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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, Inc. (FCDI)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Youth Development

Mission: The Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs, active learning and engaging projects for people of all ages.

Results: *Facilitated donations of over $100,000 to area program partners and projects serving youth and STEAM education initiatives *Opened the 7500 sq. ft. Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab at University Mall - a public creative space *Member of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute and hosted 2nd ARM Institute Regional Workshop *Served over 5000 people in the Tampa Bay area through free hands on learning events and programs.

Target demographics: FCDI works to support K-20+ capacity building and development of academic and career pathways in science, engineering and manufacturing.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Facilitated the investment of over $100,000 into youth STEAM education programs and partnerships, launched development of the Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab and provided hands on learning and inspiration for more than 5000 people across the Tampa Bay area via free admission to our ROBOTICON Tampa Bay.

Geographic areas served: FCDI is engaged throughout Florida with a strategic focus on the University Community Area.

Programs: ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, an annual STEAM Education Showcase & FIRST Robotics Competition off-season event and Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab Fiscal sponsorship of youth STEAM teams, like FIRST Supporting exciting events like Gulf Coast MakerCon, Tampa Bay’s annual maker festival

Community Stories

39 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a faculty member in the Judy Genshaft Honors College at the University of South Florida, I was seeking near-by community partners who have a positive and innovative approach to meeting a local need. When I was introduced to AMRoC Fab Lab at the University Mall and met their amazing team, I knew I had found an excellent partner. Terri and her staff welcomed my summer pre-college students into the lab to explain both their goals and their challenges, demonstrating the truly collaborative approach they have to engaging with the community. A few months later, I invited Terri to table at a service fair, where our honors students were able to learn more about the opportunity to apply their skills in a meaningful way in the university community. Their presence is mutually beneficial because AMRoC acts as a living example of how innovation and compassion can work hand in hand to bring positive change to a community. I'm grateful to have found them.

Aundrea D.

Client Served

Rating: 5

FCDI I WANT TO THANK YOU! This has been the greatest addition to my hectic schedule as a full time worker and single mom of two teen girls, one of which is a member of TDT @ AMRoC here in the Tampa Bay Area! The staff is my village and they bring my youngest so much joy just to be included and sharing ideas. They also keep my eldest child involved with her younger sister by allowing her to come and use her photography skills at events and meets! I hope you guys continue to grow. Our community needs you and WE are so happy to have you! Keep up the great work! And a special shout out to Mrs. Terri Willingham and her son Chris Willingham, best Coaches and mentors EVER! Imagine big then bring it to life!!!!! Go Team Duct Tape!!!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FCDI has helped our FIRST team for years. They have provided mentorship, motivation, and monetary support. Without their support our team would not have been possible.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, Inc., (FCDI) is an asset to public schools and non-profit community organizations throughout Hillsborough and surrounding counties on Florida's west coast. FCDI's support of the Tampa Bay Robotics Foundation, FIRST FTC R.O.B.O.T. League teams, and sponsorship of ROBOTICON each year in Tampa has been a huge factor in the increasing number of FIRST FLL Jr., FLL, FTC, and FRC robotics in the state of Florida. FCDI consistently provides space for robotics and other STEM programs, for students and teams with limited resources to commune and practice together. This organization has also provided volunteers after weather emergencies in the state, including assisting with collection of donations for victims of hurricanes Irma and Michael. Just a great group of people!

Eric S.10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FCDI is doing amazing stuff helping promote hands on learning to our youth! I'm very pleased and honored to help them fulfill their mission.

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a faculty member at USF and a parent, I have been thoroughly impressed by the level of professionalism and the teaching/mentoring available at FCDI for my 8 year old son. Through small student-centered lessons (Marisa is great!), our son has been able to pursue his interest in technology and LEGOs in a way that captures his interest and keeps him wanting to go back each week. As an African American family, we are particularly pleased with the level of diversity of his team and the FCDI's commitment to fostering and embracing racial and ethnicity diversity, more broadly. This is a forward-thinking and truly community-oriented organization and I've been quite pleased with our experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The facility is amazingThe staff at AMRoC are fabulous. They are always so accommodating courteous and professional. Their passion to help and develop every age group and league from Lego League to Vex to FTC to FRC is unmatched. They genuinely care about everyone who walks through their doors. Thank you Terri,Steve and staff for supporting not only FIRST but the community.

ConstantineElias

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was introduced to FCDI and AMRoC by my wife who coaches a First Lego League team. We were at Roboticon in Tampa and I met the founders of the organization and after seeing the absolute joy in the eyes and hearts of the participants, I casually volunteered for the event. After giving a dozen or so tours of the event (which I probably wasn't qualified to do) I realized how much I wanted to know more about the magic this organization weaves for young people. So after being invited to visit AMRoC and seeing the impact that they were having in a location that caters to underserved youth, I knew that this was something very special.

FCDI is laser focused on helping areas (example: Suitcase City which within a one mile area has an average household income of $31,000) that really need it. The volunteers that I met were wonderful people who only wanted to dedicate their lives to helping young (potentially at-risk) people to develop real world STEM skills.

This is SO important. When a young person is staring at a world without options, the outlook is bleak at best. FCDI is dedicated to brightening that vision, and offering opportunities to those who might not otherwise have them.

The heart that these people have is incredible. And the joy of learning is something that they embrace as a daily objective. I am proud to be involved.

As an innovation lab engineer, I knew that this was a shared passion, and I know that only good things will come from this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Never seen such a dedicated group of people like the team at AMRoC Tampa Bay! From youth STEM groups to Roboticon, these folks give their 110-percent!
So very fortunate to have them in our community!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Two of the FIRST robotics teams I coach utilize FCDI's AMRoC Fab Lab. Because of AMRoC, my FIRST LEGO League team has a central location to practice, as well as access to experts and the opportunity to see the robotics challenges they will take on when they get older. My FIRST Tech Challenge has been trained to use 3D printers, power tools and equipment to make parts for their robot, which has taken their capabilities to the next level. Those teams and my FIRST LEGO League Jr. team all love participating in Roboticon, which is hosted by FCDI in the arena at the University of South Florida. Being in that venue with their team name in lights provides a lot of inspiration and motivation to the teams. The teams and I are very grateful for all that FCDI does for us and the community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is an incredible organization. They organize an event called Roboticon that is held at USF. They've done it for a few years now and every year it benefits probably over a thousand kids who attend and are inspired to learn about science and math and all kinds of techy things that make robots work. The kids are inspired to learn the things that will help them get high paying jobs or do well in college. FCDI also has a place at the University Mall called the AMRoC Fab Lab where they can teach students about technology and let them design and build and test their robots. Great program!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

For the past several years, we've been proud to partner with FCDI in Roboticon, one of the most popular K-12 robotics events in Florida. We've been in awe of what FCDI has accomplished in building a STEM culture in our community, supporting and celebrating young people who are destined to become the tech innovators and leaders of the future. What is most impressive about this organization is how much value they produce through creating networks in the community, bringing volunteers together, and connecting larger institutions to be part of their vision. They have successfully built a coalition to move our community forward and support kids with STEM talents in a way that creates lasting impact.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 13-year-old son has always had a proclivity for technology, computers, machines, and inventing. I've struggled for years trying to find an environment in which he can thrive and make meaningful social connections. The first time we entered the AMRoC space, I felt like we finally found the right place. Everyone there has been so welcoming and has made us feel part of the team from the very beginning. My son is now part of a robotics team that will be working out of this space. For the first time, I have hope that he has found his tribe. I am so grateful!

As excited as I am for my son, I have also been blown away by all the other ways that FCDI and AMRoC are serving our community. They have brought new life to a shopping mall that was in decline. They are actively reaching out to the surrounding community, that is underserved in many ways. I have high hopes for the many ways this organization is bringing people together, building communities, and fostering creativity and innovation. I'm honored to be a part of this venture.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Excellent organization with an excellent team of mission driven leaders.

GNP_Fan

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Still going strong. AMRoC is a big hit with the community.

Previous Stories
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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FCDI has done it again. With the opening of their Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics Center Fab Lab at the University Mall, they are serving a broad spectrum of our community, from the university crowd to the under served population in the area. Skills training, certification opportunities, small run manufacturing, and a host of other cool services can help our community become more productive and purpose oriented.

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1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Walked in to FCDI's AMRoC Fab Lab facility in the University Square Mall (yep, in a Mall. Crazy, right!) and was blown away by the diversity and programming going on. Robotics, building and testing by high school students, people teaching computer programming, even some 3D printing going on. Wow!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

FCDI is a great advocate for active learning and the spirit of innovation in the Tampa Bay Area. They host a variety of programs throughout the year including Roboticon. In addition they provide mentorship for robotics teams and promote a collaborative spirit among teams. FCDI, led by a board passionate in its mission, may have a small budget but has definitely made a big impact in the Tampa Bay Area.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

FCDI has given High School robotics teams from across the Southeast, and mostly Florida, an opportunity to compete one last time using the robot we built for last season's game. FRC, FIRST Robotics Competition, and FTC, FIRST Tech Challenge, gives us an incredible incentive and understanding of how STEM subjects relate to the real world. And FCDI lets us experience the thrill of the game early in the school year, through an event called Roboticon, as we await the reveal of the next season't FRC game in January. We also get to see the university environment since they hold Roboticon at the University of South Florida in the Sun Dome. Thank you FCDI.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our FIRST Tech Challenge team wouldn't be possible with FCDI. They provide fiscal sponsorship support, so donors in the community can give to our team through them. And they also mentor our team, now in its 11th season, and help connect us with resources and good educational experiences, so that our middle and high school student members can learn as much as possible about academic and career opportunities.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FCDI does great work in the community. Events like ROBOTICON & Gulf Coast MakerCon, both free to the public, do a terrific job of providing engaging community showcases integrating science and the arts, and inspiring people of all ages to learn and try new things. FCDI is collaborative and helpful, and great at connecting people with resources . I enjoy volunteering at FCDI events and am happy to express my support of this great organization.

2 tttmabo

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of working with FCDI many times. My company, PLuGHiTz Live, has covered events produced by or supported by, this great organization, such as Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con and ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con provides an amazing opportunity for local artisans and other makers to interact with their local community. It also gives a way for others to gain inspiration for one another, either for their own arts or even to discover new fields they might be interested in.

ROBOTICON Tampa Bay is another favorite of my team, because it is the best place to see kids being passionate about education, science and technology. Over the years, I've been able to speak to students, coaches, sponsors and members of the public about their experiences at RTB, and everyone leaves the event inspired for themselves and the next generation of leaders.

I am immensely honored to have the opportunity to participate in programs with FCDI.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love FCDI!! Terri Willingham introduced me to two FIRST Robotics teams in Pasco County. I was looking for a student to work with to teach manufacturing and machining as a pilot for the apprenticeship program over a year and a half ago, that was under development at the time.

Words cannot describe the impact these students have had on me, both Ryder and Vishal are the epitome of what the next generation should strive to be. What they learned while on the FIRST teams are things that cannot be taught at school. These students still blow my mind on a daily basis and gives me hope for the next generation.

Because of the relationship FCDI has with these students, I was able to easily identify the depth of talent inside each group and know, without a doubt, the time invested in these kids would never be in vein.

We love FCDI and hope more people can experience the potential of the next generation.

It has been an extreme honor to witness this with my own eyes! These kids truly are our future!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

We first found out about the First Robotics program when my son was in the eighth grade. We were looking for different activities for him to see what he might be interested in. The robotics was a big hit for sure. Many of the people we first connected with for this program are the founders and creators of FCDI. Their vision and commitment to reaching and teaching young people to think outside of their normal school work activities helped my son to enjoy all of the processes. He learned to machine and build robots, program them for intricate tasks, strategize game elements and most importantly work as a valuable team member. I can't say enough about the impact this organization has had on our family and the friends that have evolved from being associated with them. If you are looking for a great experience for you and your family, I highly recommend contacting FCDI to learn more about what they do and how you can be a part of something special. Kirk Malone

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am truly inspired by the work performed by FCDI, it's volunteers and board members in the production of inspiring community educational events like Roboticon which they do over at the USF Sun Dome, and like the community creativity event they assist with called Gulf Coast MakerCon. FCDI has also helped our school's FRC robotics team obtain the resources needed to be successful in competition. They have helped our student team members learn computer coding and CAD design, all beneficial experiences that will be carried forth with them to the next phase of their academic or working lives after they graduate.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Foundation for Community Driven Innovation’s dedication to supporting academic achievement, economic development, and the spirit of innovation is greatly needed in the Tampa Bay.

FCDI has several outstanding programs and events including: STEAM TEAM - fiscal sponsorship for K-12 STEAM education teams that don’t have access to a nonprofit or school support, AMRoC - Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center, Gulf Coast Make & Comic Con, and ROBOTICON Tampa Bay.

1 Team 79 Krunch

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FCDI, a community based resource, truly supports spreading awareness of STEM and support local FIRST Robotics teams. Through the amazing event, ROBOTICON, FRC teams are able to relive the previous season's game. This extremely well organized event allows students to experience the excitement of a robotics competition on a full-sized playing field. In addition to ROBOTICON, FCDI partners with local engineers and companies to provide FRC teams with technical and financial support.

Team 79 Krunch appreciates FCDI!

1 TerriWillingham

Board Member

Rating: 5

With a big mission and on a small budget, FCDI with its all volunteer board and strong collaborative spirit, continues to maximize community impact in the Tampa Bay area, helping direct the investment of over $100,000 in the last six months into area youth and workforce development programs and projects. In addition to growing the ROBOTICON Tampa Bay event, which draws 3000 people annually to this high energy STEAM education showcase at the University of South Florida Sun Dome Arena, FCDI is developing a precedent setting facility called the Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics Center to serve K-20+ with academic and career pipeline opportunities. We look forward to continue doing great work with our amazing partners, and improving academic and economic outcomes for youth throughout Tampa Bay and Florida!

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of the most exciting and effective programs FCDI helps organize is ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, a youth STEAM education showcase, where students on FIRST K-12 robotics teams can come together to practice, build, and learn about college and career opportunities from partner organizations like the University of South Florida, and SolidProfessor. FCDI also provides fiscal support for area FIRST teams, and helps produce Gulf Coast Maker & Comic Con, all programs and experiences that help engage and empower people to be makers of their own futures. With more than 80% of funds going into programs, FCDI is a great community resource with proven impact. I'm happy to give the nonprofit my highest endorsement.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FCDI has gone to great lengths to make the most exciting student robotics event in the Tampa Bay Area (see ROBOTICON.net) a remarkable success. They've worked hard to make sure all teams wanting to compete get to do so, and that the logistics and details associated with the event are being handled. They work closely with their partners and event volunteers to help bring the best possible results to the University of South Florida, the FIRST Robotics programs, and the students they serve.
Additionally, FCDI has worked behind the scene to help student teams that were applying for grants receive the contributions they were seeking by partricipating as their fiscal sponsor. FCDI works on a shoe-string internal budget while putting forth monumental efforts by their volunteers and board members to provide these benefits their community

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

FCDI through the Doolittle Institute graciously supported Torque Team FRC 5283. This is the F.I.R.S.T. FRC robotics team at King High in Tampa Florida. Not only did Torque receive monetary support, a group of engineers from FCDI came out to the school and volunteered with my students. They offered insightful advice and act as role models for the students. The team appreciated their time and ideas. Hopefully we can get more mentors (hint, hint) as we kick off the new school year and a brand new challenge in January.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with FCDI has been a joy. FCDI has helped our area robotics teams as well as participated in the production of Gulf Coast MakerCon which celebrates and encourages creativity in our youth and society as a whole!

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

Our robotics program (one FRC and two FTC teams) budget is funded through student dues (about 50%), small grants (about 15-20%), and the balance through the school (an arrangement made since students are not, by policy, allowed to fundraise or seek sponsorships from companies in the community. We try never to turn any student away from the club simply because of dues, which have been $200 for the year. This grant was specifically allocated to cover a well deserving student's dues, enabling the student to join, learn from great mentors and peers, participate in the robot's design, build and competition events.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

At the beginning of the 2015/16 FIRST Robotics Competition season, the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation offered the teams of the surrounding area an incredible opportunity. Visit the Doolittle Institute and Softwerx public/private partnership with the United States Army and have your teams robot inspected by its engineers. Needless to say our team, 5276 the Edgar Alan Ohms jumped at the chance. The Engineers were supposed to only be able to spend 30 minutes evaluating our robot. Instead they spent 2 hours with our students. It was one of the most rewarding moments for myself as a coach, and without the hard work of the Foundation it wouldn't have come to pass. This organization is striving to promote STEAM activities on a community by community basis, and it is their hard work that makes moments like the one I described above possible.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

FCDI is a wonderful community resource for developing technology learning initiatives in the public sector. My organization worked with them to create the first maker space in our area and the grow our robotics outreach program in several high schools.

1 George53

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FCDI is supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs, active learning and exciting, innovative projects. Through its support of FIRST based STEM programs for our area students, and celebrations of the community’s creativity through exciting festivals of the inventive spirit, FCDI continues to be a valuable part of our Tampa Bay nonprofit business community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

FCDI is the fiscal sponsor for Team Duct Tape. They receive and administer charitable contributions on behalf of our team, from companies, organizations, grants and other funding sources requiring nonprofit association. FCDI offers a much needed service for robotics teams that are not associated with a school system or other 501c3. Thank you FCDI!