M4Reactor New Facility Launch

Our organization is a local makerspace that does quite a bit for Salisbury and the surrounding communities.  Instead of listing everything, here’s our vision:

We support economic development and diversity, job growth and retention and social development in the manufacturing sector by providing job skills training and certification, promoting entrepreneurship development, providing and promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) related careers for youth and adults, and by creating facilities to deliver these services for the good of the community.

We strive to embody this mission through the classes and services we provide at our “makerspace” which is a fancy way of saying we have a community workshop - kind of like a workshop that someone might have in their garage or shed but filled with both traditional (woodworking) and modern tools and technologies (3D Printing and Robotics).  The organization is completely run by volunteers.

To give you a little more background on what we do and who we serve, here are some summary statistics:

Program Start Date: January 2016
Youth Summer Camps Provided: 25 serving over 400 students
Workforce Development Classes: 2 serving 13 unemployed adults, 70% who received jobs within 6 months
Adult Safety Training Classes Provided: 86 serving over 250 adults
Community Workshop Open Hours Staffed by Volunteers: over 10,000 hours!
Free Youth Community Learning Events: 11 serving over 180 youth
Community Outreach Events (Exposing youth to STEM): 24
New Companies Launched from M4Reactor users: 6

Another outreach program we are developing is the implementation of a mobile makerspace funded by a grant from the Perdue Foundation that will allow us to visit schools and provide hand-on STEM activities.  We hope to have this operational by November 2019. 

Additionally, we are also actively partnering with the city on two major objectives.  The first, “MADE IN SBY” will bring together all manufacturers in the area providing collaboration and a consistent branding message of the value of manufacturing in our community.  The second is the creation of a “Makers Faire” whereby anyone locally producing crafts, art and other items of craftsmanship will be able to sell their products to the public at a yearly event.

We started operations with the Tri-County Council Foundation as our fiscal sponsor three years ago and now it is time for us to take a leap and go out on our own.  We are in the process of creating our own 501(c)(3) organization (but will stay under the TCC Foundation until that is complete).  And we are moving from a small space that TCC has provided for us.  This is where we are seeking community assistance.

We have to move by October 22, 2019 and have found a space on Rt 13 just north of downtown that is quite affordable compared to many other commercial spaces.  The address is 307 North Salisbury Blvd, the building currently being enhanced with a huge mural and small park adjacent to it.  However, there is still a substantial amount of work that we have to do to prepare it for us to move including some demolition, building 2 classrooms, adding access doors, electrical, ducting, HVAC work, plumbing, painting, adding security doors and security system, etc.  The TCC Foundation is helping us with rent for our first year but we are searching for support of our build out costs.  We must raise over $40,000 for all the prep work for us to move in.

We have developed a budget for our build-out costs.  These are a combination of estimates we have received or exact costs for materials.  We will be doing the bulk of labor on our own and seeking professionals to donate time and only hiring contractors where required.  We have also estimated that we will be using over 400 hours of volunteer time which if valued at $25/hr equates to over $10,000 in donated services.  

The larger space will allow us to implement a new program we are working on with Telamon to provide manufacturing job skills to disconnected youth age 16-24 who do not have a high school diploma or a job.  Being on RT 13 will also give us much needed visibility for community support and engagement.  Additionally, we will be able to implement equipment that has been donated to us but in storage due to the lack of space including metal working and welding equipment, kilns for ceramics and glass, a new 160w laser cutter and a variety of other smaller bench tools.

We hope you agree that for a small organization of volunteers, we have accomplished a lot and continue to push forward with our mission.  Thank you for your consideration and support in our endeavor.

If you want more information on other opportunities to help with this project by donating your time, supplies or by sponsoring our new facility, please check out this link for more information: https://m4reactor.org/help-m4-move/


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Kevin Justice 
Salisbury, MD
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