Powering up schools in need, one surprise at a time

Over the past six weeks, Softchoice employees, along with volunteers from Lenovo and VMware, have been visiting underserved schools across North America to surprise students with new classroom technology as part of our Power Up technology grant program. Power Up focuses on breaking down the barriers created by poverty by investing in schools serving low-income communities.

In 2016, our inaugural year, Power Up put technology in the hands of more than 3,000 students. This year, we welcomed another 4,000 students from 10 deserving schools to the Power Up family.

For children living in under-resourced communities, learning to use technology through a quality education is pivotal to breaking the cycle of poverty. Classroom technology fosters a love of learning, builds self-confidence, and develops the problem solving and collaboration skills critical to thrive in the careers of tomorrow.

Beginning in early February, our local teams connected with passionate educators to unveil stacks of laptops, Chromebooks and tablets for unsuspecting students. There were countdowns, dramatic reveals, cheers, high-fives, and spontaneous dance parties. In many schools, we stayed after the festivities concluded to mentor students on the new devices.

By partnering with teachers and administrators who have a strong plan for achieving positive student learning outcomes through technology, we are hopeful that each Power Up school will see improvements in core curriculum subjects (literacy, math, science), 21st-century skills (computer literacy and coding) as well as overall student learning engagement. We also plan to build long-lasting relationships with each school through ongoing school visits and mentoring.

Power Up grants are funded through Softchoice employee donations and program partners, Lenovo and VMware. For the full list of this year’s winning schools, click here. To learn more about Power Up, visit www.softchoice.com/powerup.

Softchoice and Lenovo partner up to POWER UP schools in need


Here at Softchoice, we believe technology is a powerful learning tool and a means to a better world.

When applied to classroom learning, the use of technology challenges children to think critically and to solve problems in new and innovative ways. It connects them with the most current information and interactive learning programs available, and it nurtures a more social and collaborative classroom environment.

Many schools across North America, however, are strapped for cash and have had trouble keeping up with basic infrastructure demands. Technology, like laptops and tablets, are considered a ‘nice to have’ by comparison and a much lower priority.

As a result, schools rely heavily on local fundraising, particularly through parents, to fill in funding gaps. This places schools in low-income neighborhoods at a particular disadvantage, as their fundraising tends to yield far less than schools in more affluent areas. These same families are also far less likely to have a computer or Internet access at home.

Through the IT solutions we’ve delivered to our educational clients, Softchoice and Lenovo have seen firsthand the positive impact technology can have on student engagement and achievement. That’s why we were so excited to launch POWER UP: Technology Grants for Schools in Need.

The concept is simple: Award technology grants of up to $10,000 each to deserving schools to support students’ learning and development. Together with Lenovo, we are seeking to bridge the digital divide and empower more kids to succeed through access to technology. We’re also supporting a decade-long mission started by our own employee-led, corporate giving program, Softchoice Cares.

Since 2006, Softchoice Cares has raised more than $1.5 million for local and international charitable organizations to unleash the potential of people and technology. It’s the philanthropic spirit of our people that is central to our award-winning culture and inspires initiatives like the POWER UP program. In fact, the entirety of Softchoice’s share of the POWER UP technology grant funds came from our employees’ volunteer endeavors.

Now we need your help to unleash the potential of students by nominating an elementary or middle school that could benefit from a $10,000 technology grant! In our inaugural year, the POWER UP program is reserved for publically-funded schools serving students from Kindergarten to Grade 8 in the following cities: Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Toronto and Montreal. Softchoice will contact all nominated schools that fit the program criteria to encourage them to apply for a POWER UP grant.

Are you an educator in one of these seven cities? You can find full details on eligibility and application deadlines on the POWER UP website, or you can apply now on behalf of your school by filling out either the Canadian or U.S. application forms and submitting them to powerup@softchoice.com.

We’re always searching for exciting opportunities to engage with like-minded people, from our employees to our vendor partners like Lenovo, to make a difference for those in need.

Let’s POWER UP schools in need and students together!