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We’re a part of School Factory!

School Factory‘s mission is to create environments and experiences that support the growth of value-creating communities.

The Space Federation is part of School Factory. This program helps connect people who make hackerspaces, makerspaces, co-working spaces and other creative/community environments.

Willow’s experience:

I like starting things from scratch. I like figuring things out on my own, delving in, getting my hands dirty. But starting a space is a pretty epic undertaking. And while I had a great crew to start things off with me, looking at insurance, zoning, and the like is intimidating. How will we get enough members to pay rent? What sorts of events should we hold? I can plan a music night with the best of them, coming up with artsy or coding events hasn’t been something I’ve done, and the prospect of failing with a space and community on my back was terrifying. So, I was ok with asking for some mentorship from people who had done it before. I talked to the people who have spaces in Seattle, like Hackerbot and Metrix, and visited Noisebridge in San Francisco. But I needed a bit more than an occasional conversation over beers with people I didn’t know well.

That’s where James came in. James had started Bucketworks in Milwaukee back in 2002. And not only did he offer to fiscally sponsor us and share knowledge about zoning and insurance, he also became a mentor to me. He understands that the culture of Seattle and Milwaukee are different, so when I (and the board of Jigsaw) are freaked out about something, he offers anecdotes as well as bird’s eye views of the larger problems at hand. He respects that we will come up with our own solutions, and learns from us in the same way we do from him. James makes sure I take care of myself, not just of paperwork and member issues.

The things I worried about with having fiscal sponsorship and mentorship have never even hinted at arising. I want to throw an event? Go for it! Someone wants to give us $200? Hooray! We’re thinking about moving? Rock out! I have to file taxes? We’ll get that for you. It’s seriously the best thing ever. I love resource-based economies over scarcity-based economies because there’s mutual benefit in sharing. We want to help each other (and you) out because it makes everyone better off.

It basically boils down to this: I’m totally comfortable working with engines while they move, to put my hands in jeopardy, but I am terrified of papercuts.