Join us in celebrating our 10th Anniversary!
This past Sunday marked TEN YEARS (!!!) since The Foundry was incorporated, and there are so many things to say.
A message from our Executive Director...
First of all - dream BIG! In 2012, a core group of us thought “wouldn’t it be great to have a supportive, inclusive space for makers.” With just a few tenants in the building and a couple events under our belt, we created an online fundraising campaign (which was less common in those days!) to raise $30k for a down payment on our building. Nearly 260 people said YES to this idea. We planted a seed and we’ve been watering it and loving it and growing it ever since.
2. Just do it. If we waited for the right time, it never would’ve happened. Our neighborhood (and frankly all of Buffalo) is rapidly changing. Some of it is hard and some of it is for the better, but there’s no doubt in my mind it’d be more challenging to start The Foundry today than it was 10 years ago. For anyone thinking of starting something - do it today. For so many reasons, it was the right timing.
3. It’s ALWAYS a team effort. Oftentimes people congratulate me on building The Foundry, but it has always been and always will be a team effort. Our eclectic mix of makers, business owners, instructors, students, volunteers - people from ALL walks of life is what builds this community everyday. We show up for each other, celebrate our accomplishments and support each other when hard things happen. There are SO many people to thank, but suffice to say - if you’ve ever been a part of something here (helped get it started, joined our massive volunteer days, served as a board member, helped a community member with a project, taught a class, and countless other things) - know that you’re a big reason why The Foundry continues to be an amazing resource and inviting place for us all.
4. Enjoy the ride. It certainly has been the longest roller coaster I’ve ever experienced. In looking back through the hard stuff, there is so much joy that many of you have brought to the space. From our days of foam parties, large puppet performances, plays and concerts to the countless community meetings, classes and programs - I wake up most mornings and remind myself how far we’ve come and what more we plan to do! Lately, it’s exciting to see us grow and invite new staff and new perspectives. I am honored to have been here throughout everything.
5. The Foundry is here to stay. I’m feeling optimistic about our sustainability and our future. In the first couple years, we had no paid staff, limited heat in the building, struggled to pay the bills, and a lot of people I’m sure wondered what the heck we were doing. Now, I think people are bought into the vision, and we’re absolutely stronger together. These days we’re hiring a lot of new staff, bolstering programming, and by the end of the year, we’re hoping to launch a large plan for expansion (more to come soon!). Excited to see what another 10 years will bring.
6. Try, try again. Everyone at The Foundry tries everyday to make people feel welcome, to get folks connected to what’s happening, to create and to learn from mistakes. We’re certainly not perfect, but we always try to improve, to get feedback on what we can do better, and to try again. It’s at the core of what makes us successful - a willingness to try, to fail and to try again - in hopes of building a resilient organization, capable of connecting folks to the resources and “can do” culture that they’re looking for.
On this 10 year milestone, I’m reflecting on how The Foundry has been such a large part of my own life. It’s been like a family member - it has witnessed many of my own milestones, including getting married and having two beautiful daughters. I’ve felt the doubt, the stress, the worry - sometimes a joy and sometimes a thorn in my side - but decades from now, I’ll look back at this time in my life and feel completely blessed to be part of this organization.
Cheers to another 10 years of building this vibrant, welcoming space together!
Megan McNally, Executive Director and Co-Founder of The Foundry
Together at The Foundry, we build a place of possibility.
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