Introducing the Artisans Impact Fund

DATE:  November 19, 2021     CATEGORIES:  Somerville Media Center Partnership

Artisans Asylum is committed to being Boston’s largest,  most inclusive, affordable and vibrant community workshop. In the year ahead, we will invest in making our community fabrication center a vibrant refuge for creative expression, lifelong learning, and small business support. Artisans’ 52,000 SF studio, workshop, and community space in Allston-Brighton is dedicated to the teaching, practice and culture of making in all its forms.

Artisans Asylum aspires to be an unmatched community resource that strengthens the cultural, educational, and economic vitality of the City of Boston. Artisans Asylum’s Impact Fund provides general operating support to fulfill that aspiration.


Artisans Asylum has committed to serving the region’s artists and makers by providing an affordable hub for creative community. When Artisans Asylum opens in 2022 we, along with hundreds of individual donors and partners, will have invested more than $5.2M into our new home. With this investment and growth come increased annual operating costs – expanded work space, improved facilities and infrastructure, a proportionate increase in utilities consumption, and new opportunities to serve our community.

As our costs have grown, we have wrestled to keep our new rate schedule affordable. We’ve developed a single, all-inclusive membership offer that uses a “pay what you can” pricing model determined by one’s income and estimate of use. We have also worked hard to establish affordable studio rates within a very dynamic real estate market. For anyone for whom these rates remain excessive, Artisan’s has created a scholarship award that can be used to further reduce the cost of access.

To achieve these outcomes the Asylum has transformed our operating budget from one driven by earned income into one that requires significant charitable giving. We have increased our giving expectations from 6 percent of operating costs to 36 percent for FY22. Of the $562,500 budgeted for unearned income, we seek 31 percent (or $175,000) in gifts from individual donors.


As a response to our rising operating costs, this  year Artisans Asylum has launched the Artisans Impact Fund (“A2 Impact Fund.”) This new yearly fund is an important mechanism that enables the Asylum to solicit individual donations  and put them to work where the need is greatest.

Each year Artisans Asylum will ask our members, supporters, and allies to make an unrestricted gift of any amount – a gift that helps to meet our individual giving goal in support of our general operations.

Artisans’ annual operating budget for FY22 is $1,695,253. Of this, 33 percent is unearned income – from sources such as grants, sponsorship, and individual giving. The annual fund, our vehicle for individual giving, is $175,000 – just under 10 percent of the total operating budget in FY22.

Among the key expenditures that make up nearly 90 percent of the annual budget are:

  1. Rent, $786,193 (46 percent of budget)
  2. Salaries, Wages and Taxes, $453,538 (27 percent of budget)
  3. Utilities, Internet and Phone, $155,364 (9 percent of budget)
  4. Shop Operations, $93,856 (6 percent of budget)


Artisans is poised for growth. Over the last three years, the organization has secured a world class facility, exciting new partnerships, and a 12-year lease.  And with this progress comes an opportunity to close the access gap for historically marginalized and underserved communities. While trends in real estate development and pricing drive affordable creative workspace well beyond the City limits, your support makes access and affordability a reality.

The case for developing new and sustained funding mechanisms is acute; community habits of individual giving are essential to Artisans’ financial well-being and our capacity to deliver meaningful community impact.

Over the last decade the Asylum has demonstrated our value to the communities we serve  in many ways including:

  • $50M in local economic development impact through investment, jobs and training
  • $1.5M in wages through more than 10,000 hours of instruction
  • 30,000 pieces of personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic

And we haven’t hit our stride in our new home. We believe that with your charitable investment in the infrastructure of creativity, lifelong learning and entrepreneurship, we’ll be able to increase our community impact five-fold over the next ten years. We can’t wait to get started.

We invite you to be a part of our journey. Complete our transformation into a sustainable engine for creativity, lifelong learning and innovative entrepreneurship. Join us by making a contribution that will move us closer to our fundraising goal of $175,000 this year.