bernzomatic (original)

Last September I wrote about the Bernzomatic “Find your Fire” Community Grant, where you could win up to $15,000 for doing something good in your community. I just got notification that a winner has been chosen! If you recall, entering was pretty simple. You just had to tell Bernzomatic how your project helped the community, and how you’d use some Bernzomatic tools. It didn’t have to be about using their tools though.

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The winners are the Winslow Township Middle School in Winslow  New Jersey. Their project was to build a makerspace and garden to support local STEM innitiatives. They rallied their local community for an overwhelming show of supporting votes and snagged the $15,000 first prize as well as a visit from TV celebrity Nicole Curtis.

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There were more prizes handed out as well, totaling roughly $38,000!

Runners-Up, getting $7,000 and $5,000 respectively:

  • Bed Blitz; Bloomington, Ill.: A community-driven fabrication project focused on building beds for children in need, after a study revealed that hundreds of students in the area didn’t have access to a suitable place to sleep.
  • Chicago Youth Centers; Chicago: An urban youth organization working to launch a Glass Blaster’s Club for youth to explore the intersection of art, science and community service, culminating with the creation of a recycled glass sculpture.

Finalists, each awarded $1,500:

  • Lansing Makers Network; Lansing, Mich.: A maker space working to expand its Forging Women Series of women-only blacksmithing classes and workshops.
  • Iron Range Makerspace; Hibbing, Minn.: A maker space working to get high school students into STEM-related fields by offering free classes focused on the power of fire taught by local residents.
  • Dallas Makerspace Space Shuttle; Dallas: A team of makers working to restore and convert a passenger bus into an interactive Space Shuttle exhibit for STEAM community outreach.
  • RCBI MakerVault; Huntington, W.Va.: A maker space focused on spurring entrepreneurship and innovation in the community, working to expand their space to enable more collaboration and creation.
  • Hounds Little Free Libraries; Austin, Texas: A program seeking to build 8-12 Little Free Libraries around East Austin to promote reading amongst elementary school students.
  • Palisades Charter High School STEAMer Kart; Pacific Palisades, Calif.: A school STEAM program supporting programming in the school’s metal shop by building a go-kart out of repurposed parts, found materials and donated motors.
  • Girl Start Summer Camp; Austin, Texas: A weeklong summer program working to expand offerings for girls to increase interest in STEM subjects and careers through real-world experiences.

This was the 2nd year for Bernzomatic’s Find Your Fire Grant program and I hope they continue it for a long time!