Dear Galant Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,
On behalf of the entire Forge community, we would like to thank you for your continued support and funding of our education programs and clubhouse.
Since we started to receive funding from the Galant Center, our impact has grown exponentially.
At Forge, we're building a community-run school. Since our founding in 2012, we've placed emphasis on creating educational communities and programs that allow students to explore technology and entrepreneurship. The Galant Center has played an important role in our community and has helped to make all of this possible.
To date, more than 5,650 students have participated in a program here at Forge. At our current scale, 1 in 10 UVA students take at least one of our programs before they graduate.
In addition to having an outsized impact on students, Forge has also helped to fuel local Charlottesville startups, small businesses, and nonprofits with interns that are not only trained, but that are also eager to gain entrepreneurial experience.
Forge has placed 273+ students at 140+ local companies for internships since 2017. We have also helped the City of Charlottesville retain 40+ UVA grads hired full-time at local startups and tech companies since our founding.
Through these programs, many students have launched their own startups and side projects. One of my favorite stories is of Graham Smith (UVA '18) and Alexander Olesen (UVA '17) meeting in Forge's intro to entrepreneurship program. They began experimenting with building hydroponic systems. That relationship, built in the Forge clubhouse, grew into Babylon Microfarms
, an RVA-based startup that employs 47 full-time employees.
The success of Forge demonstrates what incredible things can happen when the University supports and amplifies student-run initiatives. When you empower self-motivated, self-governed students with the resources they need, and give them experiential and real-world learning opportunities, there's no limit to what they can accomplish. I'm excited to think about what's possible with the continued support of the Galant Center.
Thank you, Galant Center, for making this all possible.
Executive Director, Forge (formerly HackCville)