We’re grateful to all the amazing individuals who were kind enough to share stories about their experiences with the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation and help us once again earn a Top Rated badge at Great Nonprofits!  It’s a modest honor, in and of itself, a digital badge that says we got at least ten positive reviews this year.  It’s actually your stories that matter the most to us, and they’re heartwarming and uplifting, especially during a time when we need our hearts warmed and our spirits uplifted.

We are so grateful for AMROC, which was were able to provide us with face shields and masks made in the lab. This allowed us to continue our work as a medical mobile clinic catering to all the uninsured patients in the community providing primary care services and free prescription medications. We  and our patients are extremely grateful for this partnership especially in our community. 

Even during COVID-19, we’ve kept busy and productive, working to keep people of all ages engaged and moving forward in their lives, as a way to stay engaged and moving forward in our own lives.  We have an amazing Board of Directors, and fabulous volunteers, and we love the work we do and we love the people we do it with.  The stories people shared are testament to the fact that many love FCDI and AMRoC Fab Lab, too.

This Non-profit has helped me so much with developing my business. They have taught me actionable steps to scale my business upward!

Here’s just some of what we’ve accomplished over the course of the last year:

  • Welcomed nearly 1000 guests and program participants to AMRoC Fab Lab, more than half of them children
  • Hosted four FIRST youth robotics teams serving more than 50 youth
  • Provided build space for six more youth robotics teams, and several other community organizations.
  • Hosted several Professional Development events, for educators, manufacturers and others
  • Hosted multiple special events, scrimmages & tours including Manufacturing Day ,National Day of Civic Hacking and Hour of Code, TechHire, and others
  • Provided 3D Printing and Product Development services for several groups and individuals.
  • Participated in community festivals and events like CANDO Caribbean Festival and Winners Resource Day of Thanksgiving, and Synapse Summit
  • Were awarded several grants to support everything from youth STEM education programs, to workforce and entrepreneurship efforts, and PPE production
  • Received a UACDC Community Impact Award.
  • Took first place in the 2019 Children’s Board Social Enterprise Competition.

We couldn’t do a lot of the great work we do without our amazing community partners.  Individuals like Tony Selvaggio, of eSmart Recycling, pictured below with a student from our FIRST Tech Challenge team, or Josh Ray of Grow to Greatness Ventures, Scott Ertz of PLUGHITZ Live, or Pam Oakes of US Auto Training, or Truist or the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, or the amazing individuals serving as mentors for our Equity in Entrepreneurship program, or mentoring students on our youth robotics teams.  It takes a village to serve a village and we’re humbled and grateful to everyone who makes everything possible.

We have had an amazing experience working alongside FCDI and several of its programs. Our work at eSmart Recycling directly aligns with FCDI’s mission by empowering the lives of kids and families in at-risk communities in our Bay Area; we sincerely look forward to many more years of collaboration and positive social change with the organization and their leadership.

As we move into our second year of programming with AMRoC Fab Lab, as well with as our other programs, we’re excited about what the future holds, even in the time of COVID-19.  Starting this fall, we’re adding several REC Foundation STEM competitions to our suite of hands-on learning tools at AMRoC, including serving as a pilot site for the new VEX Advanced Manufacturing Competition for middle and high school students, and adding both virtual and real time drone competitions.

FCDI I WANT TO THANK YOU! This has been the greatest addition to my hectic schedule as a full time worker and single mom of two teen girls, one of which is a member of TDT @ AMRoC here in the Tampa Bay Area! The staff is my village and they bring my youngest so much joy just to be included and sharing ideas. They also keep my eldest child involved with her younger sister by allowing her to come and use her photography skills at events and meets! I hope you guys continue to grow. Our community needs you and WE are so happy to have you! Keep up the great work! Imagine big then bring it to life!!!!! Go Team Duct Tape!!!!!!

ROBOTICON Tampa Bay will host its 7th season as ROBOTICON Live Online! this year, running two full weeks from Nov. 6-20 and including a range of interactive workshops, presentations and virtual competition experiences for youth in Florida and beyond.

We’re especially excited about the successful launch of our Equity in Entrepreneurship program, in partnership with Grow to Greatness Ventures, with its unique early stage entrepreneurship “earn-as-you-learn” mentor-supported format that brings different mentors-in-residence to each session to share their personal experiences and expertise.  We can’t wait to see our first cohort present at 1 Million Cups Tampa later this fall, and to watch their businesses take off.

We’re looking forward, as well, to new opportunities with partners like the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame at USF and MOSI, and our new Uptown Tampa Community Collaborative  which aims to unite even more partners in the Uptown area to amplify our voices and a shared vision for the success of the Uptown Tampa community.

FCDI does a fabulous job with connecting the community and various organizations throughout the region. No matter what they do, they always bring their A game and rise to the occasion. Great job! Keep up the great work.

So thank you to everyone who helps make the work we do so rewarding to do, and special thanks to those who shared their stories to help us earn our 2020 Top Rated badge at Great Nonprofits.

You can see more stories and photos, and share more of your own, at the FCDI Great Nonprofits page.