Like the rest of the world, we’re looking forward to putting 2020 behind us for all the obvious reasons. But we’d be remiss to not express our immense gratitude to all our amazing community partners who shared so generously of their time, expertise and financial contributions and made it possible for us to do an extraordinary amount of good in the face of extraordinary challenges. And there were certainly some wonderful moments, like the Mayor’s visit in November and our Deconstruction project, that brightened the year!
FCDI/AMRoC Fab Lab 2020 Highlights
Among our achievements this year:
- We helped keep people safe with AMRoC-produced PPE, and the coordination of a volunteer brigade and over $25,000 in support for community partner MRG 3D, towards the production of over 40,000 face shields.
- We continued to provide STEM education to over fifty K-12 youth in our in-house robotics programs through on site and remote programming.
- We launched seven new local businesses through the Equity in Entrepreneurship program and helping relaunch and rebrand 3 others, providing 16 weeks of training in partnership with Grow to Greatness Ventures, and over $20,000 in seed funding grants thanks to Truist, Truist Foundation and Florida Blue.
- In partnership with US Auto Training, we provided Automotive Technician Certification training to over a dozen people, including one who went on to the Equity in Entrepreneurship program to start his own automotive service.
- We successfully hosted ROBOTICON, our annual youth robotics showcase, as a virtual event in November. Thanks to title sponsor Lockheed Martin, the support of PLUGHITZ Live and many other fine sponsors, we produced over 40 hours of educational content, with nearly 3000 views, and provided over $1000 in cash awards to participating teams.
- We hosted two big youth STEM competitions, the SOFIC Challenge , in partnership with SOFWERX and USSOCOM and the Frontier Summer Robotics Challenge providing over $40,000 in awards to more than a dozen teams throughout Tampa Bay.
- We launched the Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative to help broaden the community outreach and support network in Uptown
- We were recognized as a Tampa Bay Inno “Blazer” and
- FCDI achieved recognition as a 2020 Top Rated Nonprofit on Great Nonprofits for the 4th year in a row.
Just for Fun
Over the summer, we put our social distancing to entertaining ends by participating in The Deconstruction. We got the Megagroup Project Award, which included a $500 donation to the COVID-19 charity of our choice – which was MRG3D.
One of our favorite things this year was getting a visit from Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, who toured AMRoC Fab Lab in November and met with some of our Equity in Entrepreneurship participants and robotics team students. We were especially delighted that she agreed to a short interview with FIRST AmeriCorps VISTA Marissa Schiereck, for ROBOTICON, which was underway that week, and especially enjoyed her description of AMRoC as a “STEM-basedPlayground“.
New for 2021
As we head into the new year, we’re excited about continuing our old programs and launching some new and updated ones, including:
- Drone education programs with our new community partner, Tampa Drones
- Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative Redevelopment Focus Groups in partnership with Gentrispot
- Our 2nd Equity in Entrepreneurship cohort, in partnership with Grow to Greatness Ventures
- New ASE Automotive Technician Certification training programs, with US Auto Training
- Gulf Coast Maker Con 2021
- AMRoC Battlebots launch
Happy New Year from all of us at FCDI and AMRoC Fab Lab!
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This post also appears at FFCDI.org