Fab Foundation Mission

The Fab Foundation was formed February 9, 2009 to facilitate and support the growth of the international fab lab network through the development of regional Fab Foundations and 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 has three programmatic foci: 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.→ (link to Fab Education page) 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. → (link to Fab Academy page)
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. (àlink to Fab Labs from home page) 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 à link to FAB9) 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

Financial Reporting

Organizational Documents

Annual Reports

  • (Coming Soon)

Fab Foundation Board

Sherry Lassiter
Sherry LassiterDirector, Treasurer
Sherry Lassiter is one of the architects of the MIT global Fab Lab program.  As Director 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.
Stuart Gannes
Stuart GannesPresident
Stuart Gannes’ career spans education, journalism, software development, research, education and non-profits. He has worked as a journalist at Time-Life Books, and as science and technology writer for Discover and Fortune Magazines based in New York. In 1988-89 Gannes was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He later returned to Silicon Valley to join MIPS Computers, started by Stanford Prof. John Hennessy. In 1992 he was the founder and CEO of Books That Work, an award-winning software publisher that pioneered interactive ‘how-to’ e-books. From 1998-2002 Gannes was Vice President for Internet Applications at AT&T Labs. From 2002-08 he was Director of Stanford University’s Reuters Digital Vision Fellowship Program. He currently works with organizations seeking to bring technology and social media tools to communities. Gannes has a BA in History from the University of Michigan, and a Masters in Education and Social Policy from Harvard University.
Simone Amber
Simone AmberBoard Member
Simone Amber is the founder of Fab Lab Connect, a platform to bring resources to projects from the Fab Lab community and take them to the next level. Her expertise lies deeply in the corporate world of finance, investor relations, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder relations, and employee engagement as experts and mentors. She also works across sectors: Governments, NGOs, international organizations, corporations, academia, and local communities. She is the architect of a unique, innovative and technology-focused educational program called Schlumberger Excellence in Education Development (SEED): • 20 years experience in Education: Founder and CEO of SEED, a standalone corporate social responsibility arm of Schlumberger • Worked closely since 1993 with the MIT Media Lab, originally with Professor Seymour Papert, then with his students and colleagues • Served a network of 285 schools in 44 developing countries with employees and volunteers from 115 countries • Focused on issues like water and climate change and provided teacher training around STEM and robotics Born in Beirut, Lebanon Simone graduated from l’Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Paris) and subsequently received her MBA from INSEAD, a European business school. She then moved to New York City. SEED was born out of a deep sense of the increasing interdependence of all people. Simone wanted to create opportunities for youth, especially in the most disadvantaged parts of the world. Education combined with technology made it possible to provide powerful tools, training as well as collaboration with youth from different parts of the world. What better way to give individuals more opportunities and to create more tolerance? That dream came true and now she wants to support innovators to make their dreams come true through Fab Lab Connect. .
Chris Wilkinson
Chris WilkinsonBoard Member
Chris Wilkinson has operated within the commercial aircraft and space sectors over the last thirty-three years, undertaking executive roles across product development and operations. Over the last decade he has managed programs connecting teams in Europe to SE Asia, Russia and America. He has a passion for the emergence of capability that disrupts the status quo, particularly anything that impacts current business models for product design and manufacture. Through the Manufacturing Institute, a UK based non -profit supporting manufacturers as well as education in manufacturing, he facilitated the introduction of the UK’s first Fab Lab in Manchester. Chris now leads the growth and development of the Fab Lab network in the UK and Northern Ireland.

Fab Lab Network

The Fab Lab Network is an open, creative community of fabricators, artists, scientists, engineers, educators, students, amateurs, professionals, ages 5 to 75+, located in more than 40 countries in approximately 200 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.