In its roughly three year of existence, HackNCraftNJ has been steadfast in support of our mission:
HackNCraftNJ is a community passionate about DIY electronics, 3D printing, robotics, drones, wearables, crafts and emerging technologies. As a nonprofit organization, we actively support local STEM education, activities and events, and provide resources at our Makerspace located in Montclair, NJ.
Our community has demonstrated this with a varied and constant selection of classes, open lab work times, community events, and community action in support of education in Montclair.
HackNCraftNJ has presented over twenty technology and craft courses in our Makerspace in the United Way building and at the Montclair Public Library. Our courses include topics such as; soldering, microcontrollers, Raspberry Pi, vinyl cutter design and usage, 3D printing and design, quad copter and drones, PVC construction, and basic electronics. Our most exciting current class is a weekly coding class that follows the Harvard University Introduction to Computer Programming (CS50).
Open Labs and Meetups
Every Saturday morning the HackNCraftNJ Lab is opened to the public for those who are interested in sharing their current projects or learning what we have to offer. We’ve seen some amazing projects from electronically enhanced accordions to homebrewed 3D scanners.
HackNCraftNJ also schedules many other Meetups which are publicized and coordinated through that Meetup application online. Our Meetup community has over 530 members and we have held over 110 Meetups! A sampling of our upcoming meetups include a weekly drone and robot group and an afternoon where we build a 3D printer.
HackNCraftNJ members have been active in the Montclair and surrounding community promoting our mission and sharing the wonders of technology and making with the curious of all ages. You may have seen HackNCraftNJ at any of the following in the last three years; Glen Ridge First STEM Festival, The Greater Newark Museum Mini Makerfaire, Montclair Community Pre-K, NJ Makers Day, Mt Hebron Innovation Fair, Watchung School Science Fair, Trinity Academy, and Edison Day in West Orange, NJ.
Established in the Fall of 2016 as a division of HackNCraftNJ, Laptop Upcycle has grown quickly as a local charity dedicated to eliminating the technological barriers as an impediment to education in our local public schools. Laptop Upcycle has given over 70 students free laptops and have also provided free wifi routers to many low income families in Montclair.
Our local partner, Accessible Tutors, is a student run organization created by the son of our founder Peter Kaplan (Owen) and has established itself as a high quality pay-what-you-can tutoring option for Montclair students and their families.
Infrastructure and Back Office
HackNCraftNJ is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and is current with its federal and NJ state reporting. We rent a lab/shop space in the lower level of the United Way building in Montclair NJ. A small Board of the founding members set policy and direction with regularly scheduled meetings. Board members and nonprofit donations fund our low budget operations. Laptop Upcycle just received a grant from the Montclair Foundation in support of its mission in Montclair. HackNCraftNJ maintains an active social media and web presence. In addition to the mentioned Meetup community we support a mailing list of another 400 interested parties.
The Future – Our Needs
HackNCraftNJ can best continue to support its mission by strategic and well managed growth. To achieve this goal, the most important and component is human capital – you. Our accomplishments to date have helped us to create an excellent core Maker organization, community, and workspace, but we need the time and financial support of like-minded local individuals to help us build a larger, more diverse, and more active local Makerspace in Montclair. If you are passionate about our mission and can assist us, please join us.
Specifically, here is how YOU can help.
1. Join HackNCraftNJ as a Board Member
Board members are needed to fill three key roles for HackNCraftNJ.
- Map out our strategic vision and develop the map for how we achieve it.
- Provide financial support for the growth and implementation of the HackNCraftNJ vision.
- Help by leveraging your network/contacts to help build the Board and HackNCraftNJ
As you can see from our accomplishments, there are many operational areas of HackNCraftNJ. Do you have the vision and expertise to help us leverage these to create a unique Makerspace in Montclair that delivers the best content and opportunities to our community? We need to hear from you. Can you help us to create the “special sauce” that builds momentum and growth for the long term? Call us. Are you looking to fund a nonprofit project and community that delivers real world experience and education tools to all ages in Montclair? We need to talk.
2. Be an Active Technology Leader with HackNCraftNJ
Our most successful projects have resulted from volunteers that are passionate about one topic or initiative. When these Active Technology Leaders (subject matter experts) commit the time and energy in a specific area, we see success. Consider the following examples:
- Laptop Upcycle was created when three of us shared a vision of delivering technology to low income students in Montclair. We acted on that vision and leveraged the resources of HackNCraftNJ to make it happen. We made a difference.
- A HackNCraftNJ member expressed an interest in hosting a coding meetup group to learn programming with a group. We helped him set up the CS50 weekly meetup that has a weekly group of coders sharing and learning.
- An expert in the use a vinyl cutting tool wanted to teach others. We rolled out a class on it. It has now run twice and sold out each time.
Consider a short list of the topics we have had discussion on with others but have not yet acted on.
- The Montclair High School Robotics Club could use additional lab and technology support. The technology lead has discussed a possible partnership with HackNCraftNJ.
- Given appropriate physical space, HackNCraftNJ would be an excellent incubator for technology and craft businesses in Montclair. The pending renovation of the United Way building (our home) could provide exciting opportunities for local businesses and nonprofits.
- 3D design and fabrication technologies could support a stand-alone group within HackNCraftNJ.
3. Join HackNcraftNJ as a paying member.
HackNCraftNJ has two types of membership, and we encourage you to join us at the level you are comfortable with.
- Friends of HackNCraftNJ support our Montclair Makerspace by a yearly tax-deductible donation of $50.
- Working Members of HackNCraftNJ join the Makerspace with the intent of working in the lab on projects and using our facility to its fullest. Various membership periods are available for working members ($30 per month, $75 for three months, or $300 for a year).
HackNCraftNJ has a demonstrated a commitment to our mission with a focused set of successes in complementary areas in and around Montclair. The Makerspace is poised for its next stage of growth and engagement. To achieve this success and to deliver education and fun to a broader segment of our town, we need your help. Please email us to start the conversation.