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Creating a Successful Computer Refurbishing Program

Webinar video

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Webinar Description

This webinar covers how to start a program at your nonprofit to refurbish computers. Learn how to get good refurbishable equipment donations and how to economically set up an operation that is suitable to your budget and the space you have.

TechSoup’s Kami Griffiths interviews Pat Furr from Computers for Classrooms and Bruce Buckelew from Oakland Technology Exchange West (OTX West). Pat and Bruce both started their own refurbishment programs and have run them successfully and at minimal cost over several years. This event will cover material from startup manuals that they have both written.

This event will specifically cover:

  • How to set up a small refurbishment space, what materials are needed, and how to staff it
  • How to triage or quickly separate useful donations from e-waste, and also how to locate a reputable end-of-life recycler to take e-waste at minimal cost
  • How to test IT equipment, wipe hard drives, and install the right operating systems and other software
  • Some essential computer repair troubleshooting techniques to get you started
  • How to connect up with your community to ensure ongoing sustainability of your refurbishment program

This webinar will cover basic to intermediate-level topics and is most appropriate for decision makers, IT staff, and “accidental techies” who may be entrusted to make strategic technology decisions at your organization. This is an intro-level webinar and won’t go in-depth on topics about how to refurbish computers at a larger scale or develop an existing refurbishment program.

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Speaker Information

Patt Furr - Patt founded Computers for Classrooms (CFC) in her home. Pat’s background includes teaching, business and graduate studies in Computer Science. Having served as an elected unified school district trustee, Pat has been a continuing supporter of education and technological literacy. “All students need a level playing field when getting an education”. In today’s world, everyone needs access to technology.

CFC is a non-profit volunteer organization that has been refurbishing computers since 1991and has furnished over 40,000 computers to schools, non-profits and low-income families.

Pat’s desire is to encourage others to develop refurbishing programs because reuse is 25 times better for the environment than just recycling.

Bruce Buckelew - After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Industrial Engineering, Bruce Buckelew spent the next 25 years working for IBM in various marketing, technical and management positions until taking early retirement in 1991. Bruce then completed the coursework for a Masters Degree in Educational Technology at SF State and began his second career working to provide technology to the youth and families of Oakland. Since founding and directing the Oakland Technology Exchange (OTX) and OTXWest in 1995, Bruce's organization has provided over 30,000 refurbished computers to the Oakland community, including computers for schools, homes and non-profits. OTXWest (and Bruce) remain committed to ending the digital divide in Oakland and providing all residents with the tools necessary for success in the 21st century. Bruce is married to Kate Buckelew and has four grown children and one grandchild.

Additional Resources


Getting Started


Free Data Wiping Programs


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