About FreeGeek Chicago

Mission and History

FreeGeek Chicago is a not-for-profit community organization that recycles used computers and parts to provide functional computers, education, internet access and job skills training to those who want them.

FreeGeek Chicago was founded in August 2005 as a collaboration of NPOTechs and Logan Square CTC to recycle computer technology and provide low- and no-cost computing to economically disadvantaged individuals and not-for-profit and social change organizations. FreeGeek Chicago does most of this work with volunteers, who disassemble the donated equipment and test the components, which are either recycled as electronic scrap or reused in refurbished systems.

FreeGeek Chicago is a democratically run organization that uses consensus for decision-making. Our policy decisions are made by a group of volunteers and staff called the council, and those policies are executed by our staff collective. Public meetings are posted on the calendar and discussed on the FreeGeek Talk mailing list.

We are proud to be an affiliate of FreeGeek Portland, the founding FreeGeek.

Press / Media

Guarino, Mark. David Eads runs FreeGeek Chicago, 'an Apple Store for the rest of us'. The Christian Science Monitor. 2013-06-14.

It's the social aspect of FreeGeek that keeps its volunteers – 800 in 2012 – committed to stepping out of the daylight and into its basement quarters. At first blush, the scene might seem apocalyptic: Old hard drives, circuit boards, CD-ROM readers, and other hardware are stacked on the floor, shelving units, and pallets. But the room is organized as finely as any surgical floor of a hospital...

"We take the scary stuff out of computers. For those who fear computers, it's the best way to deal with fear," Eads says.

Feder, Emily. How One Organization Increases Computer Access in Chicago". AVODAH: Jewish Voices Pursuing Justice. 2013-05-03.

FreeGeek helps make technology accessible to everyone, so that by the time they have earned their computer, volunteers will have not just gotten the machine that they came here for, but they will also leave with a better understanding of how it works.

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein. FreeGeek & Coding. Video. Vivelo Hoy. 2013-01-24.

Chicago International Social Change Film Festival. CISCFF Presents FreeGeek Chicago. Video. 2012-09-11.

Dymowski, Gordon. Meet Your Neighbor: Free Geek Chicago. One Cause at a Time. ChicagoNow. 2012-08-27.

Now, I would like to introduce you to Free Geek Chicago - they're a local organization who is dedicated to recycling old computer equipment and encouraging adoption of open source software.

Cottrell, Megan. The geeks shall inherit the earth. Tonic.com. 2010-12-24.

FreeGeek Chicago has taught hundreds of people how to take computers apart and put them back together, allowing them to volunteer weekly to eventually earn their own refurbished computer.

Chicago Revealed. Free Geek Chicago. Video. 2010-11-02.

Legal Information

FreeGeek Chicago is a Not-For-Profit Corporation, incorporated on December 21, 2007 in the State of Illinois. FreeGeek Chicago has received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status as a public charity from the United States Internal Revenue Service.

Incorporated Name: FREEGEEK/CHICAGO, NFP

Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN, EIN)(Link): 26-1852070

Illinois, Secretary of State File Number (Link): 65933357

North American Industry Classification System Code (NAICS):


Current staff are:

Juanette (Nette) Appleton - Ivy (Manager)

Bob Stein

Terry Topczewski

Evelyn Lopez