Sustainable reuse of technology is at the heart of Free Geek’s mission. Anything that can’t be reused is ethically recycled. Last year we collected 1,350,000 pounds of e-waste, which was processed, resold or recycled according to the highest environmental, safety and security standards. From a corporation making a tax-deductible donation of used desktop monitors to an individual recycling an out-of-date cell phone, Free Geek turns nearly every type of electronic equipment, in any condition, into an opportunity.
Thanks to the support of our community, Free Geek is a leader in e-waste reuse. A report on reuse through Oregon's E-Cycles program reports that of the 51,745 units of technology reported as reused last year, 28% came through Free Geek’s doors and were screened for downstream reuse or refurbished by Free Geek's Reuse program.
In 2018, Free Geek gave away 727 computers to to organizations working hard to make our community a better place through our hardware grants program, 321 computers to volunteers at Free Geek and another 125 computers to K-12 students who volunteered anywhere in their community. We also gave away 115 computers through our Welcome to Computers Program. And for the first time ever, we’ve been able to give away laptops instead of just desktops to volunteers and program participants.
The Hardware Grants Program connects qualifying nonprofits and schools with refurbished desktop computers, laptops, printers, and other equipment. Our Welcome to Computers, a multi-week culturally-specific digital literacy program, serves digitally divided communities by bringing vital computer skills---and a laptop---directly to participants. Plug into Portland provides K-12 students with a Free Geek computer when they volunteer 24 hours at any nonprofit organization.Plug into Portland is for K-12 students who volunteer for a total of 24 hours at any nonprofit organization in their community receive a free computer from Free Geek. Through our Volunteer Adoption Program volunteers have the opportunity to earn a free computer after 24 hours of service to Free Geek.
We're passionate about education that demystifies technology. Last year 380 classes were held at Free Geek to 2,085 students for a total of 4,497 learner hours. We offer diverse range of free educational offerings that demystify technology and empower our community with the technology skills they need to succeed in all areas of life.
In our basic digital literacy classes, we help individuals reach their own goals with technology; in our more specialized offerings, we foster the imagination of our community members, spark their interest in technology, and build confidence that anyone can learn and work with computers. Roughly 18 percent of our class participants do not have internet at home.
Free Geek is only as strong as the community that supports our work and this year, you've shown us that you care deeply about the work that we do here. Through volunteers service and giving back, you make our work successful. We cannot thank you enough for your hours of tireless service and dedication to our mission.
Free Geek volunteers are the driving force behind our mission. Our volunteers make a difference by disassembling computers for recycling, sorting equipment from donors, refurbishing computers, and much more.
Thanks to the help of our volunteers we were able to serve over 35,000 Oregonians in 2018. 35,000 individuals taking home computers that can change their lives, taking classes that can prepare them for a career and community change organizations that now have the technology they need to meet their mission.
The Association of Oregon Recyclers named Free Geek their 2018 Refurbisher of the Year, awarding us the Alice Soderwall Reuse and Waste Prevention Award for our service to the community.
We were also ranked one of the 2018 “100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon” by Oregon Business magazine.
And one of the “100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon” by Oregon Business magazine.