Sept. 1-7, 2000
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Local charities receive first surplus computer donations

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Emily Couric
Stephanie Gross
Emily Couric appeared at U.Va.'s surplus property depot last week to launch a new program she shepherded through the legislative process that allows state agencies to donate computers to tax-exempt charities and public schools.

Local charities receive first surplus computer donations

By Dan Heuchert

Four local organizations became the first to benefit from a new state law that allows the University to donate computers and other surplus property to public schools and tax-exempt charities.

University officials presented The Entrepreneurial Village, The Senior Center, Computers 4 Kids and Piedmont Works with approximately 50 personal computers on Aug. 23 at the surplus property depot on Millmont Road. The computers were relatively new; most came from student computer labs.

"We're taking resources that may not have been fully utilized and getting them out into the community where they are needed," said David Kalergis, the director of University of Virginia Gateway, who received 20 PCs on behalf of the Entrepreneurial Village. Some of them will be given to an NAACP computer program, with the rest likely headed for the Grove Street Technology Center.

Charlottesville Works, a program to move people from welfare rolls to payrolls, received 10 Pentium computers. They will be used in an 18-week work skills training program, and then given to the participants to take home with them, said program manager Candace Rowland. "You hear a lot about bridging the technology gap, and this certainly does that," she said. State Sen. Emily Couric sponsored the legislation in the 2000 General Assembly that enables such donations to take place. Previously, almost all surplus property -- after being offered to other state agencies -- was sold at public auction.

Under the legislation, which took effect July 1, state agencies may donate a percentage of their used property to public schools, and to charitable corporations granted tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service code that serve persons with disabilities, at-risk youth, and low-income families.

"This is one of my favorite bills I have ever sponsored," said Couric, who attended the event. "This legislation is a good example of a partnership between the community, legislators and a state agency."

The donations could amount to about $60,000 worth of equipment annually, said Eric Denby, U.Va.'s director of procurement services.

The University is currently finalizing a policy allowing organizations to apply for the surplus property. In addition, a mailing is going out to area public schools to make them aware of the equipment's availability, Denby said.

Departments may designate some of their surplus property for donation, rather than sale, by marking a box on an online form, Denby said. Areas providing computers for the first donations included the president's office, Information Technology and Communications and the budget office.

For information, contact Denby at 924-4019 or e-mail him at end@virginia.edu.


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