Category Archives: Well-Being – Community

Well-being, Community Well-Being, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Real Estate Economics, Real Estate Development, Real Estate Investing, Design, Construction, Construction Materials, Construction Techniques, Zoning, Building Codes, Public Policy, Christopher Alexander, Adaptive Physical Systems Design

Donor-Advised Funds – MI

This reports on growth of donor-advised funds, now a $53 billion sub-sector of a philanthropy sector of $325 billion, as written by Howard Husock, Vice President, Manhattan Institute:

Latest from Manhattan Institute on Donor-Advised Funds

Husock is clearly expressing in vivid terms the virtues of NDAF’s – national donor-advised funds such as those provided by Schwab and Fidelity. He shows data that NDAF accounts (not funds) have expanded by 10,000,000+ since Congress ratified DAF’s in 2006. His argument is that these funds “democratize” philanthropy – making family-foundation-like systems and support available to a much broader base. He points out that their minimum fund requirements are much smaller than Community Foundations (sometimes they require as little as $5,000 to establish a NDAF account.)

Opposing 2014 Tax Code Revisions
In this report, he opposes the 2104 proposed change to the tax code, made the Congressman Camp, wherein all Donor-Advised Funds would be required to spend invested assets within five years. He cites arguments advanced for this change by a Boston College Professor of Law.

His argument is that DAF growth, perhaps from $53 billion to $100 billion+ by 2020, will be one of the reasons that philanthropy in the US, currently just below 2% of GDP (which is far ahead of other countries) could actually exceed 2%.

He has a special interest in NDAF’s. He actually is using data provided by them for the report:

“This paper uses data provided by Fidelity, Vanguard, and Schwab to compare giving patterns for donors in NDAF-based DAFs with those of community foundations (including from the latter’s general funds and DAF accounts).

The end of the report is optimistic:

“DAFs housed in NDAFs and major community foundations could signal a new era in U.S. mass philanthropy (one rivaling, say, the Community Chest / United Way movement of the 1920s). The potential thus exists for a large group of relatively small donors to make a big positive difference in the magnitude of what is already the world’s largest charitable giving sector.”

Fab Labs

Another great idea from Clay Johnson: let’s create the first “Fab Lab” in Atlanta – at Serenbe.

“Fab” is short for “fabrication” – and a Fab Lab is part of a global network of Fab Labs, initiated by the MIT Center of Bits and Atoms to encourage fabrication by lay people.

The idea is that making things with tools, particular things that are a part of the emerging digital economy, is much easier and much more fun than people think. Participants can learn a lot, and create a lot.


Serenbe needs a Fab Lab!

A very rough guess was made to answer the question: what would it cost to make this happen? Clay’s best guess is $100K.

Where would the Fab Lab be housed? Not clear at this time, but surely we can find a great place.

The section below of the website makes it clear that there are four criteria, all of which we can meet:

1. Must be open to the public
2. Must subscribe to the FabLab charter
3. Must have a common set of tools and processes*
4. Must participate in the global network (there is a Fab Lab academy, and annual global summit, etc)

* a laser cutter for 2D/3D design and fabrication, a high precision milling machine for making circuits and molds for casting, a vinyl cutter for making flexible circuits and crafts, and a fairly sophisticated electronics workbench for prototyping circuits and programming micro controllers. Optional: large wood routing machine for furniture and housing applications and 3D printers.

From the Website
Who/What qualifies as a Fab Lab?
The four qualities and requirements listed below altogether create an enabling environment that we call a Fab Lab. If your lab effort meets all these criteria, “Welcome!” If you feel you are in synchrony with the Fab Lab form and spirit, please use our logo in your fundraising efforts, and keep us informed of your progress. Please register your lab effort or new fab lab on the world map here. Here are the criteria we currently use for defining a Fab Lab:

First and foremost, public access to the Fab Lab is essential. A Fab Lab is about democratizing access to the tools for personal expression and invention. So a Fab Lab must be open to the public for free or in-kind service/barter at least part of the time each week, that’s essential.

Fab Labs support and subscribe to the Fab Lab charter:

Fab Labs have to share a common set of tools and processes. A prototyping facility is not the equivalent of a Fab Lab. A 3D printer is not a Fab Lab. The idea is that all the labs can share knowledge, designs, and collaborate across international borders. If I make something here in Boston and send you the files and documentation, you should be able to reproduce it there, fairly painlessly. If I walk into a Fab Lab in Russia, I should be able to do the same things that I can do in Nairobi, Cape Town, Delhi, Amsterdam or Boston Fab Labs. The critical machines and materials are identified in this list: and there’s a list of open source software and freeware that we use online as well (embedded in Fab Academy modules here: ) But essentially it’s the processes and the codes and the capabilities that are important. So you want a laser cutter for 2D/3D design and fabrication, a high precision milling machine for making circuits and molds for casting, a vinyl cutter for making flexible circuits and crafts, a fairly sophisticated electronics workbench for prototyping circuits and programming microcontrollers, and if you can possibly find the funds, you’ll want the large wood routing machine for furniture and housing applications. We are also testing fairly inexpensive, but robust and with fair resolution 3D printers—the most current favorite is listed in the inventory.

Fab Labs must participate in the larger, global Fab Lab network, that is, you can’t isolate yourself. This is about being part of a global, knowledge-sharing community. The public videoconference is one way to do connect. Attending the annual Fab Lab meeting is another. FAB10 is in Barcelona this year, July 2-8. Collaborating and partnering with other labs in the network on workshops, challenges or projects is another way. Participating in Fab Academy is yet another way.