At the December 2nd, 2015 Council meeting, Vice Mayor Christi Fraga presented a resolution proposing that the City of Doral donate its surplus computer equipment to Doral schools and non-for-profit organizations by entering into an agreement with the South Florida Digital Alliance (SFDA). The resolution, which obtained unanimous support from the rest of the Council, establishes a procedure going forward, through which the City will donate all of its surplus computer equipment to the SFDA, a non-for-profit organization that will refurbish and reallocate the computers to schools and non-for-profit organizations within the City of Doral.
The idea of donating the City’s surplus computer equipment to Doral’s schools originated during one of the breakfast meetings that Vice Mayor Fraga organizes with parents that serve on the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) boards in Doral. Parents had repeatedly voiced the need for additional computers at their respective schools. During the Doral Family Journal Business and Networking Breakfast at the InterContinental Hotel in October, Vice Mayor Fraga and PTA parents discussed the idea with City Manager Edward Rojas who referred her to Information Technology Director Gladys Gonzalez. The director explained that when the City disposes of computer equipment, technicians wipe the hard drives and remove the operating system. Donating computers in this “empty shell” condition would be of little use to the schools.
Nevertheless, Director Gonzalez proposed to Vice Mayor Fraga that the City could partner with the South Florida Digital Alliance (SFDA), a non-for-profit organization that accepts computer equipment donations and then uses grant funding from the Knight Foundation and Microsoft to refurbish, re-purpose, and redistribute the donated computer equipment to schools, senior centers, parks, and non-for-profit organizations. The City’s surplus computer equipment donations to the SFDA would be refurbished, and then reallocated to the City of Doral’s schools and non-for-profit organizations that make requests from the SFDA. The organization will notify the City once the computer equipment has been reallocated.
Soon thereafter, Director Gonzalez also contacted Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) Chief Information Officer Deborah Karcher, who also serves on the SFDA Board of Directors. Gonzalez, Karcher, and SFDA Executive Director Jim Osteen established a specific protocol for the MDCPS public schools within the City of Doral to request and receive computer equipment from the donations made by the City to the SFDA. Charter schools and non-for-profit organizations within the City may also request computer equipment from the SFDA.
The SFDA will make twenty-five (25) computers available to Doral schools right away. An additional 96 computers will be donated by the City of Doral over the course of this fiscal year (FY15-16). The donations will continue every fiscal year going forward as the City continues to update its equipment in accordance with its technology replacement plan. Schools and non-for-profit organizations looking to request computer equipment may contact the South Florida Digital Alliance (SFDA), 100 South Biscayne Blvd, Suite 915, Miami, FL 33131. http://www.sfdigitalalliance.org/contactus/