Hardware Grants Group

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NOTE: This is deprecated. For the most recent information regarding Hardware Grants, go to Hardware Grants.

The hardware grants group reviews, approves, and fills grant requests for hardware. Nonprofit and social change organizations may apply for equipment using the form on the FREE GEEK website.

This group is open to anyone who is interested in helping FREE GEEK with this aspect of its mission. Staff members involved in production are involved with the grants group so that we may know what we have available for granting and because they are nice people.

RT Use

Grant applications come to us via RT, and we use the HardwareGrants queue to track them. There are special fields we use for grant status and granted equipment. Volunteers interested in helping with filling grants should get an RT account.


The grants group meets on a monthly basis to review applications and decide which we can fill. Much of the meeting consists of reviewing two lists: status reports on previously approved, still open grants, and decisions on new grants. While reviewing new grants, we evaluate whether:

  • the organization appears to be eligable (applying our granting criteria)
  • what they want is clear
  • we have the equipment
  • it's possible to get the equipment to them
  • someone in the grants group is willing to coordinate filling the grant.

Each grant that we approve gets a "shepherd" - a member of the group who will notify the organization of our decision and follow through on getting the equipment to them. If no one volunteers to shepherd a grant, we cannot fill it.


The shepherd of the grant has to claim the ticket in RT and notify the requestor. Communication should be tracked on RT so that people can look it up and take care of things if the shepherd is not around. Occasionally, shepherds will need to organize volunteer activity or make a special project happen. For more information, see the Old Hardware Grants Howto.

Special cases


Instagrants are grants that we can easily fill without discussion, generally of equipment like mice or monitors that we have lots of. Agreement between two grants group people (especially if one is a member of the production team) is enough to approve an instagrant, as long as one of those people is willing to shepherd it. (Again, without a shepherd, the grant won't happen.)

International or long-distance grants

International grants are requested frequently and approved infrequently. The grants group has special considerations for international grants, including disposal plans, building a relationship with the receiving organization, and making sure shipping can happen.

Organizations sponsoring individuals

It is possible for a nonprofit to request a grant on behalf of an individual (we call those pass-through grants). These are prioritized below grants that will benefit an entire organization, and council has instructed the grants group to make the organization aware of their other options.