Difference between revisions of "Kelley Family Foundation"

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December 15, 2001
December 15, 2001

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December 15, 2001

Mark D. Kelley, Trustee
Lora L. and Martin Kelley
Family Foundation Trust
P.O. Box 31
Wilsonville, OR 97070

Mr. Kelley,

The technology revolution benefits many, but it also creates two serious problems. First, computers manufactured today have a very short life cycle. Large quantities of equipment are deemed obsolete within two years and discarded, potentially leaking toxins into the environment. The National Safety Council reported that during 1997 more than 20 million computers reached obsolescence and only 11% were recycled or reused. At the current rate, by the year 2005, 350 million machines will become obsolete.1 Secondly, many people lack access to the Internet's vast information resources. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that households with incomes of $75,000 and higher were over twenty times more likely to have access to the Internet than households at the lowest income levels and nine times more likely to have a computer in the home.2 To address these problems in the Portland area, FREE GEEK, a local non-profit organization, operates the Community Technology Center. Here computer professionals and hobbyists can volunteer their time to both help the environment and increase access to computers for those without the means to purchase one. At FREE GEEK we divert used computer equipment from the landfills, accepting all types of computers, functioning or not. Using a volunteer work force, FREE GEEK performs a best future use analysis on all donated computer equipment to ensure the maximum life cycle. All non-functioning and obsolete equipment is recycled in an environmentally responsible manner, achieving a 98% material recovery rate. Machines that pass the screening process are refurbished and placed in the care of individuals and local non-profit organizations.

FREE GEEK is open to all members of the community. Individuals provide us with a few hours of volunteer labor; doing data entry, sorting, testing and salvaging donated computer equipment. In exchange, FREE GEEK trains them to do these tasks and provides them with an Internet-ready computer and an introductory classes on its use. We show recipients how to get online and get e-mail. FREE GEEK also provides real job skills training: building, using and repairing computers, printers and monitors. Since our grand opening in November 2000, we have signed up over 1,000 volunteers and more than 40 non-profit organizations to participate in the program, generating over 15,000 hours of community service time. We have re-distributed more than 650 computers and over 2,600 computer components. Since March 2001, more than 180 students have taken classes ranging from beginning computing to computer building. To date, we estimate that FREE GEEK has diverted more than 150 tons of electronic equipment from the waste stream. The total FREE GEEK operating budget for 2002 is $130,000. FREE GEEK has applied for a $46,000 from the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality and $5,000 from Metro Regional Government. We expect to raise $25,000 through cash donations, $15,000 from the sale of FREE GEEK merchandise and excess equipment and $12,000 from the sale of scrap materials from our recycling operation. We are seeking an additional $20,000 in funding from the Meyer Memorial Trust, for a total projected income of $123,000. We would like the Lora L. and Martin Kelley Family Foundation to contribute an additional $7,500 to help complete the funding for our program through December 31, 2002.

FREE GEEK provides an innovative, cost-effective solution to the massive problem generated by computer waste, and in the process helps to provide equal access to computers and computer education to segments of the population that cannot otherwise afford them. Any support that you could provide to FREE GEEK would help to further that mission. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Executive Director


1. Electronic Product Recovery and Recycling Baseline Report: Recycling of Selected Electronic Products in the United States, National Safety Council, 1999.

2. Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion, U.S. Commerce Department, 1999.