One of the goals of The Foundry, Buffalo’s makerspace and incubator, since opening in 2012, has been to expand its resources to the second floor. Today, that vision has been achieved, as The Foundry has added 4500 square feet of space to its existing first floor operation. Altogether this new expansion was the result of $250K, along with 1400 service hours provided by over 90 volunteers. The tenants that will occupy the space include The Service Collaborative of WNY, along with six new rental spaces for startups. The effort was made possible thanks to a $100K donation from First Niagara Foundation.
It was The Foundry’s partner, The Service Collaborative of WNY’s and its program WNY YouthBuild that ultimately chose to house their youth training operation in the new digs, as well as some staff offices. The group will be partnering on a manufacturing training program starting January 2020, according to The Foundry. This expansion will ultimately be a boon for stronger educational programming for our city’s youth.
“When we first opened The Foundry, we didn’t have heat, walls, or any expectation for what this space would be. All we had was an idea, to support local businesses by sharing skills and tools in a collaborative space,” said Megan McNally, executive director of The Foundry. “Seven years later, we’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and welcomed the community to use the makerspace to learn and create, through our public events, workshops, and classes. We’re excited to offer even more capacity with our second floor and we’ll continue to do our part to contribute to the positive momentum happening all along Jefferson Avenue, by offering support and resources to members of our community.”
Members of The Foundry share a number of assets amongst one another, including resources for woodworking, tech, textile, and digital fabrication. The spaces are affordable, while providing these shared assets which are integral to the success of the individual businesses, and the whole of makerspace.
The Foundry is where hands-on education combines with job skill training, both onsite and offsite (working on local community training projects).
Today’s breakthrough expansion, sponsored by The US Department of Labor, is essential for these types of incubator and maker spaces to remain strong, because they will help to get at-risk and low income people on the right path, and there are many paths to take as long as our youth have the right guides and resources at their disposal.