Focus: Technology Access for Teens
For Best Buy, access to technology is not simply about the products we sell. It’s about enriching the communities in which we live and work, ensuring that everyone has the ability to use technology in a way that adds value to their lives. Helping people access technology comes in many forms, from using a computer to access the internet, to getting technical help and learning how technology works.
At Best Buy we believe technology can build richer, fuller lives. Technology opens doors for people. It inspires new and stronger connections among family, friends and communities. It makes it possible for people to learn and explore, and to advance careers and financial opportunities ― it can even drive revolutionary social change.
Challenge: Many People Don’t Have Access
In the world today, there are social, physical and economic barriers that prevent many from benefitting fully from technology. Opportunities exist for Best Buy to share our knowledge and resources to help more people access the connected world, from supporting nonprofits with grants to providing assistance and education about how to use technology.We intend to leverage our local community presence, our technology resources and our talented employees to develop new and creative programs to serve these underserved communities.
Youth need access to technology
We believe in the power and potential of our youth. They are the future of our digitally connected world, and many are Best Buy employees and customers. Because technology plays such a critical role in education, social lives, job opportunities and citizenship, we are focused on bringing the benefits of technology to our youth through education and community involvement — even encouraging them to choose technology careers.
Best Buy Teen Tech Centers
One of the best times to provide learning opportunities to youth is the critical “after school” time. We are developing a new program called Best Buy Teen Tech Centers where teens can go after school to have fun while exploring the world of technology. At these centers, teens will be able to experiment with new technologies that may even spark a career choice, like graphic design software, video cameras, digital music mixing tools and more. We are getting our Blue Shirts (store employees) and Geek Squad Agents involved too. They are helping us develop classes, “starring” in online tutorials and will be conducting workshops at the centers
In 2012, we will pilot our tech centers in four markets: Chicago, Miami, San Antonio and Minneapolis/St. Paul. We envision being able to reach even more students by offering tech center classes and learning tools online. To help us manage and grow the centers, we are working with the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, an organization with a 20-year track record and significant impact on more than 50,000 teens to date.
Giving back to the community is core to how we do business at Best Buy. Every year we donate up to 1.5% of our pre-tax earnings through the company’s foundation and corporate giving programs to help strengthen the communities where our employees and customers live and work. Last year we donated nearly $25M dollars to non-profit organizations that support our philanthropic focus of improving the lives of teens. While the actual dollar amount we donate each year may fluctuate, we are proud to honor our long-standing 1.5% legacy.
Why is Best Buy changing its community giving focus?
Best Buy has a long history of supporting the community. As a technology company, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help build the 21st century skills critical to the future of our youth, innovator skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. To improve the impact we can have in the community, we have evolved our strategic approach to philanthropy with a focus on teens and technology. We believe that access to technology creates access to opportunity.
What is the deadline for national grants?
Nonprofits must submit their complete proposals online by the respective grant cycle deadline:
What is the deadline for local community grants?
Nonprofits must submit their complete proposals online between June 1 and July 1, 2012.
Where can I find additional information on the grant guidelines?
Additional details on our grant guidelines and deadline can be found on the Best Buy Community Relations website foundation page.
My organization received funding last year. Can we apply again?
Yes. Our grants program will focus on teens and providing them with the access to technology they need for their futures. We encourage non-profit organizations whose mission and programming support is aligned with ours to apply.
Is Best Buy eliminating the @15 program?
Best Buy will continue to support teens and provide them access to opportunity through technology. As part of this ongoing commitment, we are taking steps to further refine our focus to make an even greater impact on teens’ lives. We believe that providing teens with access to opportunities through technology will help them develop 21st century skills that are critical to their future. Longstanding initiatives such as the @15 scholarships, grants and employee volunteering programs will continue to evolve to meet this deeper focus through our company’s giving programs.
Is Best Buy launching a new community relations program?
Yes. In the Fall, we are launching a new program that will build state-of-the-art Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in communities throughout the U.S. The Best Buy Teen Tech Centers will provide a creative and safe learning environment where teens can explore their own ideas and passions, develop their skills and build confidence through the use of technology. The centers are designed to be after-school catalytic environments that will break the mold of traditional, static computer labs and spur teens to learn, experiment, collaborate and play with the latest technologies to build 21st century skills. Currently, Best Buy plans to open a Teen Tech Center in the Twin Cities, Miami, Chicago and San Antonio. However, we hope to expand to additional markets in the years to come.
The Best Buy Teen Tech Centers are part of Best Buy’s focus on helping teens build skills that are critical to their futures and providing them the access they need to maximize the impact of their time outside of the classroom.
Will Best Buy’s other community giving programs go away with this new initiative?
The Best Buy Teen Tech Center program will be part of our community relations work. Many of our other existing programs will remain as is. However, we evaluate our programs consistently to ensure maximum impact. As such, we may choose to end or evolve specific programs. In those situations, we give adequate notice to our partners.
Why is Best Buy launching the new Teen Tech Center program?
We have always been committed to improving the lives of teens. As a technology company, we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help teens build the 21st century skills that are critical to their futures, as well as to society as a whole. We believe that access to technology equals access to opportunity.
Our new program, which will build state-of-the-art Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in communities throughout the U.S., will allow us to augment teens’ in-school experience by providing them with access to technology and skill-building opportunities during their time outside of the classroom.
Where will the Teen Tech Centers be located?
In the first year, we are focusing on the Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis and San Antonio Markets. Within those markets we developed an RFP for local nonprofits (from community centers to schools) to apply. We worked with our national partner, the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network to select the sites where we will build these centers. We are no longer accepting applications.
How much will Best Buy spend on the Best Buy Teen Tech Center program?
Best Buy will provide a combination of cash and in-kind support. Best Buy will provide each center with the physical build-out needed to renovate the space, the technology and funding for one year of center staff. There will also be an opportunity for each center to apply for Year 2 and 3 maintenance grants.
When will the Best Buy Teen Tech Center be ready?
We anticipate launching the first four centers in the Fall of 2012.
Where will the next centers be?
While we are still in the process of determining which markets we go to next, it is our goal to be in 20 US markets in the coming years.