About PowerOn

Who Are We Helping?

Each night as many as 1.5 million children and teens sleep on America’s streets. Over 40% of these homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. Many of our LGBTQ youth find themselves in housing-insecure situations after family conflicts over sexual orientation or gender identity.

Technology is important for homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth to stay connected with supportive networks and allows them to enhance their personal safety. PowerOn is looking to empower these youth by providing the hardware to get online.

While previously an exclusively youth-serving organization, as of 2019, PowerOn also works with LGBTQ+ organizations serving adult and elder populations.


How Are We Helping?

PowerOn was formed by Straight But Not Narrow, The Trevor Project, and LGBT Technology Institute. We work directly with LGBTQ exclusive or supportive homeless shelters, LGBTQ centers, and other supportive organizations working with homeless or isolated LGBTQ individuals. Our equipment can be used in the organization’s building or be distributed to a qualified person who has completed a program and has found stable housing. By offering a wide range of connection points we meet people where they are and offer them an opportunity to take control.

To date, PowerOn has:

  • Distributed 825 devices (over $55,000 worth of tech), collected more than 600 devices

  • Partnered with 19 centers

  • Our current 19 centers reach over 55,000 LGBTQ individuals


PowerOn frequently receives donations of newer, more valuable technology, such as MacBook Pros and newer iPhones. Through our research, we are aware that higher value items can make housing-insecure youth become targets of theft. PowerOn sells these devices through various channels and the resulting funds are used to purchase up to three or four devices for every one sold, allowing us to put more devices into LGBTQ hands.

Who Operates PowerOn?

Straight But Not Narrow, The Trevor Project, and LGBT Technology Institute.

How Donated Devices Support PowerOn

Donated devices are securely wiped clean of existing data and refurbished to be distributed through our partner centers across the country. By donating unwanted cell phones, laptops, servers, and more, companies and individual donors directly contribute to the well-being of isolated LGBTQ by providing them with a much-needed lifeline.

Data Destruction and Security

Protecting the privacy and personal information of our donors is of the utmost importance.  PowerOn  takes full ownership and liability of, and provides storage and hard drive sanitation services for, all donated devices. Procedures are in full compliance with HIPAA and other international standards and laws.

  • Devices are stored in a secure, locked facility until processed.

  • Through a NIST 800-88 method, random data is written through the entirety of the hard drive destroying any recoverable data. The drive is then rescanned to verify that all data has been destroyed.[1]

  • All data is erased including:

    • NTFS, FAT/exFAT, HFS+ volumes from areas containing deleted and unused data

    • Free clusters (unused by file data sectors)

    • File slack space (unused bytes in the last cluster occupied by file)

    • Deleted MFT records on NTFS and Directory system records on FAT/exFAT

  • If data destruction is unsuccessful through software methods the hard drive will be physically destroyed and recycled in an environmentally sound manner as recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency.


[1] The drive is erased to NIST 800-88 4 and 800-14 specification. Data destruction methods are compliant with HIPAA, US Dept. of Defense 5220.22 M, US Army AR380-19, US Air Force 502, German VIST, Russian GOST p50739-9, Canadian OPS-II, HMG IS5 Baseline/Enhanced, Navso P-5329-26, NCSC-TG-025 & NSA 130-2, NIST 800-88.