DM+D Partners
August 25, 2015

To the DM+D community.

Over the course of nearly three years, The Department of Making + Doing (DM+D) and its partners have worked together to build a community of engaged Philadelphians that has helped thousands of youth, families, artists and educators build confidence and competence with design thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and using traditional as well as high-tech tools. However, as the total cost of operating DM+D continues to increase and the current lease on the space at 3711 Market Street set to end on November 30th, 2015, the DM+D Partners—University City Science Center (UCSC), NextFab, Public Workshop, and The Hacktory—find ourselves at a crossroads. While our efforts have been incredibly productive and fruitful, we believe that it is no longer sustainable to continue at the current location. Therefore, we have decided not to extend the lease beyond November 30th.

“The DM+D community of partners and participants is moving beyond the bounds of one physical space to continue our missions, touch more lives, and engage in making the world a better place. I would like to express my gratitude to the Science Center and Wexford for their financial and operational support of DM+D – without which, the partnership would not have been able to impact positively so many lives.” remarked Evan Malone, NextFab’s President.

DM+D was established in 2012 as a collaboration among the four member organizations, with support from the Knight Foundation, ArtPlace America and the Barra Foundation. The partnership has been successful in growing the capacity of all of the organizations, and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to achieve this success in collaboration with one another. DM+D’s Program Manager, Mike Darfler had this to say: “The DM+D Partnership built a space where all of the partners could explore and grow their organizations, their impact and their capacity. In that regard it was wildly successful.”

Alex Gilliam of Public Workshop commented, “DM+D has enabled us to build more great things and fabricate them better, while providing the space, tools and community to grow a diverse team of truly empowered Building Heroes who are legitimate change-agents in their own communities.”

Georgia Guthrie of The Hacktory said, “Being part of DM+D has helped our organization grow our capacity exponentially. We’ve been able to launch a variety of new programs with the benefit of the tools and location DM+D provides, including our Kid’s Club after-school and Unknown Territory Artist Residency. We look forward to continuing this work and growing our offerings in a new location in West Philly.”

“We’re proud of the successes we’ve accomplished through the DM+D partnership and as individual organizations,” adds Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “Similar to companies that graduate from an incubator or accelerator, we view DM+D as having served as an ideal launching pad for many exciting things to come, and we will continue to do our part to support the maker movement in Philadelphia.”
Each of the partners is fully committed to building upon the work that they have accomplished and are actively exploring new opportunities and locations at which to continue and expand their efforts. In the meantime we will continue to run programming at DM+D through October, including Drop In + Do, youth and family programming, and skills based adult workshops. Moving forward, over the next few months we will be collecting and capturing as much information, knowledge and insight about the challenges, success and impact of DM+D as possible. Our hope is that by doing so our experiences can be transformed into knowledge which can become an asset to you and the DM+D community, as well as our funders, partners and supporters.

Stay tuned for more updates soon.

Best Regards,

The DM+D Partners

Mike Darfler, DM+D
Georgia Guthrie, The Hacktory
Alex Gilliam, Public Workshop
Evan Malone, NextFab
David Clayton, Science Center – FirstHand


A Summary of DM+D Achievements

Milestones and successes achieved since 2012:

  • The Hacktory is now operating as independent 501(c)3 organization
  • Public Workshop is activating more public spaces than ever, in the city and across the country
  • NextFab successfully launched a second maker-space in South Kensington and continues to successfully incubate early-stage companies
  • The Science Center has grown its Breadboard program into FirstHand, which recently received the US2020 2015 STEM Mentoring Award.


…and a few collective accomplishments of DM+D:

  • 1,500 program hours
  • 600 programs & workshops held
  • 6,000 program participants
  • Drop In + Do, a weekly open project night, has consistently attracted a steady stream of attendees ages 5-85
  • Received press coverage in:Make Magazine,, GRID Magazine,, Flying Kite, Edutopia, Philly, Local ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates, Newsworks/WHYY, Geekadelphia, BillyPenn, Generocity, Play Scapes blog, Campus Philly, Philadelphia Inquirer, Metropolis Magazine, CityPaper, Canadian Broadcasting  Corp.
  • Established a network of more than 40 educational and philanthropic organizations, including: Samuel Huey School, Science Leadership Academy, Julia R. Masterman, the Henry Lea School, William Meredith School, Robeson High School, South Philadelphia School, KiPP West Charter School, City School, Boys Latin Charter School, Morton McMichael School, St. Helena Incarnation, Drexel University, Philadelphia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Arts, Girl Scouts of South-East PA, People’s Emergency Center, North 5th Revitalization Project, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, Philadelphia Beekeepers Alliance, Neighborhood Bike Works, Smith Memorial Playground, Community Design Collaborative, Temple University, ExCITe Center, Schuylkill River Development Corporation, the Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Music Lab, Drexel Dornsife Center, The Philadelphia Science Festival, Philadelphia Water Dept, Fairmount Water Works, Food Trust, PhillyCAM, Urban Technology Project


Continuation of DM+D programs and related activities by DM+D partners:

  • NextFab will be offering workshops, classes, events, and facility access hours tailored specifically to youth and families. NextFab’s North 4th Street location will be hosting Secret Storage on September 20th, with other workshops to be announced.
  • Public Workshop and Tiny WPA will continue to expand their work with partners in communities throughout the region and country, empowering people of all ages to design and build innovative improvements in their communities. This includes expanding The Building Hero Project, our community design leadership program and social enterprise.
  • The Hacktory is excited to continue our activities in a new location in West Philadelphia. Being part of DM+D has helped our organization grow our capacity exponentially. We’ve been able to launch a variety of new programs with the benefit of the tools and location DM+D provides, including our after-school and artist residency programs. We look forward to continuing this work and continuing to grow our offerings in a new location.
  • FirstHand will continue to engage middle school aged youth in STEAM programs and activities, based at its FirstHand Lab location on the Science Center campus, that enable students to design experiments, test hypotheses and work toward final projects to share with the community.  FirstHand programs are supplemented with mentorships from the Science Center’s resident companies, where students learn about and experience real-life STEM entrepreneurship in real-world applications.