FCDI is pleased and grateful to announce that United Way Suncoast is providing $4,700 in emergency funding in support of our community Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  efforts at AMRoC Fab Lab. The funds are part of a more than $1.2 million of COVID-19 emergency assistance from the United Way Suncoast’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund being distributed to human services agencies across the Suncoast to support housing/shelter, food, childcare, financial stability and mental health services.

“This funding will support work to produce still critically needed protective face shields in the Tampa Bay area by helping replenish 3D printer filament, plastic sheeting for the shields, elastic, foam and 3D printer replacement parts. The shields are provided at no cost to area hospitals, health care worker and first responders,” said FCDI Executive Director, Theresa Willingham.

“So far, 12,000 shields have been distributed through the incredible efforts of the MRG3D project with which we partner, and production has begun at the Fab Lab on a more commercial style protective face shield that can be used by law enforcement, and small businesses as they look to come safely back online. More than 20 off-site volunteers support this effort with their own personal, small business and academic 3D printers, providing another 200 shields a week. We’re grateful to the United Way for helping us continue to provide this valuable resource to our community.”

“It is our job to raise funds, awareness of need, and mobilize volunteers for the critical services needed during this crisis. United Way Suncoast is proud to partner with Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, Inc. This funding is immediately being put to work to support health care workers and first responders in our community” says Jessica Muroff, CEO United Way Suncoast.

From all of us at AMRoC Fab Lab and FCDI, Thank you United Way Suncoast!

For more information about the MRG 3D project, visit facebook.com/MRG3D. If you have a 3D printer and would like to volunteer to contribute shields, please join facebook.com/groups/MRG3D/. To contribute financially or with in-kind donations, please AMRoC Fab Lab online.  

About FCDI

FCDI is a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs and active learning projects. FCDI is the founder and developer of the Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab, annually hosts ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, a youth STEAM Showcase event and Gulf Coast MakerCon, Tampa’s original Maker Festival, and facilitates fiscal sponsorship of competitive youth STEM teams.