Fab Foundation Mission

Formed in 2009 to facilitate and support the growth of the international fab lab network as well as the development of regional capacity-building organizations. The Fab Foundation is a US non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that emerged from MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program. Our mission is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, and thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world. Community organizations, educational institutions and non-profit concerns are our primary beneficiaries.

The Foundation’s programs focus on: education (.edu), organizational capacity building and services (.org), and business opportunity (.com).

Fab Foundation programs and services

Foundation educational programs and services (.edu)
…include bringing digital fabrication tools and processes to people of all ages, teaching the skills and knowledge of digital fabrication, developing curriculum for formal and informal educational settings, as well as designing and offering professional development training programs for teachers, fab lab managers and other professionals.→ (Fab Education)

We offer advanced technical education through the Fab Academy which provides instruction and supervises investigation of mechanisms, applications, and implications of digital fabrication. The Fab Academy is a worldwide, distributed campus utilizing fab labs as classrooms and libraries for a new kind of technical literacy. → (Fab Academy)

Foundation organizational services (.org)
…include the promotion of digital fabrication, facilitating the development of community-based and educational fab labs, the dissemination of best practices in digital fabrication throughout the fab lab network, facilitation and dissemination of research and community-beneficial projects, the funding and facilitation of fab lab and digital fabrication projects that benefit people and communities in exemplary ways, such as mobile fab labs for emergency aid, or fab labs for developing world contexts. These services include deploying, installing, training, and consulting for new fab labs as well as programmatic support of established fab labs. (Fab Labs) The Foundation works to gather and provide critical evaluation data as well as provide tools for tracking the impact of fab labs in educational, business and social contexts. As part of our services we provide a network function for the fab lab community, bringing together fab labs around the world either physically (for annual meetings and workshops) or virtually through online tools and resources.
The Foundation’s business program services (.com)
…are evolving to enable new forms of economic exchange and opportunities created by this globally distributed network, facilitating an ecosystem of fab lab-generated businesses and products with access to global markets. From time to time, as financial resources permit, the Foundation will connect exemplary business concepts and products emerging from the fab lab community to venture and micro-finance funding, making capital available in the right form, at the right time, and with the right terms, to help them along the trajectory of long-term sustainability.

Businesses emerging from fab labs and the digital fabrication network include:

We support

The creation of new Fab Labs

Training for labbers around the world

The development of regional networks and foundations

The development of international projects

Fab Lab Network

The Fab Lab Network is an open, creative community of fabricators, artists, scientists, engineers, educators, students, amateurs, professionals, of all ages located in more than 78 countries in approximately 1,000 Fab Labs. From community based labs to advanced research centers, Fab Labs share the goal of democratizing access to the tools for technical invention. This community is simultaneously a manufacturing network, a distributed technical education campus, and a distributed research laboratory working to digitize fabrication, inventing the next generation of manufacturing and personal fabrication.

Financial Reporting

Organizational Documents

Annual Reports

Fab Foundation Board

Sherry Lassiter
Sherry LassiterPresident
Sherry Lassiter is one of the architects of the MIT global Fab Lab program.  As President of the Fab Foundation Lassiter works at the intellectual boundary where transfer of enabling, empowering, technical knowledge allows an idea to come into physical being–where bits become atoms.  It’s an interdisciplinary landscape that requires a commitment to creating educational tools and exploring intellectual and economic frontiers. After a two decade career in science journalism as producer, writer and director for television series such as Scientific American Frontiers, Discover the World of Science, and The Science Times, she became a protagonist in science and technology, becoming part of the story, rather that just telling the story.  As Program Manager  for the NSF-funded Center for Bits & Atoms at MIT she has seen and enabled the personal fabrication movement as it has grown and evolved.  In her time at MIT, Lassiter has become a passionate fab labber and firm believer in the idea of personal fabrication and the empowerment that comes from making things for yourself.  To make powerful, useful things in the world you have to learn deep content in science, mathematics and engineering – fab labs provide new inspiration for STEM education, motivation for much of Lassiter’s current work. Lassiter is Director of The Fab Foundation, engaged in the deployment and growth of Fab Labs around the world, enabling grassroots technology development by, for and of the community.
Neil Gershenfeld
Neil GershenfeldChairman of the Board
Prof. Neil Gershenfeld is the Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. His unique laboratory is breaking down boundaries between the digital and physical worlds, from creating molecular quantum computers to virtuosic musical instruments. Technology from his lab has been seen and used in settings including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and rural Indian villages, the White House and the World Economic Forum, inner-city community centers and automobile safety systems, Las Vegas shows and Sami herds. He is the author of numerous technical publications, patents, and books including Fab, When Things Start To Think, The Nature of Mathematical Modeling, and The Physics of Information Technology, and has been featured in media such as The New York Times, The Economist, and the McNeil/Lehrer News Hour. He is the originator of the growing global network of field fab labs that provide widespread access to prototype tools for personal fabrication, and directs the Fab Academy, the associated program for distributed research and education in the principles and practices of digital fabrication.
Chris Wilkinson
Chris WilkinsonBoard Member
Chris Wilkinson has operated within advanced technology based industries for the last thirty-six years. During this period he has performed both technical and managerial roles in commercial aerospace and, more recently, in the subsea engineering sector.

He is currently the Chief Technology Officer for SMD Ltd (https://www.smd.co.uk) a world leading subsea robotics company which now forms part of the growing portfolio of global companies acquired by Times Electric Company – part of China’s industrial conglomerate CRRC (http://www.tec.csrzic.com/en/1152.html).

He has an underlying passion for the emergence of open source innovation and, especially, the growing impact of the fab lab network. He sees this as an opportunity for businesses and the network to form new symbiotic relationships. For business it is the opportunity offered to find new talent, ideas and approaches to solving problems. For the network it is about securing the means for continued growth and long-term financial sustainability.

Chris facilitated the formation of the UK’s first Fab Lab and has participated supporting the development of a number of new Fab labs in the UK, US and Europe.

Over the last four years he has been a Board member of the Fab Foundation (www.fabfoundation.org), working globally on the development of the Fab Economy. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Hunter Centre of Strathclyde University’s Business school (https://www.strath.ac.uk/huntercentre/), where he shares his experiences from industry and the Fab lab network to both research staff and students.

Marie Planchard
Marie PlanchardBoard Member
Marie Planchard is Director of Education & Early Engagement, at SOLIDWORKS, DASSAULT SYSTEMES. She is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the SOLIDWORKS platform across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and start-up companies. Marie is responsible for the SOLIDWORKS Certification Academic program, providing highly qualified graduates to commercial engineering and design companies.  She also manages the SOLIDWORKS Entrepreneur Program that helps young start-up companies design innovative products.  As creator/author of the STEM Teacher Blog, Marie shares stories about students, teachers, entrepreneurs, and fabbers that design and make great things happen.

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Advisory Board