Our History


Who We Are

The Forge Downtown is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Cary, NC. In the near future, we will be growing to employ staff, and management to support the increasing scope of our activities.

The mission of The Forge Initiative, Inc. is to empower families and individuals of all ages to collaboratively explore, learn, and lead using technology and engineering.

The Forge Downtown is creating a community where families and individuals feel supported and encouraged to learn and develop 21st Century skills together, across all ages or other societal boundaries. Skills such such as collaboration, teamwork, critical thinking, communication using modern technology.

We value:

  • Initiative and growth/learning for all ages
  • Collaboration
  • Respect for each other and each others’ journey
  • Participation and involvement to make the WR community stronger
  • The willingness to 'fail faster'

Our 5 Year Vision

We have big dreams for the future. However, before we get to those dreams, we need to make sure that our foundation is strong, we continue to have the framework that will be sustainable -- financially, from an infrastructure standpoint, and in a way that allows us to continue to have the organizational culture that creates the impact and community we currently have.

WIBA: Wouldn't It Be Amazing If.... We Had A Million Dollars!

Cary and the surrounding areas offer many technology camps and classes for children. There are technology Meet-ups for adults, resources for individuals who tinker with technology, technology-rich environments for college students, technology programs in some of the local schools. Other facilities in our county meet needs in the areas of the arts (Cary Arts Center, Artspace), technology for college students and faculty (the Hunt Library on NCSU’s Centennial Campus) and tools (now-out of business TechShop in Raleigh, SplatSpace in Durham). However, there are no spaces where families and people of all ages can collaborate and learn from each other to build, create and play with technology.

By creating a community of all ages where technology, science, and engineering can be explored across age groups and interests, we can bring confidence to our youth, and an understanding of the strength that comes from working and learning together with professionals, hobbyists, tinkerers, and interests… A community area allows technology to become a part of everyday life, making it accessible and “conquerable” for everyone in the community, not just in formal places of learning for a small group of people.

Why "The Forge"?

The Forge Downtown space is referred to as "The Forge @ Hopewell" to recognize our partnership with Hopewell Academy this year. The original Forge was named after after several weeks of discussion and suggestions. This was written by one of our students about why he thought we should call our space "The Forge"....

  • It’s a place where you make stuff out of metal
  • We are forging ahead
  • It sounds a bit edgy but not too edgy like inferno or pyre
  • It's a word that can be used to describe almost everything we do as an organization:
    • We forge teams
    • We forge robots
    • We forge friendships
    • We forge connections with companies and people in our community as well as with other teams

Not only does the name sound fiery and cool but it also describes our mission as an organization

A Student helping name The Forge, influencing the eventual name of our whole organization, a participant our FIRST Team PyroTech (Fall 2011) program.