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#The Constitution of FreeGeek Chicago, NFP

Version 2.0 - Final Draft Finalized and passed by the attendees of the Feb 28, 2013 constitutional meeting (with one clarification). Ratified with a unanimous vote at the Community Council meeting on April 14th, 2013. This document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Please adopt and share!

About FreeGeek Chicago

FreeGeek Chicago:

  • Is a community organization that refurbishes used computers and parts to provide functional computers to volunteers and the general public.
  • Is a provider of education in practical computing, hands-on job skills training, and an outlet for community service.
  • Recycles non-reusable materials in an ethical, safe, and environmentally responsible manner.
  • Works to create a strong participatory community by creating a safe space and welcoming environment for all.
  • Is an advocate of open source software and Free/Libre culture for the general public.
  • Is an autonomous, self-sustaining organization.


FreeGeek Chicago is democratically governed by two main bodies: A Community Council made up of our regular volunteers, and a paid Staff Collective. Working groups, comprised of staff and volunteers, take on specific projects and organizational duties.

The Community Council sets organizational policy and delegates power and responsibility to the Staff Collective and working groups. The Community Council approves all formal proposals, which can be raised by anyone. The Community Council uses a 2/3rds majority vote to pass resolutions.

Staff members are elected by the community to deal with day-to-day operations and administration, sensitive information, and conflict resolution. Staff uses formal consensus for decision-making.

Working groups are either permanent or ad-hoc projects formally recognized by the community council. Working groups use simple consensus for decision-making.

Community Council

Community Council sets organizational policy and delegates power and responsibilities to staff and working groups.

Community Council is open to all participants who meet eligibility requirements. Because participants may not be able to attend every council meeting, community council uses a 2/3rds or greater majority vote to pass resolutions.

Community Council meetings provide a forum for staff and working groups to report on organizational operations and receive community feedback, and to discuss and approve new policies and initiatives, or change the course of existing policies and projects.


Community Council will hold publicly announced meetings at least twice a month. All notes will be made publicly available and easy to access.


Community Council approves all resolutions concerning:

  • Staff approval and removal.
  • Working group formation or dissolution.
  • Organizational policy and activities.


Anyone may raise a formal proposal for consideration at a Community Council meeting. Proposals may be considered no sooner than the next Community Council meeting.


A quorum of at least 5 eligible participants is required to vote on any resolution. All formal motions raised before Community Council must receive at least 2/3rds of the vote of those present to pass.


Participants are eligible to vote if they:

  • Have volunteered at least 30 hours in the past 3 months.
  • Have attended at least one meeting in the past 2 months.
  • Are not a paid staff member.
  • Do not have a financial stake in a proposal.

Staff Collective

The Staff Collective consists of paid people who make day-to-day operational and administrative decisions. All of the Staff Collective’s authority and responsibilities are delegated by the Community Council.


The Staff Collective will hold publicly announced meetings once a month and as needed and report back on meetings to the Community Council.


  • Report to community council.
  • Manage and set budget.
  • Set public hours and event schedule.
  • Maintain organizational infrastructure.
  • Uphold the code of conduct, respond to incidents, and maintain a safe space.
  • Manage sensitive information.


The Staff Collective uses formal consensus. Formal resolutions pass with the unanimous consensus of the collective. Members may agree, stand aside, or block a proposal. If a proposal is blocked, it cannot be reconsidered. Each member gets one block for life.


Staff Collective members may be approved or removed with a formal resolution in Community Council. Staff Collective members should be re-approved by the Community Council once a year.


Staff Collective members may be paid as employees or contractors. All members will be compensated the same hourly rate or receive the same salary based on their time commitment and will be expected to follow the terms set out in the formal proposal approving their employment.

Working Groups

Working groups, comprised of Staff Collective members and volunteers, take on specialized projects for the organization. Working groups are standing, permanent, or ad-hoc. Standing groups can only be changed with an amendment of this Constitution. Permanent working groups work towards long term goals. Ad-hoc groups have an explicit limit on their time frame, which can be renewed by the Community Council. All working groups excluding standing groups listed in the Constitution can be revoked or modified at any time by the Community Council.

Creating a working group

A group of volunteers makes a proposal to the Community Council which specifies group leaders and the purpose of the working group. The Community Council approves the proposal or suggests modifications. If approved, the group goes to work on their project.


Working groups will:

  • Hold publicly announced meetings on a decided schedule and as needed.
  • Report back on meetings and activities to the Community Council
  • Make all notes publicly available and easy to access.


Working groups will use simple consensus. All leaders specified in the group proposal should agree on significant decisions.

Standing groups

There are three standing working groups at FreeGeek Chicago:

  • Custodians: Works with Staff Collective members to investigate and arbitrate code of conduct violations.
  • Visionaries: Proposes agenda and long-term strategy.
  • Paper board: As required by law. Board members pledge to abide by the terms of this constitution.

Amending the Constitution

This constitution may be amended or altered at special meetings and via agreed-upon channels with the unanimous approval of at least five eligible Community Council members and all active Staff Collective members. Amendments must be proposed at least 6 weeks before consideration, with a specified meeting date. All changes and amendments will be documented.