Encouraged by positive comments, Ken researched the Ubuntu offerings and the community of supporters. This eventually led him to Free Geek in Portland, Oregon. He liked what he found and thought that their organizational model might be adapted to fit the special circumstances in Michigan. Efforts were made to connect with people at Free Geek in Portland and elsewhere.
After sharing his research findings with ministers at Unity of Livonia, a spare office was made available to hold regular meetings. A program was initiated at the church to collect used cell phones and printer cartridges. Ken developed the Motor City Free Geek logo. He also designed and produced tee shirts, polo shirts, and buttons. These were made available at meetings of several computer user groups.
Presentations describing the benefits of open source software were made to groups that meet at Unity of Livonia, such as Toastmasters, Citizens for Peace, and Men of Unity. Ann Arbor SPARK and other business support groups were contacted. This was done to gain a clearer understanding of the willingness of computer users to move from commercial software to their open source equivalents. A few enthusiastic supporters were invited to become part of a core team to launch Motor City Free Geek.
Gibson Nichols attended several of the informal meetings and offered to develop a simple website. Ken visited Free Geek Columbus and Free Geek Michiana to meet with their teams and learn first hand about their operations.
The number of people taking part in the informal meetings continued to grow. There seemed to be more than enough talent and energy to launch Motor City Free Geek. Domain names were purchased.
-------------------------------------------------- 2009 --------------------------------------------------
Articles of incorporation for Motor City Free Geek were filed with the Michigan Secretary of State and a Federal ID number requested. With the help of the core team outreach efforts continued. Contact was initiated with The Basel Action Network.
Ken showed a video report about electronic waste at the annual convention of Southeast Michigan Mensa. He continued the outreach effort, connecting with local groups such as Upland Hills Ecological Awareness Center, Sierra Club, Michigan Green Party, and others, to share his findings about the mishandling of electronic waste.
Robin Handelman joins the Motor City Free Geek team and the project benefits from his skill, energy, and steadfast, generous support. A delegation from Free Geek Columbus visited Motor City Free Geek at Unity of Livonia just as plans are made to move to an old schoolhouse in Warren. Ken Gass, President of Southeast Michigan Mensa, makes favorable references about the project in his newsletter column.
The real work begins. The building had not been occupied for a couple of years and there's a very long list of deferred maintenance items dating back well before that. Grundberg learns to operate a jackhammer. Many enthusiastic volunteers take part in the work. Robin visits Free Geek Columbus.
Nabeebil Hanody, recently from Iraq, sets to work with unflinching energy.
-------------------------------------------------- 2010 -------------------------------------------------
The one year anniversary of the incorporation of Motor City Free Geek is celebrated with a potluck dinner. Our progress is reviewed and suggestions made to assure future growth. MCFG attends meetings of the planning committee for the US Social Forum.
Attention is focused on website development. Chris Minchington worked long hours coding the project and contributed greatly to the look and feel of the site. Grundberg continued to develop content and graphics.
Work began on a brochure about Motor City Free Geek to be available in time for Penguicon 2010. Toby Berger and Chris Minchington help develop the appearance and content. In addition to the brochure, a white paper is created based on work by Robert Robillard, one of our volunteers.
After several revisions, the brochure goes to press. With the assistance of Ken Gass, more than one thousand copies are printed which are then distributed at the Penguicon convention along with more than one thousand copies of the white paper. Grundberg made a presentation about Motor City Free Geek at the April 1st meeting of the Ferndale chapter of Rotary International. A very positive summary is published in the Rotary newsletter.
On the 17th and 18th the FutureMidwest 2010 conference is held in Royal Oak. Grundberg wore the Motor City Free Geek button and responded to many friendly questions.
Grundberg met with members of the US Social Forum IT team. Motor City Free Geek agreed to furnish computers and network hardware for the registration area at Cobo Hall. Nearly 20,000 people are served without a hitch. At the close of the Forum these computers were then donated to the community. More than one thousand brochures and white papers were distributed at the Forum. Grundberg met Garry Davis, World Citizen, and enjoyed an extended conversation about the environment and stewardship.
Ken Dutton and David Lorfel helped Motor City Free Geek move to temporary quarters in Ferndale.
The Mensa Annual Gathering in Dearborn offered a rare opportunity to promote awareness of Motor City Free Geek. More than 2,500 people attended the Gathering. On July 3d Gass and Grundberg made a joint presentation about Motor City Free Geek. The message was well received and resulted in pledges of support. More than one thousand brochures and white papers were distributed. Grundbeg met Rick Snyder, gubernatorial candidate.
On the 17th, Steve Smith, star of the Red Green TV show, arrived in Detroit as part of a promotional tour for PBS. He was impressesd by what he learned about Motor City Free Geek and agreed to a photo op with Grundberg.
On the 31st Grundberg joined a crew of volunteers that helped exhibitors set up for the Maker City Faire at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.
Motor City Free Geek completed the move to the Paper Street business incubator in Ferndale. Ken Gass, John Stevens, and David Stock helped to make the work look easy. Ken Dutton contributed to the project and made needed repairs at our "new" facility.
E2 DETROIT, a one day seminar for entrepreneurs, is held at Wayne State University on the 13th. Several hundred people attend. Grundberg enjoyed a coversation with the keynote speaker, Dr. Wendy Kennedy, who urged people to answer three tough questions about any new business undertaking: So What? Who Cares? Why You?
---------------------------------------------- 2011 -----------------------------------------------
The first issue of the Motor City Herald newsletter is ready for press. Friendly critics pronounce it a success and offer to provide stories and content for future issues.
A meeting of the World Future Society is scheduled where Barry Wauldron of University of Michigan Dearborn will speak on the theory of Peak Oil. Severe weather forces a cancellation.
Dr. Wauldron makes a presentation about Peak Oil. There were many thoughtful questions from the audience. Seven people turned in MCFG volunteer applications.
Grundberg presented the story of Motor City Free Geek at a meeting of the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees. It was well received and he met a representative of the Ann Arbor Ecology Center.
Crain's Detroit and Advertising Age sponsor the IDEA: Detroit Conference. A first class event with high energy presenters.
Annie Leonard was keynote speaker at Albion College for their ecology week. Her Story of Stuff was shown to an audience with dozens of faculty and hundreds of students. She then talked about the video and her life experiences that led to its creation. Grundberg met Annie at an afterglow.
On Earth Day, Andy Acho made a presentation about Practical Sustainability held at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Mr. Acho retired from Ford Motor where he initiated projects focused on ecological responsibility. Grundberg met him and described the Motor City Free Geek program to keep retired computers away from landfills.
The Internal Revenue Service determined that Motor City Free Geek, Inc., meets the requirements of section 501(c)(3) of the tax code and issued a ruling to this effect.
The outreach effort continues. Grundberg and Sherry Wells made a presentation about Motor City Free Geek and community Time Banks at the Southeast Michigan Mensa Regional Gathering in Farmington.
The Ferndale Community Foundation announced that grants are available for nonprofit organizations. Grundberg prepares a request proposal
Grundberg and Wes F visited several facilities operated by Recycle Ann Arbor. The day included a meeting with staff of the NEW Center and a tour of their facility.
Grundberg and Bill Carey traveled to South Bend to meet with Tom Brown of Free Geek Michiana. They toured the operation which had recently moved to donated space in a former Studebaker auto plant.
E-Cycle News is added to the Motor City Free Geek website front page.
A refurbished laptop computer was presented to George Wittstock, Jr., Adjutant, Macomb County Detachment #154, Marine Corps League. Refreshments followed, including deep dish pizza and Good Humor ice cream bars. In the evening we watched March Of The Penguins. Filmed in Antarctica, its a story of the lives of Emperor Penguins and how they're adapted to an extremely harsh environment.
Grundberg attends the Resource Recycling Convention in Indianapolis. This event included tours of e-waste processing operations.
Professor Whitty invites Grundberg to address the UDM College of Business BUS 3520, Labor Relations - green collar jobs and sustainable business. The presentation focused on the mission and business model of Motor City Free Geek. A wide ranging discussion followed.
The month begins with the annual Dally in the Alley celebration. A really fun party with a growing focus on 'green' and sustainbility.
Solar Ypsi leads off the month with a tour of several solar electric installations in downtown Ypsilanti. Dave Strenski is project champion and enthusiastic tour guide.
Larry Fobes, host of the Emmy award winning TV series Leaders on Leadership presents selected epsodes from the show every Wednesday this month at the Southfield Public Library. Not to be missed!
The Great Lakes Bioneers Conference was held at Marygrove College in Detroit. Gloria Rivera and dozens of capable volunteers put together a high energy program filled with special tours, events and learnshops. The plenary sessions broadcast from California include a seemingly endless number of thoughtful presentations by outstanding speakers.
MCFG received an invitation to visit the new offices of Ann Arbor Ecology Center. Harvey S, Ken G, Alden S, and Grundberg attended and were much impressed with the facility and everyone they meet.
Eric E was appointed Motor City Treasurer. He has advanced degrees in business and accounting and brings fresh energy to this important job. Eric is very experienced with nonprofit organizations.
Computer classes are offered to MCFG volunteers.
------------------------------------------- 2012 ------------------------------------------
It's anniversiry time! Three years ago Motor City Free Geek applied to became a Michigan nonprofit corporation and one year ago was recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charity.
Ken introduces the Honorable Marian McClellan, mayor of the City of Oak Park, to the Green Garage project. She is so enthusiastic about what she sees that she arranges to come back for a second wisit with some of her staff.
Study, study, study. Work, work, work. Students make practical use of their new understanding of coumputers.
Our facility is rearranged to improve the flow of materials. Eddie C, a National Honors Society candidate, completes his community service work at Motor City Free Geek to help him qualify for enrollment.
Outreach work continues. A new brochure is designed in time for the PenguiCon convention in Dearborn. Ken attended the Oakland University Autism Symposium and learned about the work being done to better identify people on the high function (Aspergers) end of the spectrum.
Ken attended the White House Urban Economics Forum. The Honorable Dave Bing, Mayor of the City of Detroit, opened the proceedings. Dignitaries included Rosie Rio, U.S. Treasurer who, unfortunately, failed to bring along samples of legal tender to share with everyone. Ken talked with a special asistant to the Secretary of the Department of Labor who took along one of our latest brochures. He promised to show it around the office.
"Last year General Motors saved two and a half billion dollars by recycling" said Mike Robinson, the GM Vice President of Sustainability in an interview on NPR. "That's billion with a B" he added.
Kyrsen Rue, Youth Coordianataor of the Ferndale office of Michigan Works! describes their mentor program.
Marshall S., a Peace Corps volunteer and. Ken met with members of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for a potnick and an informal discussion about Motor City Free Geek and its mission.
Earth Overshoot Day was celebrated with a vegetarian potnick.
Along with Free Geek Chicago and 291 other groups around the world, Motor City Free Geek celebrated Software Freedom Day on the 15th. With the help of eager volunteers, several area user groups were contacted and more than 40 guests attended this speciual event. Cake and ice cream may have helped 6 people decide to sign on as volunteers.
On the 22nd members of Boy Scout Troop 1005 gathered at our space and built tables and straightened out the work area. Twenty-one scouts and a handful of parents and leaders took part. A video report produced by PBS Frontline describing the mishandling of electronic waste led to a discussion of what we do at Motor City Free Geek and why we do it.
Larry Fobes, host of the Emmy award winning TV series Leaders on Leadership presents selected epsodes from the show every Tuesday this month at the Southfield Public Library. Not to be missed!
Four stalward ambassadors set off on a Goodwill Road Tour to visit nearby Free Geek operations in South Bend; Minneapolis; and Chicago.
Ken designed and built an interactive white board. This enabling technology is being adopted in many classrooms. Stay tuned for exciting developments.
Motor Ciity Free Geek was very pleased to help celebrate a first place award in an international competition by students at Birmingham Covington Middle School. Their winning entry was based on a description of local 'green' organizations. Fourteen businesses set up tables to tell their story. A representative of Microsoft Corporation in Redmond talked via Skype to more than 300 students, parents, and teachers. The Superintendent of Birmingham Schools discussed the contest with Motor City Free Geek.
Motor City Free Geek volunteers celebrate another year of growth with a small gathering on the first day of January. The Linux SIG meeting draws 17 people. At a conference at Lawrence Technological University, Sterling Speirm, CEO of the W.K.Kellog Foundation mentioned his concern about the lack of innovation and entrepreneurship in the nonprofit sector. He must not know about Motor City Free Geek.
The Motor City Free Geek 2012 Annual Report is completed just in time to become part of the Detroit Free Press Michigan Green Leader award nomination package.
Ken represents Motor City Free Geek at meetings of Michigan Nonprofit Association and the Nonprofit Network.
The number of volunteers at Motor City Free Geek continues to grow.
|Tuesday May 14, |
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
|Wednesday May 15, |
7:00 PM -
|Thursday May 16, |
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
|Saturday May 18, |
12:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Open for business
|Tuesday May 21, |
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
|Thursday May 23, |
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
|Saturday May 25, |
12:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Open for business
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At Motor City Free Geek we install Ubuntu Linux on computers we build.
Ubuntu Linux is created by a worldwide team of expert developers and has all the application programs most often used: a basic office suite; web browser; media player, and more.
OpenOffice.org is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more.
It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.