COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Bernzomatic®, the industry leader in handheld torches since 1876, announced today the winners of its second annual Find Your Fire Community Grants program. Winslow Township Middle School in Winslow Township, N.J. was named the grand prize recipient of a $15,000 grant, Bernzomatic products and a visit from TV home rehabber Nicole Curtis to help kick off construction of a new maker space and garden to support the school's STEM and Environmental STEM programs.
The Find Your Fire Community Grants program encouraged makers, inventors, tinkerers, creators and artists from across the country to tell Bernzomatic about a maker project that would benefit their community and involve the use of a handheld torch in some way. Ten finalists were selected and rallied their friends, families and communities to vote online to win the grand prize. In addition to the grand prize winner, two runners-up will receive a $7,500 and $5,000 grant, and the remaining seven finalists will each receive $1,500 grants and Bernzomatic products to help bring their projects to life. In total, Bernzomatic awarded $38,000 in grant funding to deserving individuals and organizations to continue powering the maker movement.
"We were blown away by the submissions for this year's Find Your Fire Community Grants program," said Curtis. "From maker space remodels, to STEM education programs, sculptures, inventions and more, makers are fueling their passions and helping communities in incredible ways. Winslow Township Middle School's plan to build a creative workspace for students will have a huge community impact, and I can't wait to help them dig in during an upcoming visit."
Winslow Township Middle School offers STEM and Environmental STEM classes to 7th and 8th grade students focusing on robotics, circuitry, hydroponic and aquaponic farming, soil health and more. Classes give students the opportunity to develop real-world solutions to problems, use critical thinking and get excited about a future in related fields. The school intends to use the grant to create a dedicated maker space, outdoor garden and greenhouse. Bernzomatic products will be used to build planters, irrigation systems and display cases, as well as to create a garden art installation and to char vegetables grown in the garden. Funding will also help purchase much-needed equipment including a 3D printer, safety gear and tools.
"Through this grants program, we aim to give those who are passionate about creating things that make a difference the opportunity to bring their ideas to life," said Jennifer Fening, Bernzomatic spokesperson. "We were thrilled to see the response to this year's program and are inspired by the engaged, community-minded makers who entered their projects. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists."
The program's runners-up and finalists included:
Bed Blitz; Bloomington, Ill.: A community-driven fabrication project focused on building beds for children in need, after a study revealed that hundreds of students in the area didn't have access to a suitable place to sleep.
Chicago Youth Centers; Chicago: An urban youth organization working to launch a Glass Blaster's Club for youth to explore the intersection of art, science and community service, culminating with the creation of a recycled glass sculpture.
Lansing Makers Network; Lansing, Mich.: A maker space working to expand its Forging Women Series of women-only blacksmithing classes and workshops.
Iron Range Makerspace; Hibbing, Minn.: A maker space working to get high school students into STEM-related fields by offering free classes focused on the power of fire taught by local residents.
Dallas Makerspace Space Shuttle; Dallas: A team of makers working to restore and convert a passenger bus into an interactive Space Shuttle exhibit for STEAM community outreach.
RCBI MakerVault; Huntington, W.Va.: A maker space focused on spurring entrepreneurship and innovation in the community, working to expand their space to enable more collaboration and creation.
Hounds Little Free Libraries; Austin, Texas: A program seeking to build 8-12 Little Free Libraries around East Austin to promote reading amongst elementary school students.
Palisades Charter High School STEAMer Kart; Pacific Palisades, Calif.: A school STEAM program supporting programming in the school's metal shop by building a go-kart out of repurposed parts, found materials and donated motors.
Girl Start Summer Camp; Austin, Texas: A weeklong summer program working to expand offerings for girls to increase interest in STEM subjects and careers through real-world experiences.
To read more about each finalist, and learn more about the Bernzomatic Find Your Fire Community Grants program, visit www.Bernzomatic.com/Grants.
About Bernzomatic Bernzomatic, a Worthington Industries brand, has been the leader in the blowtorch category since 1876. With a passion for craftsmanship and creation, Bernzomatic believes in providing the right tools and inspiration to take on projects and redefine what you can achieve. Bernzomatic products set the standard in safety, durability and performance, and include handheld torches, fuel cylinders, butane lighters and project accessories that can be used on the job site, in the home and in the hands of those with a desire to create. Find your fire at www.Bernzomatic.com.