SmartRiverside is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2006 that is working to close the digital divide in Riverside. SmartRiverside’s Digital Inclusion program helps low income families who could otherwise not afford one, receive a free PC.
The City of Riverside formed non-profit SmartRiverside in 2005 to provide high technology public use solutions for the community. In 2006, SmartRiverside awarded a competitive bid to AT&T to build out a City-wide WiFi network for both public and private use. The project included provisions for a free public use broadband infrastructure that would help the community bridge the digital divide.
SmartRiverside staff include “at risk” and underprivileged young adults from Riverside’s Project BRIDGE program and Youth Opportunity Centers. They refurbish used PCs, install the Microsoft Operating System, and include the Microsoft Office Suite. Staff also provides free support for the PC recipients. Families in Riverside with combined total income levels under $45,000 and who enroll in and complete a free 8-hour training course are eligible for the free PCs. SmartRiverside partners with local community groups and school districts by utilizing their facilities and instructors for the training. The Digital Inclusion program has delivered over 7,500 PCs to low income families and looks to continue providing free PCs to families in need. The SmartRiverside team distributes on average 350 computers with Microsoft Office and internet connection devices to low income families in Riverside each year. As staff for SmartRiverside, they receive and track donated computer equipment, rebuild systems, write grants, provide technical help, and support fund-raising events.
SmartRiverside also aims to introduce students to the possibilities and careers computer programming presents through its Code to Careers program. Code to Careers’ goal is to create and conduct a computer coding training curriculum for youth. SmartRiverside is working with partner organizations also interested in helping youth learn computer programming to create a working team. School Districts and Community Centers offer introductory classes using Google’s CS First program. SmartRiverside provides a robotics class using the Raspberry Pi device. Local universities provide student volunteers to assist with instruction. Many of these classes target youth from low-income families who are in after-school and summer camp programs. Code to Careers aims to provide them with coding skills that will allow them to expand their pursuit of a computer programming and understand the opportunities available in that field.
Riverside has a large population of disadvantaged and struggling residents (many of whom are not familiar with computer technology) and thus do not have the same educational and career opportunities as those that have computers and internet access. The program is a simple plan to foster local student's success, increase communication capabilities of disadvantaged citizens, and to raise the quality of life for all residents of the city of Riverside. SmartRiverside works with the Riverside and Alvord Unified School districts to promote this program to students.
SmartRiverside is a nonprofit coalition of partners whose vision is to establish the City of Riverside as an internationally recognized center for innovation.
Through its coalition of partners, SmartRiverside’s mission is to implement the vision of technology for the future by developing measurable, high-technology programs and initiatives that benefit Riverside businesses, schools, local governments, and residents.
Riverside, California, is a high technology community with a technology park, many high technology companies, and higher education community with four college campuses. The Mayor of the City of Riverside formed SmartRiverside to grow as a technology community with the following goals:
The City of Riverside is evolving as a high technology community with over 40,000 college students leading the future of our community technology vision and direction for the future. As the chairman of SmartRiverside, my goal is to continue to attract and develop high technology companies to our Technology Park and utilize the talents of the high skilled labor in our community to foster a SmartRiverside.
Rusty Bailey, Chairman of SmartRiverside & Mayor of the City of Riverside
SmartRiverside is a Riverside, CA nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. SmartRiverside is highly focused on retaining local high tech graduates and bringing high tech companies to Riverside. Its Digital Inclusion Center is among the most outstanding and highly recognized centers in the United States. It's a diverse non-profit organization with dozens of community relationships and strong ties with the United Way. It is managed by a computer services company, hires and trains at-risk youth for staff operations, is a California certified e-waste collector and operates several successful community programs including a charity golf tournament, a technology smartstore and an e-bay sales center.
SmartRiverside has already helped more than 6,500 families get free technology training, PCs and internet access and plans to help 5,000 more over the next 3 years. Low income families willing to spend 8 hours in no-charge certified classroom training receive free refurbished computers loaded with Microsoft Office software, a wireless broadband access device, free support (including PC replacement) and free internet access, as long as they reside in Riverside and earn $45,000 or less in family income.
Steve Massa, Executive Director for SmartRiverside & Smart City Innovation Lead
City of Riverside Awards highlighting the SmartRiverside Digital Inclusion Center: