2021 Year in Review
A note from the Executive Director
Almost 8 years ago, we set out to build a school where students feel empowered to realize their own potential and make an impact for good.

Since then, we have worked with our values in mind:
  1. We create space for every student to teach and learn, free of barriers or risks.
  2. We empower our students to shape our organization's future.
  3. What we teach and learn can and must be used as a force for good.

Throughout these past 8 years, we've seen just how much our school has affected and created opportunities for communities outside of just our students. We've helped over 250+ companies hire our best and brightest students, we've run events and programs for our network of alumni, we've helped the city of Charlottesville attract and retain 45+ of our graduates and convert them into full-time employees in the local Charlottesville tech community, and we've taught thousands of students modern skills.

In 2021, we took this idea and tried to view it through a new lens. We added a new goal to our mission: At Forge, we're building one of the world's first "community-owned schools."

This community-owned and supported school will be the launchpad for a future US president, at least a few Nobel laureates, a handful of founders who will start $1 billion+ startups, and probably 10+ CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I've been involved with this organization since 2014 and even still, every new day, I become more and more sure this will be true.

Every time I talk to our students, learn about their motivations and dreams, and see them put those desires into action, I become even more confident that we're building something different.

The more you read about Forge, the more you'll see how everything we do is done for and by our community. Now more than ever before, I believe we are truly onto something unique here at Forge and I've never been more excited for the future.

We've accomplished so much in 2021, but the thing that excites me most is how much more we can build in the next 5, 10, 20, 100 years.

I hope you enjoy reading about our impact in 2021, and the stories of just a few of the incredible students in our community.

Andy Page
Executive Director
A Community-Owned School
Forge is a school supported by students, alumni, company partners, and local ecosystems.
In the current educational landscape, there is no school quite like Forge. There are schools funded by local, state, and federal money, there are schools funded by parents, and then there are for-profit schools and boot camps funded by students (and venture capital money).

It is very rare to see a school fully funded, supported, and "owned" by the community it serves. That's what we're building here at Forge.

The Forge community consists of four stakeholder groups: our students, our alumni, our company partners, and the local tech ecosystems our students inhabit.
Students: At Forge, students have agency and ownership in their education -- from how they teach a course to what internship opportunities they choose to pursue.
Alumni: Members of the Alumni Network return to Forge and share information and experience with current students, whether that be through mentorship, hiring opportunities, or providing feedback on the programs that launched their careers.
Company Partners: Our valued company partners get exclusive access to our highly trained and thoroughly vetted interns in the Launch program, and in turn create valuable hands-on experiences for those students.
Local Ecosystems: Local non-profits, small businesses, and organizations provide career opportunities for Forge students and alumni, and retain talent in the Charlottesville-Albemarle region.
Our non-profit is designed to ensure all of our partners benefit from Forge serving as a common-thread for connection. Together, along with our stakeholders, we've created a circular school that is fully owned by the same community it was built to support. In turn, our community is self-perpetuating and each year more students become alumni who are ready to extend opportunities to students that were once in their shoes.

Forge creates a meeting place for innovation and progress, for the creation of new things, for forging new connections, and for building new ideas. We are a home for the hardworking, scrappy, and ambitious. At Forge, we are always moving forward and pushing the boundaries of what education has traditionally looked like.
"To me Forge means: access to a super cool community of driven people, the ability to explore subjects I couldn't in normal school, having a network of people who are both friends and mentors, building friendships and having fun social experiences, getting access to helpful professional development workshops and resources, having a cool place to hangout and work, and getting the opportunity to have really tangible leadership roles that help me grow.

Forge is a lifelong network of people who are always willing to help."
Charlotte Carey, Class of 2022, Forge Student Leader
Meet the people who make our community-owned school excel.