Back in 2014 when Working Class was just a concept, one of the many local groups we received support from was YorIt. As winners of the 2014 Social Venture Challenge, we were able to bring our idea even closer to fruition. In this blog post, YorIt member Dave Wagenknecht tells us YorIt's perspective on the maker movement and how it influenced them to choose Working Class as a winner of their Social Venture Challenge years ago.
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WC: Tell us a little about YorIt and what you do in the community.
DW: YorIt is a group focused on the vitality of York. Our members are the driving force behind supporting innovative initiatives by local socially-minded organizations. In addition to funding Working Class we have funded The Parliament, YorShoppes, CoWork155, Pedicabs of York and most recently, Taste Test.
WC: What is the Social Venture Challenge?
DW: The Social Venture Challenge is the grantmaking arm of YorIt. Half of YorIt’s membership dues go into building an endowment so that our grantmaking will continue for many generations, and the other half goes towards immediate grantmaking of the Social Venture Challenge. Through our SVC committee, we seek out innovative ideas that have the potential to be game-changers in York. These ideas often have a difficult time receiving traditional funding, so our grant helps them get started and sometimes helps them leverage other funding sources.
WC: What made you pick Working Class as the winner of the 2014 Social Venture Challenge?
DW: We felt Working Class was an innovative idea that could really draw people and resources to downtown York. We learned through their application that makerspaces were popping up in larger cities and given York’s rich history in art and manufacturing, we determined this idea had great potential to be a game-changer for York. Providing educational opportunities, as well as a creative outlet for all York Countians, is a win for everyone.
WC: Why do you think York will benefit from a makerspace?
DW: Being a maker, be that as an artist or someone trying to create the “next big thing,” isn’t easy. Makerspaces are a good tool to ease that path. They typically serve two major purposes. The first is defined by their name; they are a place where things can be made. They typically feature uncommon or more expensive tools than many creators could afford on their own. The second and greater purpose is that they provide a place for creators to gather, share experience, and learn from one and other. This should build a stronger and more collaborative community of creators in York.
WC: What’s the best thing about York City?
DW: The best thing about York City is that it allows for groups like YorIt to really make an impact and see our impact on a daily basis. Whenever a Pedicab goes down the street on a First Friday, we can say, “We funded that!” Or if an out of town friend comes to visit and you want to take them somewhere cool, you can go to Taste Test’s Cantina to hang out and say, “We brought this to York!” It’s the ability to see and experience our impact that is definitely the best part of York City.
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Answers generously provided Dave Wagenknecht, YorIt member.
For more information about YorIt, please visit http://www.yorit.org/