You ask, we answer! Here are the queries we receive most often along with helpful information and links. If you scan the topics below and don’t find what you are looking for, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll reply as soon as we can.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I promote your programs?
We would love for you to share our programming with your friends! Tag us on Instagram or share our posts. Make a donation. Purchase our merchandise from our online shop. Connect us with your company as a corporate sponsor. Bring a group in for a corporate workshop. Leave us a review on Facebook or Google. Thank you!
- Where do my donations go?
Your donations go directly to our programs and support of free and low-cost design and build workshops for girls. We use all donor dollars to fund things like lumber, steel, hardware, Sharpies, snacks, cleaning supplies, and instructor stipends. Over half of our girls attend for free or low-cost. 100% of teen girls attend at no cost to their families.
You can read all about our impact to date in our impact statement (pdf)!
- Are you a nonprofit and are donations tax deductible? What is your Tax ID number?
Yes! All donations are 100% tax-deductible as we are a registered 501c3 nonprofit. Girls Garage, Tax ID: 26-1703034
- Are you going to expand? Can I open a Girls Garage?
For now, we do not have plans for geographic expansion, licensing, or franchising, as we are focused on strengthening the Girls Garage program with our local community. We believe it’s super important for us to have a “placeness” and 1-to-1 relationships with our girls first and foremost.
Girls Garage was founded by expert female builders and educators with a commitment to supporting young girls through great design/build work. To do something similar in your own community, we recommend that you gather skilled local partners to help you articulate the goals and strategy for your programs and who can lead programs safely. Don’t go it alone. This work is all-encompassing and requires dedication and full-time attention to achieve the best results, so having a fully committed team makes all the difference.
We also suggest reaching out (personally and through social media) to local companies and organizations, community spaces that host workshops (and may already have an engaged audience), and hardware stores to begin building relationships with potential partners and clients for projects! Check out sba.gov for a ton of resources on starting and running your business.
If you aren’t ready to take on all of the work at once, there are so many ways to begin helping your community as you build out your curriculum, business plan, and network. You can look online to find organizations that host panels where you can speak, identify career fairs where you could help with resume reviews or share your career path or expertise, volunteer at a related nonprofit in your area, talk to teachers to see if you might be a guest speaker, or develop a class or activity to lead at a local community space.
- Do you have recommended resources for building projects?
There are a number of national organizations that provide projects or lesson plans, such as the National Building Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum’s Educator Resource Center, Instructables, The Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio, Family Handyman, Lowe’s DIY Projects and Ideas, and Home Depot’s DIY Project Database. These are all great resources for individuals looking for their next project or organizations looking to create a builder curriculum.
Girls Garage: Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build The World You Want To See is basically Girls Garage in book form. It aggregates a decade of building instruction, including hundreds of tools, dozens of skills, and instructions for several complete projects.
- Can you recommend other builder programs and workspaces?
The Bay Area offers fantastic programs, such as The Crucible, Camp Galileo, Camp 510, Project Ember, Tinkering School, Girls Who Code, Camp Edmo, Techbridge Girls, Curious Jane, Children’s Creativity Museum, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Girls In Engineering, and ID Tech.
Around the US, you should look into Girls Build (Portland), DIY Girls (Los Angeles), Rosie’s Girls (Vermont), Tools and Tiaras (New York City), Saw Horse Revolution (Seattle), Women, Design, Build (Austin), and Chicago Architecture Center (Chicago), Tiny WPA (Philadelphia).
Email email@example.com with other amazing organizations—particularly those focused on building/trades or serving girls and/or underserved communities—so we can continue to build this list of recommendations.
- Can I visit the space? Do you have open makerspace hours?
We don’t schedule official public tours, but we can occasionally accommodate interested visitors pending our youth programming schedule. Our Holiday Gift Sale in December, and our Garage Sale in April are all great opportunities to visit our space when we are open to the public. We also host groups such as schools, organizations, or professional development cohorts for visits with specific purposes.
- Can I volunteer at Girls Garage?
Girls Garage does not usually have volunteers in our youth workshops due to the safety and safeguarding of our girls; we instead have consistent trained staff and instructors. We do occasionally seek volunteers for things like events, organization, and marketing. If you’re interested in these opportunities, you can fill out our volunteer questionnaire.
- Are you hiring?
We are not currently hiring, however, if you have experience working with youth AND a creative skillset (welding, carpentry, screen printing, etc), we’d love to know more and keep your resume on file for future opportunities. Our instructor positions are generally after-school and summer jobs, ranging from 2 hours per week (after-school) to week-long summer camps (9am-4pm, 5 days a week). Send us your resume and an introductory email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
- Do you do speaking engagements?
Yes! Our founder, Emily Pilloton, does 10-20 keynote presentations per year, has done a TED talk, presented to the Obama Administration, and been on The TODAY Show, TIME, Good Morning America, Colbert Report, and CNN. She loves sharing the Girls Garage story and discussing the potential of a future built by empowered girls and the impact that fearless builder girls have on their communities. Emily would be happy to talk with you about speaking opportunities; email her directly at email@example.com.
- Do you do co-ed workshops?
Our youth programming is for girls and gender-expansive youth only. For our public events such as our Garage Sale and Holiday Gift Fair, we are open to all. We occasionally offer co-ed corporate workshops for adults.
We love working with groups who are interested in building and bonding! We offer various workshop options, including screenprinting, planter-box building, toolbox fabrication, and projects in the community. You can check out the offerings and pricing structure here or contact us to help come up with a custom experience.
- Do you conduct workshops for adult women?
We have offered workshops for adult women in the past, but our priority is to provide high-quality youth programming. You can join our mailing list to learn about workshops as they are announced. If you’re a mom or auntie or big sister, we do offer “mother”/daughter workshops on some weekends. For other adult women programming in the area, we recommend Lower 48, Dykes with Drills, And I Built It With My Vagina, Double Union, Frailty Myths, and The Crucible.
- Do you provide scholarships?
Yes, 58% of girls who attend Girls Garage attend for free or at low-cost. All of our teen programming during the school year and summer (9th to 12th grade) is no-cost. For scholarships for our paid after-school programs, our scholarship application is embedded in our lottery application form (in other words, when you apply for a program, we’ll collect your scholarship info and honor it if you’re chosen from the lottery for the class).
- Do you take material donations?
We would love to chat with you around your material donations! Full-size lumber, hardware, and hardware store gift cards are particularly helpful. Our space is limited, and we try to only stock the building materials we are using for current projects, which limits the donations we can accept. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss in-kind donations.
You can make a purchase from our Amazon Wish List.
- Do you build custom projects?
We are always looking for nonprofit partners for whom our girls and gender-expansive youth can design and build high impact, real-world projects. If you are connected to a local organization with a tangible need (i.e. bookshelves, play structures, planter boxes, etc), we would love to talk to you! We do not take on personal, residential, or commissions for private individuals.
- Can you come to my town?
Because we’re such a small staff and so focused on our programs in Berkeley, it’s hard for us to do traveling workshops. We’re totally unavailable for traveling workshops over the summer, but we’re open to discussing on-the-road programming during the school year as our schedule allows!
- When does your registration go live?
See the full schedule of registration dates and deadlines for each program at girlsgarage.org/programs/registration/
Summer Programs registration/application begins February 1
- Builder Bootcamp for ages 9-13
- Young Women’s Design and Building Institute for 9th-12th graders
- Advanced Design/Build for 9th-12th graders
After-School Programs registration/application begins March 1, August 1, and December 1
- Welding and Steel Work for ages 10-14
- Carpentry + Woodworking for ages 9-13
- Protest + Print for 9th-12th graders
- Advanced Design/Build for 9th-12th graders
Weekend Workshops registration opens as new workshops are scheduled
We recommend signing up for our newsletter so that you can receive timely notifications of program dates! After-school programs fill up very quickly, so marking your calendar for the on-sale date is important.
- I tried to register my daughter and it sold out in 2 minutes! I’m on the waitlist - what next?!
First, we recognize that having a wait list is a good problem, because it means our program is super popular. However, we also know what a bummer it can be and that it is a problem for many families who are trying to make plans! Please know that we are always working to find ways to accommodate more girls and gender-expansive youth, including adding weeks to our summer camp (which we did this year) and considering different schedules and structures. Please also know, though, that one of the most special things about Girls Garage is the intimacy of our programs and the relationships between girls and skilled, committed female instructors who do not change from year to year. Our instructors have over 60 years of experience amongst the 7 of them, and our 5:1 ratio ensures that all youth are safe, acknowledged, and respected.
We often get asked, “How far down the wait list do you think you’ll go?” This is hard to predict, but don’t lose hope. In some years, by the time we go down the list, many folks have dropped off or scheduled another program. For summer camp, we usually see folks having to cancel starting in May. Please note that for our teen programs that require an application (Young Women’s Design and Building Institute and Protest + Print), we only accept girls who apply within the application window, and do not keep a waitlist.