Thanks to an anonynous donor, the Center of Gravity is now able to provide access to membership, classes and programs for economically-challenged Rensselaer County residents. The donor provided $10,000 to seed the Tech Valley Center of Gravity's new Community Outreach Fund. 

"We're incredibly grateful to this donor for providing this seed funding," said Executive Director Holly Cargill-Cramer. "In addition to helping us expand access, we hope this generous gift inspires others -- companies and individuals alike -- to consider making a gift that will open the creative and educational resources of the CoG to those who might not be able to afford a class or membership."

The TVCOG board of directors created the Community Outreach Fund in July 2017 to serve area individuals, families and community groups in need of free or reduced-cost memberships, programs, classes, services or space rentals. "Tech Valley Center of Gravity is a 501(c)(3) member-supported community resource charitable organization," said Cargill-Cramer. "We are here to serve the whole community. And, while our membership rates are very affordable for most, we provide tours for indivdiuals and talk to groups every week who we recognize are still unable to afford the fees associated with membership, classes, THINQubator workshops and room rentals. We established this fund to help ensure these resources are available to everyone."

According to Cargill-Cramer, while the Community Outreach Fund was established to assist individuals in need throughout the region, use of the anonymous donor's $10,000 gift is restricted to Rensselaer county-based residents and organizations. "We hope that this gift is a catalyst for other donors and organizations to expand assistance for individuals and groups from all around the region," said Cargill-Cramer. "Whenever we are approached by a person or group with limited means, we find a way to help. This gift allows us to help Rensselaer county residents without a significant economic burden on the Center of Gravity. We hope others will want to help us do the same with the broadest reach possible."

To learn more or donate to the Tech Valley Center of Gravity's Community Outreach Fund, visit the webpage, or contact Holly Cargill-Cramer at 518-244-3544 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Congressman Tonko joined dozens of CoG members and friends on Saturday, August 11 in a salute to TVCOG co-founder and longtime Vice President Bob Bownes. The organization feted Bownes upon his retirement from over five years serving on its leadership team with a party celebrating his "Release" from responsibility (as opposed to actual bondage, although the actual difference might be debatable for Bob).

Bob Bownes first met with Laban Coblenz and Tom Tongue to discuss the idea of a makerspace in Troy on October 4, 2012. The organization was incorporated on Christmas Eve that year, and in one of its earliest board meetings, Bob Bownes was elected to serve as vice president of the operations team. It is a role in which he served until June 19, 2018.

Bob assisted in the start-up of the CoG in its first location, donating thousands of dollars of his own equipment to the new endeavor. The doors opened on February 9, 2013 and from the start Bob shouldered responsibility for member safety, facilities, and development of a system of business development services in conjunction with the executive director and president.

With the exponential growth of Tech Valley Center of Gravity in its first year, Bob managed safety and facilities at one location, while taking on a key role in planning for the renovation of the CoG’s current space at 30 Third Street. The space, equipment and systems in the current CoG benefitted from hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of Bob Bownes’ “sweat equity,” as well as from his innovation, technical savvy and systems knowledge. Bob also helped develop an early business incubation program for the CoG called SPECTRVM, that provided start-ups with discounted services to assist them in their growth and development.

The extraordinary efforts of Bob and other founding and early members of the CoG provided a solid foundation on which to continue to build the Center of Gravity as a member and community resource and to position to become New York State’s first 16v business incubator independent of a college or university. Since his early involvement, the organization now serves hundreds of members and serves as a strong anchor for the continued economic development of downtown Troy and the greater Tech Valley.

Questar III Summer STEM Fellows Kris Navratil and Janice Balogh piloted a two-week trades exposure program with clients from the YWCA of Greater Capital Region's Jamison Rounds Ready for Work Program during July. Navratil , a technology teacher from North Colonie School District developed the program in partnership with CoG Executive Director Holly Cargill-Crameri during last summer's STEM Fellowship program. Balogh, a math teacher from Maple Hill, is spendiing her Summer STEM Fellowship helping the CoG develop a Shop Math program. The three hope to use the two expose middle and high school youth to potential careers in the trades, and to build future workforce development programs. 

In the pilot program with YWCA, five women experienced hands-on use of 3D printers, laser cutters, wood shop, metal shop and more through creation of their own tool/supplies box, which they personalize using the laser cutter. Our program participant, Grace, pictured at right, chose to make a statement with hers.

Balogh's participation in this summer's fellowship was made possible with the support of Workforce Development Institute. The followship has been allowng Navratil and Balogh to experiencing how what they teach every day is applied in real-world situtations.