Used computers get new life at area nonprofits


When Solutions Management Group (SMG) President Keith Lindbloom considered what the company would do with clients’ old computers they swapped out for newer technology, he chose to look at the bigger picture. “Sure, we could do other things with the computers,” said Lindbloom. “We could sell them and probably make between $70,000 and $80,000 in income. But what’s really cool is when you see 200 students at a school using 10-year-old computers and they receive these new, gently-used ones instead. You know it’s making an impact.”

That was the thought process years ago when Lindbloom’s Davenport company decided to donate used computers to local nonprofits. He reached out to the Quad Cities Community Foundation for assistance on the best way to reach organizations with the most need.

SMG provides customized technology solutions for businesses and organizations, including all the computers and printers for Kirkwood Community College. Five years ago, Windows XP expired, and Kirkwood had about 1,000 computers that would need to be recycled. That’s when the initial idea to do something beneficial for the community was born.

SMG developed a plan to life cycle technology for large organizations like Kirkwood. Classroom technology like projectors and speakers could be replaced after seven years, Apple computers could be replaced after five years, and personal computers after four years. 

The computers, which are owned by SMG, are taken off-site, cleaned and reloaded with current technology. The Community Foundation, he said, helped the company to consider the ways nonprofits could apply to receive the computers, printers and even copiers. It has been exciting to be able to fill a need in the Quad Cities, a community that has supported his business. Seeing how it impacts local students has been especially fulfilling.  

Kelly Thompson, vice president for grantmaking and community initiatives at the Community Foundation, said the company is leading the way for others to think outside the box when it comes to corporate social responsibility. “What an incredible impact this program is going to have on our community,” Thompson said. “It’s an example of using a little creativity to find big ways to give back.”  

Lindbloom said philanthropy has always been a tenet of the company, as generosity and giving was instilled in him at an early age. The company has historically streamlined all of its donations to Big Brother Big Sister of the Mississippi Valley. Others frequently came in and asked for donations, but there wasn’t a system in place to give them out in the best possible way. Now there is. 

“This is an opportunity to say yes to a lot more people,” he said. “We may not be able to give you a cash donation for your softball team but we can donate a computer that you can auction off at your silent auction.”

The process is also a great way to connect with local nonprofits and organizations and make more connections in the community. “Our goal is to meet with everyone who applies and understand what it is they do and what mission they serve,” Lindbloom said.

To learn more or to apply, please visit

Ted Stephens III