This #GivingTuesday Celebrate Nonprofit Impact with the Artisan’s Asylum

DATE:  May 5, 2020     CATEGORIES:  Somerville Media Center Partnership

Its #givingtuesday – a day where we pull together globally to celebrate and support the collective impact of the “third sector” – the constellation of nonprofits and community-based organizations that fill essential gaps in human well-being, between the government and the market.

The need for these organizations could not have been made more clear than during the current COVID-19 pandemic: years of manufacturing outsourcing, healthcare privatization, and loosening federal standards have created a perfect storm – conditions that led to acute shortages of protective equipment (PPE) for health workers across the country. This shortage endangers lives.

Maker spaces, arts organizations, and loose networks of home-based makers among others have all come together to identify these gaps, develop candidate solutions, and do what we do best: start making.

As Executive Director at the Artisan’s Asylum for the last year and a half, I can tell you that I’ve never been more proud of a team than the group of members that has come together to produce PPE, targeting our local and regional gap in supplies. Working collaboratively with health service administrators, health workers themselves, the maker community and private companies this team has rallied!

To date we’ve produced over 10,000 units of PPE, including face shields, hospital gowns and face masks. We’re on track to produce thousands more. We’ve also open sourced the tool designs and patterns necessary to encourage production at other maker spaces. And we’re honored to have served a dozen organizations as diverse as the Boston Medical Center and Rosie’s Place, the Cambridge Health Alliance and Victory Programs among others.

Thank you for making this work possible: each and every membership dollar and volunteer hour invested in the Asylum over the last ten years is generating a social dividend today.

Coming out of this pandemic is going to be a long and slow process of adaptation for us. We’re both excited and a bit fearful of the uncertainty and the change required. For the next year at least, Artisan’s Asylum will need to be a leaner and more nimble organization – for example, we’ll need to learn how to teach in the context of social distancing and we’ll have to look at new ways to organize our physical space to accommodate shop work.

All of this will require the most valuable resource of all: time. Time to learn and time to fail. Time to experiment and time to play as we adapt together, as we strengthen this remarkable organization together.

Please join me this #givingtuesday – encourage 5 or 10 people in your network to make a gift of any amount to the Asylum and reach our goal of $5,000 for the day. I recognize that over the last year you’ve already made a gift to the Asylum in one way or another. Thank you. If you have the capacity in these challenging times to give again, that is certainly welcome. Most important, right now, I’m asking you to help extend our network by sharing our work and encouraging others to make a gift to support our efforts online at:

You can also help us reach our goal by:

  • Sharing our COVID page: https://artisansasylum.com/covid 
  • Following us and sharing our story on Instagram: http://instagram.com/artisansasylum
  • Promoting our story on Facebook: http://facebook.com/artisanasylum
  • Volunteering with us at: https://forms.gle/CqgMQX9Uj2ayqyNQ7 

With deep gratitude and a sense of optimism for our future – and big props to our PPE leads, support team, and the hundreds of volunteers who make our efforts possible!