new location will allow up to 11,000 computers each year to be refurbished.
2011: PCs for People has reused over 1-million pounds of computer equipment! Over 3,500 computers distributed this year. A new office is opened in Willmar, MN.
2012: 4,500 Computer distributed, almost 2,000 PCs repaired, 575 families signed up for reduced cost internet in only 3 months! New offices opened in Brainerd, Grand Rapids and International Falls, MN.