Geeks Without Frontiers

Technology for a Better World

AUSTIN, TX   |  www.geekswf.org

Mission

An award-winning non-profit, Geeks’ mission is to promote technology for a resilient world including bringing the benefits of broadband connectivity -health, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and the other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)- to the estimated 3.5 billion people who remain unconnected. Geeks aspires to empower the unserved, including the forcibly displaced, creating Smart Communities and helping to catalyze positive global change. It does this by leveraging the benefits of exponential preparedness technologies as well as data, connectivity and other scalable solutions in a resilient, technologically neutral and sustainable manner; by the creation of innovative regulatory and business models designed to democratize and accelerate connectivity.

Ruling year info

2016

CEO

David Hartshorn

Main address

3112 WINDSOR RD STE 501A

AUSTIN, TX 78703 USA

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EIN

47-4976101

NTEE code info

Telephone, Telegraph and Telecommunication Services (W50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Thought Leadership

Geeks recognizes the importance of demonstrating thought leadership as a method of achieving its vision of promoting technology for a resilient world including bringing the benefits of broadband connectivity -health, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and the other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)- to the estimated 3 billion people who remain unconnected.

Thought Leadership Conferences



Geeks’ last three “Connectivity Is the Revolution!” Conferences in Washington D.C., have focused on technological innovations, delivering digital access to underserved communities, emerging global challenges, and financially sustainable broadband business plans. They have provided a leveraged opportunity to share ideas, experience and expertise with thought leaders from Government, NGO, professional advisers and commercial entities sharing a common interest in Geeks’ vision of broadband for the next billion.



The Forum has featured engaging panel sessions including:

C-Level Roundtable on how to profitably deliver digital access into unserved markets, latest lessons learned, and implications for the future of sustainable broadband.

Shark-tank cross examination of connectivity companies’ business cases and investment models, and how they are bridging the Digital Divide.

Deep-dive discussion on Geeks’ various initiatives including initiative to provide connectivity for refugees and disaster-affected communities.



Geeks also participates in a variety of regional international forums.



‘Connectivity is the Revolution’ Thought Leadership Forum Conference Agendas

2016 Agenda

2017 Agenda

2018 Agenda



To learn more about the program, registration and sponsorships visit www.ConnectvityForum.com


Innovative Research



Geeks is continually researching new ideas and services that can help to close the global Digital Divide. Some examples follow:



Geeks Without Frontiers is developing an innovative system of environmental and social “Impact Credits”, “SDGCredits” and “Sustainable Development Credits” (also known as “SDCredits”) designed to help drive and accelerate both public and private investment into critical projects of environmental and social importance, and in particular infrastructure projects, by providing investors with formal acknowledgement of the environmental, social and developmental impact of investments toward achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the allocation of “Impact Credits”, “SDGCredits” or “Sustainable Development Credits” (also known as “SDCredits”).



Reimagining Universal Service Funds to Connect Billions of People LinkedIn Post by Michael Potter, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Geeks Without Frontiers.



Contact Us to Learn More. Interested parties can contact Geeks Without Frontiers to further discuss these ideas.


Regulatory Innovation



Exponential technologies including broadband are key components for achieving positive socio-economic change. For these technologies to be able to operate to their capacity, regulation has to also change to recognize and release their potential. As technologies change exponentially and regulation in a linear manner, it is imperative that the momentum for regulatory innovation is maintained. Geeks has a track record of this. Read more here.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants
Women and girls
Children and youth
Adults

Geeks Without Frontiers has developed an open infrastructure initiative called DigOnce! a plan to accelerate the deployment of fiber optic networks. DigOnce! will speed the creation of gigabit villages around the world. 85% of fiber optic cost are related to digging the trenches for laying the fiber optic cabling. The vision of the DigOnce! initiative allows for the installation of empty fiber optic conduits as roads are expanded and built.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Academics
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people

Reaching Forcibly Displaced Populations

UNHCR estimates that there are currently 68.5 million Forcibly Displaced People. Other sources estimate that many tens of millions more will be forcibly displaced, including by climate change, over the next 30 years. From political and military conflicts to natural disasters and from slavery to human trafficking, communications hold huge potential to save and restore lives.



Geeks’ HumanityConnect! initiatives are designed to address these needs and comprise:



Refugee Empowerment. Refugee numbers are at an all-time peak and with average time in camps estimated (by UNHCR) at 17.5 years, connectivity for education, health and other critical services is an imperative. Working in partnership with UNHCR, government agencies and connectivity providers, Geeks has initiated on-site analysis of refugee needs and key performance indicators in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan with a view to attempting to develop a model program for refugee camps globally (SDG’s 1-17).



Human Rights. Promoting and supporting Human Rights is a critical part of meeting the SDG’s. An example of this work is Geeks’ USAID contract to help prevent forced labor in the Thai fishing industry. Geeks is conducting a proof-of-concept demonstration to enable crew to communicate with others onshore, while also providing commercial benefits to the vessel officers and fleet managers. The sustainability model is being developed with a view to its being capable of being deployed by any fishing fleet in the world (SDG’s 1, 3, 8, 12, and 14.)



Disaster Resilience. A critical part of supporting any community forcibly displaced by disasters is to provide connectivity. Leveraging Geeks’ CEO’s experience in supporting UN disaster resilience and recovery programs, Mr. Hartshorn was appointed to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ‘Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group’ relating to developing a communications resilience and recovery strategy for the U.S. (SDG’s 11 and 13, among others).

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Economically disadvantaged people
Academics

CommunityConnect! is designed to bring essential Digital Divide related Internet connectivity, equipment, services and support to the unconnected and under-connected. We provide the leadership, partnerships, and expertise to help deliver these services and also to enable organizations, commercial or otherwise, to catalyze their own initiatives and accelerate exponential change.

Connecting Communities



Geeks is working with public and private-sector partners to empower communities to solve Digital Divide challenges locally and, in particular, to provide Internet connectivity and related services to the unconnected and under-connected.



Examples include:



Corporations: Geeks has multiple private-sector partners and has been commissioned by a global technology provider to design a playbook for municipalities to provide approaches to working with communities which ensure that when Internet service is made available, it can be readily adopted, leveraged and supported for the key services of education, health, employment, and community engagement. Geeks’ playbooks include best practices and case studies, applications and processes for accelerating broadband uptake, and community “mapping” tools to match opportunities with need.



Tribal Communities: Geeks, together with its tribal partner, MuralNet, is working with First Nation communities and has been commissioned to design a strategic Internet connectivity plan that can be leveraged to help support cost-effective delivery of key services including remote health, education, vocational training, and more. In addition, during the pandemic Geeks and MuralNet have worked with tribes to secure hundreds of thousands of PPE units and are helping to secure spectrum and government funding.



Government Deployments: Geeks is supporting pandemic-response requirements for national and local governments. Geeks’ support includes research and analysis of digital access to support COVID related telehealth, distance learning and remote working for low-to-middle income households as part of a US $1 billion COVID related package. This has included providing monitoring and compliance support for the deployment of more than 250,000 computers and hotspots for low-income households.



Government Advisory: Geeks has provided advisory services to multiple government agencies including regulatory and policy best practice, as well as utilization of effective frameworks to help bridge the Digital Divide and strengthen resilience. For example, Geeks’ CEO Co-Chaired a COVID working group for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The group prepared a telecommunications best practices report for all agencies of the administration.



Developing Countries: Collectively, Geeks’ team has decades of experience working with private and public-sector stakeholders in Developing Countries. The initiatives and programs have included every aspect of the communications network life cycle, from strategy and business models to procurement, deployment, and operations. Regulation, policy and efficient management of spectrum resources are also central to the team’s skillsets. Geeks, along with satellite and technology partners, is currently in the early stages of organizing a project in Africa to deliver Internet connectivity and related services to unconnected and under-connected communities

Training and Capacity Building: In collaboration with governments, industry and leading international organizations, Geeks has launched a global program to build capacity and training for communications-based solutions. An example of the program was delivery of a capacity-building effort for the government of Afghanistan. The program helps to harness connectivity, technology and regulation, and combine them with stakeholder resilience strategies focused on disaster preparedness, response and recovery to help protect, save and restore lives and secure Internet connectivity.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Women and girls
Economically disadvantaged people

For Womenkind Is a Geeks Without Frontiers initiative that focuses on gender equality and women’s empowerment by providing access to connectivity, technology and innovation to give women unprecedented opportunities and education to break trends, boost technology-driven innovative solutions for sustainable development and remove the barriers to the advancement of women and girls.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Economically disadvantaged people

From chaos comes opportunity and we have a unique opportunity, a window in time, where we can with decisive action implement strategies embracing new technologies to fundamentally improve the lives of every man, woman, and child on the planet. As Abraham Lincoln said, “the best way to predict the future is to create it”. The Technology for a Resilient World (TRW) platform aims to create a new future for resilience and preparedness practices and for the wellbeing of global communities.

Technology for a Resilient World (TRW) is a direct response to these resilience challenges.

TRW’s mission is to reimagine resilience by using exponential technologies to accelerate and promote an increased focus on preparedness and to reposition resilience as an investment in long-term growth in order to create more resilient and better prepared societies.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Immigrants and migrants
Victims of disaster
Academics

Where we work

Awards

Better Satellite Award 2019

SSPI

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Financials

Geeks Without Frontiers
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Geeks Without Frontiers

Board of directors
as of 9/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Michael Potter


Board co-chair

John J. Morris

Christopher Stott

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 09/01/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.