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Free Geek's Mission, Vision, and Values 

Awards and Recognition

  • In June 2001, Free Geek founder Oso Martín was presented an E-chievment Award from the National Public Radio program, E-Town, in recognition of his work to make "a positive difference in his community and beyond."
  • In November 2002, Free Geek was named a Founder of the New Northwest by Sustainable Northwest. They recognize leadership in sustainable business and economic practices in the northwestern United States. Free Geek was profiled in a book published by Sustainable Northwest in May 2003.
  • In November of 2003, Free Geek received Honorable Mention for the Peter F. Drucker Award for Non-Profit Innovation.
  • In 2006, Free Geek received the Association of Oregon Recyclers Annual Recycler of the Year Award, bestowed annually to recognize innovation and commitment in the field of recycling.
  • In 2006, Free Geek received the Mayor's Spirit of Portland Award, which "recognizes individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the community over the past year.” Other recipients included Senator Avel Gordly and Andy Nelson, Executive Director of Hands on Portland. 
  • In 2007, Free Geek was awarded the APC Chris Nicol FOSS Prize in recognition of “initiatives that are making it easy for people to start using free and open source software (FOSS).”
  • In 2018, we were formally recognized by Mayor Ted Wheeler of the City of Portland for our community work in a public statement encouraging local residents and businesses to donate their electronic waste to Free Geek and support our mission.
  • In 2018, the Association of Oregon Recyclers named Free Geek their Recycler of the Year, awarding us the Alice Soderwall Reuse and Waste Prevention Award for our service to the community.
  • In 2018, we were ranked one of the 2018 “100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon'' by Oregon Business magazine
  • In 2019, we received an Oregon Ethics in Business Award.
  • In 2020, we received the Peoples Choice Award from the Technology Association of Oregon.

In the News

On federal and state levels, plans are underway to enhance internet access

Earlier this month, the Biden administration laid out a program to reduce costs for low-income Americans, and states such as Oregon are making unprecedented investments in broadband with money from the infrastructure bill.

Yes, You Can Make Your Tech Survive Obsolescence

Our gadgets eventually become outdated, but here are workarounds to keep them alive and secure past when manufacturers say.


Portland’s ongoing response to the digital divide

The pandemic shined a bright light on the digital divide in Portland and across the country, as schools and some workplaces went online almost overnight. Two years later, how has Portland responded to the issue?

Free Geek Partners with Trail Blazers for Laptop and Cellphone Drive

While technology inequities have existed for years, Shohoney says the need is so much higher now that Free Geek is seeing its shelved cleared of donations on a daily basis.

Pandemic Drives Phone, Computer ‘Right-to-Repair’ Bills

...while the pandemic heightened the demand for Free Geek’s repaired computers, corporate policies preventing easy access to parts, manuals and equipment made it harder for the nonprofit to complete its mission.

Portland companies bridging digital divide through tech and supply drives

Intel and Free Geek are organizing technology donation events to help connect students in need.

Communities respond to needs of 500 Oregon foster families, but more help is needed

Free Geek is facing its own overwhelming demand for its services since COVID-19 forced the closure of schools and workplaces. 

Digital divide leaves 75,000 Oregon students in need of our help 

A five-day employee technology drive resulted in 16 pallets of technology devices delivered to Free Geek for refurbishing and distribution to the Oregon community.

Portland non-profit collecting old cell phones, computers to give to people who need it

A non-profit is teaming up with local businesses to help bring tablets and laptops to people who need them.

Statewide tech drive to support students comes to Hillsboro

The Free Geek TechNOW Drive hopes to close the digital divide for students across the state. 

Demand For Free Or Low-Cost Computers Spikes 4,000% At Portland Nonprofit

In just the last few weeks, huge portions of our lives have gone online: endless Zoom meetings for work, ordering deliveries and groceries, and socializing almost exclusively over video chats. But an estimated 17% of Portlanders aren’t connected to the internet. In rural parts of the Northwest, that number balloons to nearly 40%.

Access to Technology is Now a Matter of Life and Death

The Covid-19 Pandemic makes clear access to technology is a basic human right.

Portland's Free Geek offers tech to those in need during coronavirus pandemic (KATU)

The coronavirus pandemic has turned living rooms into classrooms, and dining room tables into home offices. Some people also use their devices to check up with their doctor instead of going to a clinic in person. Now more than ever, people need computers and a stable internet connection.

Free Geek: Working to close digital divide gains importance (Portland Tribune)

Free Geek is seeing an unprecedented need for digital access and low-cost laptops from low-income families, people forced to telecommute and college students now learning online.

Bridging the digital divide with Free Geek (KOIN 6)

Technology evolves faster than a lot of us can keep up with. And, things are only going to speed up! For Tech Tuesday, Jenny and Emily welcomed Adelle Pomeroy from Free Geek, a local organization that aims to make sure no one gets left behind in a digital divide.

Need a free computer? Portland nonprofit Free Geek can help (Portland Tribune)

Adelle Pomeroy, the digital inclusion manager at Free Geek, has a goal: She wants to demystify technology so people recognize that computers are not magical. She particularly wants to reach members of the community who don't have a computer or don't have access to a computer...

Where do AirPods go when they die? The big problem with tiny earbuds (Digital Trends)

If you were among the first adopters of Apple’s popular AirPods when they came out in 2016, it’s highly likely you’re already considering a new pair. With some users reporting battery life approaching just 50 percent of the advertised 5 hours after just two years of ownership, AirPods have among the highest turnover of any modern electronics device you can buy...

Amazon gives inside peek at expanded downtown Portland office (KGW 8)

Internet giant Amazon opened its latest Portland engineering office with a community announcement. The Seattle company committed to fund a partnership between two well-known Portland nonprofits to teach computer skills to people escaping homelessness...

‘Fix-it Fair’ returns in February

At the first “Portland Fix-it Fair” of the season, held in outer East Portland, people come to learn how to be safer, live healthier, and save money – from volunteers associated with more than 60 organizations...

How to Change the World When Money’s Not An Option (Willamette Week)

Are you broke but still want to change the world? You're not alone. Luckily, making a difference is easier than ever before — especially if you don't have money. Because, in 2018, money is just one of many currencies...

Refurbished Technology: An Insider's Guide (NTEN)

For social service organizations, digital access is increasingly critical to the success of their clients, constituents, and patrons. The people they serve need it to apply for jobs, complete schoolwork, search for a home, or apply for benefits...

Innovators in Digital Inclusion: Multnomah County Library (Benton Foundation)

Broadband access and adoption are essential for full participation in our society, for education, for public health, and for public safety. But nagging gaps in broadband adoption exist in too many U.S. communities...

When gadgets become garbage: How to recycle electronics (Oregon Metro)

Quick! How many electronic products do you have? Televisions, cell phones, computers, tablets, game consoles, e-readers, fitness trackers, programmable thermostats – they add up…

An 85-Year-Old’s Mission to Bridge the Digital Divide (Viewfind)

The ride across the red Zimbabwean desert is bumpy, and Jim Anderson must continuously brace himself for unexpected jolts, dips and turns. He’s driving far beyond the city limits of Mutare…

How companies are working to help low-income students get technology (KATU)

Technology has become such a large part of our lives, that even elementary school students are assigned homework that requires internet use...

Multnomah County will give 1,500 computers a year to Free Geek (The Oregonian)

Multnomah County has begun routing its discarded computers to Free Geek, a windfall of roughly 1,500 PCs annually for the Portland nonprofit that refurbishes and recycles old electronics…

At Free Geek, Computer Repair Paves the Path to Jobs (Treehugger)

"One of our jobs as human beings is to help make other people smile," Cindy says as she shows me around Free Geek. Amidst the disarray of torn apart monitors, data-wiped hard drives, and ribbon cables, Cindy sits proudly at her workstation where she volunteers assembling computers as part of Free Geek’s Build Program...

Free Geek On Radio

Talking Trash (Kink FM)

Episode 11 features John Ashcraft, Manager of Receiving and Recycling at the non-profit, Free Geek.

Free Geek on Video

Carlos and the Computer
By University of Oregon Portland multimedia journalism student Robert Redding (April 2015)
What Happens to Your Computer at Free Geek?
Video project by Portland Youth Builders (2013)