3 min read

With how universal laptops have become in our day-to-day life, it’s sometimes easy to overlook that many people lack access to them entirely, including some bright young minds in our communities. Fortunately, several folks have been working behind-the-scenes to ensure that we are doing our best to support our local communities. 

Many Vertex employees have been involved in various efforts over the years to donate laptops that have fallen out of use in our labs and offices (typically due to age) but are otherwise fully operational. Rather than just scrapping them, these employees have developed connections in their communities and delivered the laptops to those who could benefit from them. Read on to learn about three shining examples of our “We Wins” core value at Vertex. 

Reaching out to Boston area schools

Since the pandemic began, Karla Valentin (Executive Assistant, Global Strategy) had been looking for a way to support local schools in the Boston area, and donating laptops seemed like an amazing way to do just that. She connected with Zaafir Madyun (Studio Engineer, Corporate Communications) and Dennis McCarthy (Contractor, Data, Technology and Engineering [DTE]), and together they created a system to get laptops to classrooms in the Boston area. Since then, they have donated more than 300 retired laptops to school programs such as the Hyde Park Community Center Afterschool program, Brooke Charter School in Mattapan, City on a Hill Charter Public, and Dearborn STEM Academy. 

This team repurposed the laptops in a way that is incredibly impactful to children in the Boston area. 

An image of a girl and boy pointing to the screen of an open laptop“It’s easy to forget when we work in a tech heavy industry that equipment we look at as outdated or outmoded can still have a usefulness in the lives of others,” says Dennis. 

Karla recalls one particularly incredible story from the teams’ efforts. 

“I will never forget this one story when one kid did not get a laptop because they were all given away, so I reached out to Dennis and asked for just one more, and he stepped up and got it ready for me and I got it delivered around 11:30 p.m. — tough and draining, but it was worth it.” 

As tough as it can be, Zaafir sums up the teams’ thoughts on the project well, “It has been nothing short of a pleasure — this warms my heart!”

Empowering amateur coders

Trying to learn a new skill can be daunting, and that especially goes for one that can appear incomprehensible from the outside, like coding. G{Code} is a nonprofit organization that invites women and non-binary people of color between the ages of 18 and 25 to learn how to code; new students are placed into cohorts that run through a 10-week course covering a variety of coding topics. 

An image of a woman with glasses with a rainbow colored reflection shining on her faceWithin Vertex, our cross-functional Women in Technology (WIT) group partners with G{Code} to support their teaching efforts and recently offered mentorship support for the Fall 2022 cohort of G{Code}. The WIT group includes members from our DTE, Data and Computational Sciences and Data Strategy and Solutions teams and is dedicated to promoting and celebrating inclusion, diversity and equity. Beyond that, WIT members Laura Mone (Executive Assistant) and Nicole Ampofo (Software Associate Engineer), both on our DTE team, secured 29 laptops to donate so program alumni could continue to learn beyond their courses.  

Nicole knows how important these opportunities can be. 

“I myself was part of the first cohort of G{Code}, and I still use my laptop that was donated from another organization whenever I work on my personal applications outside of Vertex, so I’m always happy to talk about and work with G{Code}!” 

Engagement and education in Brazil

Part of being a global company means keeping close with the communities local to your office or lab location, and the Vertex team in Brazil took that to heart as they prepared their own set of laptop donations. 

An image of a student laying in bed with a soccer ball on it while working on a laptopThe Instituto Unidos de Paraisópolis is an educational institute in São Paulo that supports learning for children in a variety of different areas, from art and music to programming and robotics. Will Gomez (Contractor, DTE) connected with Acacio Reis, the founder of the Instituto Unidos de Paraisópolis, and secured a set of Vertex laptops to donate for use with their first programming class. The team got together to prepare the laptops and made sure they were good as new and ready for the kids to use them. 

Acacio offered the team his heartfelt thanks for the donation and for supporting the growth of children in the São Paulo community. With more laptops in hand, the opportunities for the kids at The Instituto Unidos de Paraisópolis will only continue to grow.