Two local groups–GirlStart and Hound Makerspace–have been named finalists in the second annual Find Your Fire Community Grants program. Bernzomatic, a company that makes handheld torches, hosts the program for community-minded maker projects involving the use of a handheld torch.
Hound Makerspace and GirlStart are two of 10 finalists up for public vote at Bernzomatic.com/grants. The three finalists that attract the most votes will be awarded grants of $15,000, $7,500, and $5,000 respectively, and the Bernzomatic tools needed to bring the project to life. The seven remaining finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant and Bernzomatic products. The finalist with the most votes will also be awarded a special visit from TV home rehab expert Nicole Curtis, who will help kick-start the project.
Hound Makerspace hopes to use the grant money to build 8-12 Little Free Libraries to place around East Austin, promoting reading in an area with dozens of elementary schools. The Little Libraries would be designed to represent historical buildings and landmarks in East Austin.
GirlStart hosts weeklong summer programs for girls to increase interest in STEM subjects and careers through real-world experiences. Subject areas include video game design, industrial design/engineering, robotics, physics, chemistry, biology, digital media production and website design. With the grant money, GirlStart hopes to expand camp offerings in Austin and high-need communities in Texas. GirlStart hopes to reach 750+ girls with their programs in 2017.
Voting is open through December 31, 2016. Winners will be announced the week of January 23, 2017.