Forge Greensboro partnerships with local organizations helps makers


GREENSBORO, N.C. — The makerspace community is built on the mindset of sharing ideas to solve problems, so when the pandemic paused projects, makers had to figure out a way to keep people working.

“The last eight months, I’m sure like everyone else, has felt like eight years. A lot of things have changed,” Forge Greensboro Executive Director Joe Rotondi said.

Forge Greensboro is a nonprofit community makerspace.

Rotondi says during the initial shutdowns, the organization lost about a third of its membership and had to cancel all classes and many of its workforce development programs.

The Forge moved toward partnering with local organizations to produce large-scale projects under a model called “contract services.”

One of the latest partners is the Children’s Museum of Alamance County.

The two organizations have had an ongoing relationship where members of the Forge have built some of the interactive exhibits at the museum.

“I took them some drawings, met with them,” Children’s Museum of Alamance County Executive Director Michele Davis said.

“They got real excited about it, and they kind of did a collaborative effort with several of their members and created this great design.”

“I hope this gets people thinking more about local,” Rotondi said.

This business model has shown multiple benefits.

This concept has helped local talent get back to work, helped the museum save money compared to the cost of working with commercial exhibit makers, and helped Forge Greensboro cover some of its lost revenue.

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