Area515 is already valuable to hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and students alike. The group adds value to the Des Moines community by:
- Teaching new skills to current and future engineers and developers
- Offering entrepreneurs low-risk means to prototype their products
- Giving artists new, high-tech mediums to experiment with (our CNC laser cutter is the most popular so far)
- Supplementing FRC programs for high school students
Each of these services, and the stories behind them, are the beginning of a strengthening STEM pipeline for the engineering and technology sectors in Des Moines and Iowa.
A workshop consumes a lot of floor space, and high tech machinery is expensive. Area515 is stuck in a financial loop: as soon as our membership grows enough for dues to cover the cost of rent, our workshop gets crowded and we need a larger facility.
Our dream is to become the maker hub of central Iowa, sharing our location with other non-profit technology organizations. We are raising funds to buy our own building with a larger workshop, expand our tool selection, and add classroom space. To stay sustainable, we are forming an endowment to fund ongoing tool consumables (laser tubes are expensive!) and building maintenance.
Enough funding to give Area515 a long-term, sustainable workshop. The costs break down like this:
- Purchase and renovate a building: $850,000
- Improved ventilation
- Safety equipment
- Augment our workshop: $50,000
- Proper welding bays
- Milling machine
- Vacuum forming machine
- Endowment fund: $500,000
- Ongoing consumables fund
- Building maintenance
- Someday, a shop manager!
- Total: $1,400,000
With $50 or $100, you can help us achieve our first $25,000 towards the endowment. This first step is critical to show large donors that we have community support. Your small donation, and the vote of confidence that comes with it, will make a huge difference in these early stages.