The Richmond Church of the Brethren is currently running a small hardware recycling cooperative, where they take in computer hardware that people are ready to get rid of, and either dispose of it properly and in the most environmentally friendly way possible, OR they breathe new life into it by reconfiguring it, using different software on it, etc. As coordinator Mark Stosberg notes, it's resulted in some great successes, with being able to give low-cost "new" desktop and laptop computers to community members, and working on creating a small computer lab that could be used by a school or non-profit.
To take this kind of project to the next level, Mark and others are exploring the idea of creating a Freegeek location here. The Freegeek mission is to provide computers and training for limited-resource populations in the area through redistribution of used equipment and the use of Free Software. There's one operating successfully in Columbus, OH, and it's based on the original location in Portland, OR.
By starting a Freegeek location in Richmond, we could quickly improve the technology training and computing resources available to our citizens, especially those who would not typically be able to afford access to a computer. Given the "digital divide" in our community and the surrounding County, this could become an essential resource for continuing Richmond's work to be ahead of the curve with technology.