Keep Makerspace Tool Raiser Top of Mind while Spring Cleaning

A much appreciated donation from Scott Travis including an air filter, jointer and grinder. Keep GALA in mind while spring cleaning!

With spring comes spring cleaning and GALA is asking residents to keep the makerspace in mind, with an eye out for items that could be contributed to their Tool Raiser. Take a good look in the deep recesses of the tool shed, garage or basement to find stuff you no longer use or need or would just like to repurpose. If it’s in workable condition, GALA may be able to take it off your hands and put it to good use at the future Makerspace. Not only is removing clutter known to relieve stress but now you can also enjoy the feeling of giving to a worthy cause.

As you may have heard, GALA is creating a makerspace in downtown Wolfeboro. Makerspaces are popping up all over the country – the world, actually.  Think of them like community centers that operate much like a gym. Instead of exercise equipment, there are tools, and instead of trying to get in shape, people are there to learn a new skill, develop or scale up a business idea, gain credentialing for employment mobility or career transition, or to simply tinker, fix, or repair everyday household items.  Most recently, we are witnessing how makerspaces are also proving to be valuable community assets in emergency preparedness and response, something explained in further detail toward the end of this article. 

GALA’s makerspace home is 23 Bay Street, Wolfeboro and while much of the work just now is focused on the required building engineering, architectural and construction scope as well as fundraising, the actual renovation work is planned to commence this fall with a Phase 1 renovations completion date of late 2021. 

While the planning wraps up and construction is underway, GALA is looking for working-order tools and equipment for each of the future workspaces: woodshop, metal and welding shop, media and FabLab, and fiber art, fine arts, and jewelry studios. G.A.L.A. is working to acquire these tools ahead of time so it can hit the ground running with programs as soon as the last nail is pounded and contractors leave the site. 

Some of the items needed in the makerspace are quite specialized and big such as an industrial “serger” sewing machine, metal and wood band saws, lathes, milling machines and table saws. Others are smaller and for more general purposes such as sanders, screwdrivers, wrenches, nails, pliers and hammers.  There is also a need for consumables like sandpaper, screws, drill bits, saw blades, etc. You can find a regularly updated Wish List for the makerspace online at galacommunity.org/get-involved/wishlist. There you will also find an in-kind donation acceptance policy.  

At this point in time, as we are being asked to practice physical distancing, items cannot be delivered to the GALA makerspace. Participants are encouraged to keep them aside for now and either call the GALA office at 603-569-1500 or email (contact@galacommunity.org) to let someone at GALA know what you plan on donating. Someone will get back in touch with you regarding collection/delivery when it is clear how to do so in a safe manner.  After accumulating tools this spring and maybe into summer, GALA volunteers will organize, refurbish, and repair tools. Items that are deemed duplicates or not of use will be included in a sidewalk sale in the fall to raise equally critical money for the makerspace opening.  Many generous residents have already contributed to this Tool Raiser effort, equipping GALA with valuable tools and equipment to get started. 

It has been inspiring to watch how makerspaces across the world have responded to the coronavirus. A quote from a recent Makezine blog shares that “Thousands of (Makerspace) inventors and product designers have been co-developing makeshift protective gear, respirators, ventilators, and other crucial equipment across the USA and worldwide. Makers in countries like Israel, Chile, Serbia, and the Czech Republic are leaning in to create solutions, many of which will be ready or near-ready by the end of this week. In fact, in some places, such affordable products are already being manufactured and used to protect medical teams and save lives.”  As if makerspace weren’t relevant enough in addressing workforce challenges and carving out pathways for gainful employment and fulfilling careers, they are now demonstrating how valuable they are for emergency preparedness and community resilience.  This is just one more reason to invest now in your local community makerspace, for the sooner GALA can reach its fundraising goals, the sooner your makerspace will be up and running and put to use in times of need.   

Contact Josh or Carol at 603-569-1500 or email contact@galacommunity to learn more and stay engaged.  And if you use social media, follow GALA on Facebook and Instragram @galacommunity for the latest updates and opportunities.

Invest your Business Tax Dollars in Local Economic Development

Local businesses who have already invested their tax dollars into building the community makerspace include Green Mountain Communications, MeredithVillage Savings Bank, Keller Williams Coastal Realty, Wolfeboro Family Dental, PSI Moulded Plastics, Bradley’s Hardware, Carroll County Landscape, Mill Street Meat Market, Made on Earth, and Healing Frontiers.

Have you ever wondered as you do your tax return, wouldn’t it be nice if I could decide where I want my taxes directed, or at least a portion of them? Well as it turns out, if you’re a business and paying New Hampshire business profits, business enterprise or insurance premium taxes, you can.

The NH Community Development Finance Authority oversees a program that allows businesses to direct their taxes to rigorously vetted nonprofit development organizations for innovative projects that show a high degree of community support, build partnerships and leverage other funds. It’s called the NHCDFA Tax Credit Program.

Several Carroll County businesses have already directed their 2019 taxes through this program to a very innovative and collaborative project emerging in Wolfeboro – the revitalization of the building soon to become the future home of the G.A.L.A. Community Makerspace & Vocation Hub. These investors understand that a driving goal of the G.A.L.A. Makerspace is to help close the workforce skills-gap, allowing for business growth, job creation and regional economic development.

These far-sighted and community-minded investors collectively contributed over $92,000 (a fiscal benchmark set by the NHCDFA)  towards capacity-building planning and projects for the G.A.L.A. Makerspace. With matching funds from other grants, this paid for milestones such as community visioning, a feasibility study, strategic plan, architectural design, and required environmental studies. These companies are Green Mountain Communications, MeredithVillage Savings Bank, Keller Williams Coastal Realty, Wolfeboro Family Dental, PSI Moulded Plastics, Bradley’s Hardware, Carroll County Landscape, Mill Street Meat Market, Made on Earth, and Healing Frontiers.

The G.A.L.A. Makerspace is now at the stage where construction documents are being drawn up for public bidding with a view to starting the building renovation in the Fall of 2020 and completion of phase one in 2021. In order to achieve this goal,  G.A.L.A. needs to sell its allocation of $213,000 of business tax credits for the 2020 state fiscal year. Businesses can make a pledge right away and it is worth noting that a business has up to five years to use the credits they have purchased against their business enterprise tax and/or business profits tax liability. 

G.A.L.A. Executive Director, Josh Arnold says, “Selling these $213,000 in tax credits this year is critical to us being able to break ground with the building renovation this fall and keep on target for the 2021 grand opening. The sooner we open, the sooner we can support businesses by providing a space in which to run programs that address the shortfall in job skills, and the stronger our community and state will be. We have a team here at G.A.L.A. who is reaching out to meet personally with businesses in the next few months and we would love to hear directly from interested businesses too.”

Unlike a typical donation where a business gives direct cash to a non-profit organization, the tax credits offer a substantially bigger bang for the buck. Taxes a business would normally pay are redirected from the state general fund to G.A.L.A. The value of the tax credits is maintained in the state economy and, according to economic analysis, magnified by a factor of almost 2:1. The Tax Credit program helps a participating company significantly increase its community impact by leveraging tax dollars. For example, a business can make a $1,000 impact on the local community for a net cost of $170.  Learn more about the tax implications of this unique public/private partnership program here at the CDFA website https://nhcdfa.org/, including an interactive tax calculator. 

Most CPAs who handle business tax returns are familiar with the tax credit program and report that the CDFA has made the process extremely user-friendly. Alternatively, the G.A.L.A. staff can answer any questions a business may have about this program and provide guidance on how to easily go about it, simply by contacting Josh Arnold at 603-569-1500 or josh@galacommunity.org.

The G.A.L.A.  Makerspace and Vocation Hub will be a place where people are given access to tools and resources to create and advance their personal and group goals. It will have a woodshop, fiber arts studio, metal shop, commercial kitchen, automotive bay, craft space, fabrication and rapid prototyping, and more. People can work independently or collaboratively. The makerspace will support career goals, business incubation, workforce training, and learning and engagement opportunities for all ages. 

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