Truck Grant Proposal
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History of Programs & Services
Who started your organization and why? What community need does it meet? What are its programs and services? Whom does it serve? How many people does it serve? (limit 200 words)
- Free Geek was founded in 2000 to divert reusable computers from landfills and place them into the hands of those in need. Free Geek has grown dramatically, primarily due to a capacity-building grant from Meyer Memorial Trust in 2002, and now has 17 employees and an annual operating budget of $80,000. Free Geek's earned income and individual donations cover its ongoing operating costs, so we only seek help from foundations to seed new programs.
- Free Geek has two core programs:
- Adoption: individuals volunteer at Free Geek for 24 hours and receive a computer, a class on how to use it, and free tech support.
- Build: a peer to peer educational program where volunteers learn to build computers, keeping the sixth for themselves. Build volunteers assemble all of Free Geek's computers, including those earned through the Adoption program, given out as grants to other charitable organizations, and sold in our Thrift Store.
- Obsolete computers are recycled responsibly to avoid offshore dumping, a common "recycling" practice.
- Free Geek's programs served over 2,500 volunteers in 2006 alone. In the same year, we supported over 200 organizations who helped us distribute computers throughout the Portland metropolitan area.
Project Goals & Outcomes
What is the need for this project? What are its goals? What steps will be taken to implement the project? What will be different as a result of the project? Who will be served? (Limit: 600 words)
- Free Geek was founded with the intent of rerouting older technology from the landfills and placing it into the hands of those who cannot afford state of the art technology. Since its inception in 2000 Free Geek has protected the Portland community from hundreds of tons of electronic waste leeching into our drinking water and has connected thousands of individuals to access to technology and the internet. The service that Free Geek provides is dramatically limited by the availability of only one location to drop off old electronics and to earn a free computer. At this point, Free Geek has no vehicle for pickup of equipment from potential donors.
- In any given week, Free Geek receives an average of six requests for pickup service. Pickup requests from large businesses are largely due to a copious amount of equipment that cannot be delivered to Free Geek without hiring a moving company. Individuals frequently face the barrier of living far from Free Geek or lacking transportation. Often, these businesses and individuals end up merely discarding these items in a non-environmentally responsible fashion OR simply sending them straight to recycling through export without considering reuse.
- With the acquisition of a boxtruck Free Geek can increase its positive impact on the community in three significant ways.
- 1. "Drop Off" events in neighborhoods throughout Portland and the surrounding suburbs will provide a convenient way for residents to responsibly recycle their electronic waste.
- 2. Pickup service for large businesses that upgrade their equipment on such a frequent cycle that equipment may be only a year or two old. Consequently, this newer equipment enables Free Geek to increase the quality of the computers we give away.
- 3. Transport computer equipment to community centers and schools to provide offsite classes and set up computer labs
- Free Geek has been unable to partner with various school groups for computer education because school funding for extracurricular activities – especially transportation for these activities – is non-existent. While Free Geek can currently provide offsite opportunities for volunteering, we have been unable to provide transportation of the computer and peripherals. With the influx of newer, higher quality computers from large businesses, Free Geek will not only be able to pass on high quality computers to economically marginalized students and schools, but also to deliver them and empower students by teaching them how to use their computers.
- With the recent passage of Oregon's HB2626, an Electronic Product Recycling Program has been created which will dramatically alter the computer recycling industry. Having a boxtruck will ensure that Free Geek will meet the new legal requirements and continue disseminating refurbished computers to the community. Additionally, the switch from analog to digital televisions will result in a huge influx of televisions in the upcoming year. In order for Free Geek to maintain sufficient warehouse space, we will need to make frequent deliveries of donated televisions to commercial recyclers. Essentially, with the acquisition of a boxtruck Free Geek seeks to amplify diversion of electronic waste from landfills by providing a convenient pickup service for commercial and residential populations while simultaneously increasing the rate of computer reuse to underserved communities. Free Geek plans to acquire the truck and necessary insurance, create staff training, and implement pre-existing plans for neighborhood drop off events and computer delivery service.
Describe the organization's qualifications to undertake or manage the project. If you are requesting technical equipment, please include the qualifications of the person(s) suggesting the particular purchases, as well as the qualifications of the persons within the organization to install, operate, and/or maintain the equipment. (Limit: 200 words)
- Free Geek has demonstrated a solid commitment to the community for the last seven years. Free Geek is a unique organization which excels at reusing older technology and we have successfully expanded every aspect of our organization. Allow me to demonstrate Free Geek's progressive adaptability through some statistics.
- In 2000, 65 volunteers logged 737 hours
- In 2003, 1533 volunteers logged 34,690 hours
- In 2006, 2660 volunteers logged 54,315 hours
- If only 75% of all volunteers from 2000-2006 earned a free computer – a conservative estimate considering most individuals volunteer at Free Geek specifically to earn a free computer – that would result in almost 8,000 computers diverted from the landfill and into community members' hands.
- People donating hardware
- 2000: 23 people
- 2003: 4795 people
- 2006, 11,116 people
- Recycling Numbers
- 2000: 2.22 total tonnage recycled
- 2003: 138.84 total tonnage recycled
- 2005: 417.70 total tonnage recycled
As an entire organization Free Geek is clearly capable of adapting itself to an increase in incoming hardware. Free Geek is ready to raise the bar on its service to the community and is well-suited to do so.
Briefly summarize how MMT funds will be used. (limit 50 words)
- The MMT Funds will be used to jump start a large computer pick up and drop off program. We will be purchasing a vehicle large enough to pick up 6 pallets (100 computers).
- 1 BOX TRUCK, DIESEL with LIFT GATE $20,000
- 1 OR registration & DEQ inspection $150
- gass per year $40 a month
- 1 insurance $150 a month (estimate from other orgs with trucks)
- cost for year of ongoing maintenance & signage $ 5,000 (confermed by oso)
How did you arrive at the expense amounts? (i.e. bid, catalog, hourly wage, etc.)
- The price of a used boxtruck manufactured in the last 3 years was estimated through internet research and by calling various local dealers. Insurance quotes were researched in a similar fashion. Registration and DEQ inspection information is available on the DEQ website. The estimates for gas and maintenance were extrapolated from a business which operates a boxtruck similar to the one we are seeking. The cost of affixing appropriate signage on the truck is a direct quote from Mobile Ad Marketing's website.
Describe any volunteer or community assistance with the project, in-kind donations, or collaborations with other community groups (Limit: 200 words)
- We plan to increase our collaboration with neighborhood associations to enable residents in every Portland metropolitan neighborhood to get their computers into a reuse/recycle stream instead of a landfill. We have budding partnerships with local goverment and many local businesses to reciruclate their relatively new computers back into the community. Free Geek is currently in the process of forming a coalition of community-focused, environmentally responsible computer reusers throughout the state. Through this coalition, Free Geek will be able to jointly organize large-scale collection events in multiple locations in Oregon, including underserved rural areas.
Describe how the project will be sustained after the grant period. (Limit: 150 words).
- Most donors give voluntary cash donations to Free Geek when they donate equipment. The acquisition of a truck to pickup hardware donations from residential and commercial areas will result in an increase in voluntary cash donations. We predict that the convenience of this service will fuel the desire of those served by this project to voluntarily donate money to Free Geek. Additionally, the rate of payment for raw materials increases when they are delivered directly to the vendor. Free Geek's raw materials from recycled equipment are currently picked up by each vendor and therefore Free Geek's recycling revenue will increase. Lastly, the higher quality computers which Free Geek will receive from businesses will sell for a higher price in our Thrift Store, thus increasing our revenue. These three streams of revenue will increase significantly enough to fully cover the project's ongoing operating expenses.