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Refurbishing Computers Turns from Side Hustle to Helping Hand

Dylan Zajac ’25 vividly remembers when his side hustle—picking up broken computers, fixing them, and selling them at a cut-rate price—grew into a full-fledged passion. pure

“There is a father I messaged on Facebook. I negotiated the price of this laptop with him, and he told me everything about how his son needs it for school,” Zajac said.

“I started to feel bad. I realized that I made 200 percent profit on this computer, which was good for my business, but in terms of helping people, it was not good for me.

Zajac, now a sophomore at Babson College, decided he would give it to his customer’s son for free.

“He didn’t have a laptop before, and he still uses it today,” Zajac said. “That’s when I started to realize that I could really do it. I can give these working computers to people who really need them.

Zajac was a sophomore in high school in Hoboken, New Jersey, when he started the nonprofit charity Computers 4 People. He has repaired and donated more than 950 laptops and desktop computers, and will soon be able to give away 300 more laptops thanks to a contribution from Babson.

“My girlfriend and I drove (to campus) in June and loaded them all up with the help of some volunteers,” Zajac said. “It was a long day, but now we have all these amazing laptops that we’re giving away to people who wouldn’t have access to them otherwise.”

Start the Motherboard

Zajac’s family was key to building his charity, and he committed to making it an official nonprofit. His stepmother, an executive at a Brooklyn nonprofit, helped him with the tax process, which required applying for 501(c)(3) status. His mother spent weekends and evenings helping him deliver computers to eager recipients.

Meanwhile, Zajac scoured the internet looking for donated computers, while juggling his schoolwork during his junior and senior years.

Dylan Zajac ’25 (far right) and volunteers collect 300 laptops that Babson donated to his charity, Computers 4 People.

“It doesn’t feel like work at all,” Zajac said of the charity. “It’s hard, but I’m really excited, especially when we start to grow.”

The charity, which started on Zajac’s bedroom floor, now rents an 800 square foot space in downtown Hoboken. Zajac has a full-time program director, three part-time employees, interns, and four daily volunteers.

Zajac’s donation process has also improved. He initially worked with charitable organizations, donating five desktop computer stations to The Jubilee Center in Hoboken, for example. The center is an after-school space for students from kindergarten to high school.

“I communicate with non-profits, and I just go to them and ask what they need,” he said. “They tell me if they need desktops or laptops, and as I work to get more donations.”

Zajac now has a form on his website that allows anyone to apply for one of his computers, usually through a nonprofit or local library. Potential recipients must earn no more than 150% of the Federal Poverty Index, explain why they need the laptop, and provide a recommendation from a nonprofit, school, or place of worship.

“We got to work with this one organization in Queens called the Fortune Society, where most of the applicants are ex-prisoners. They say on their applications that they’ve been in prison for over 25 years and they’ve never used a computer before ,” said Zajac.

“They come in with these amazing letters of recommendation about how these people are working to change their lives. It’s incredible to be a part of that.”

Increasing Bandwidth

Zajac continues to make every delivery on the computer himself, even as his charity grows and he prepares to return to classes at Babson this month.

“Giving people a tool that can potentially open up opportunities and change their lives, and talk to them about their lives … those exchanges are always the best,” he said.

Zajac was constantly on the lookout for new organizations and people who could donate, so he contacted Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD in his freshman year.

“I have a lot of relationships with people here. I contacted President Spinelli, and he introduced me to some important people. One of them donated 150 laptops,” said Zajac.

He also started an annual fundraiser to support Computers 4 People, and he held the second annual fundraiser on August 25 at the Wicked Wolf Tavern in Hoboken, New Jersey.

“Giving people a tool that can open up opportunities and change their lives, and talk to them about their lives … those exchanges are always the best.”

Dylan Zajac ’25, founder and CEO of Computers 4 People

Meanwhile, basic accounting classes and other financial fundamentals have enhanced his business management tool kit.

“It made things easier and I felt more confident, because I actually worked with entrepreneurs who were older than me until now,” Zajac said.

The future of Computers 4 People is not entirely clear, said Zajac, who continues to consider various options including working with Babson’s recently created Tariq Farid Franchise Institute.

“I’m working with the franchising institute to see if we can start another location, so we’re looking at local sourcing and funding,” Zajac said. “I want to grow Computers 4 People, but I also want to start other businesses, maybe in the technology sector.”

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