A New Deal For Education

This is the letter that we sent to all 103 of the educators. Enjoy!

Please read this whole email. We are volunteering all of our free time for the next three months because we really really like education. Thank you for being teachers who are willing to explore something new.

It’s been a while, with the holidays, work, and life in general we’ve been a bit busy. We hope you all had a great holiday and are looking at a bright new year.

So the fundraiser didn’t make it to the $85k… that number was pretty big and we are sad that we didn’t get the funding, but also no one seems too surprised. After taxes and fees from Paypal and Indiegogo, we brought in $1,735.07, which is pretty awesome! Special thanks to everyone who contributed or told their friends and family about the fundraiser. With these funds, we (Alaric and Nic) are making and shipping Catalysts to Sean Wheeler’s and Jon Wolford’s classes in Ohio. They were the two classes originally involved before we put out that crazy Call to Action. 

Doin' Science Doin' Science

So what now? What about the other 101 classes? We want to make this project happen for you and your students. 

We could try the fundraiser again. It would be awesome if it works, but it might not. We wouldn’t know if it works or not for another month, which would leave you on the fence in regards to curriculum planning. So, we’ve decided to volunteer our labor. 

If you want to do this project, we will build you Catalysts and have them shipped to your school for only about $5 per Catalyst! While typing this, I feel sort of late-night-television-esque, but what it boils down to is that we really want to make this project happen for you. 

Why about $5 per Catalyst? The last time we purchased angle iron it was exactly $2 per Catalyst worth of materials (Jose at Bay Area Iron Works took a liking to the project and gave us a discount). Shipping a box of 40 Catalysts (12”x12”x12” 45lbs.) from San Francisco to Ohio via USPS Parcel Post is just over $1 per Catalyst, but this will vary based on your location, so we will have to do the math for each individual order. Manufacturing takes place at a shop where we pay $100/month in dues. There are also drill bits, grinding wheels, gloves and other supplies that we go through pretty fast when making large amounts of these things. If there’s any cash left over we might spoil ourselves with Tacos, a soda, and a Snickers bar for nic. (He really likes Snickers.) 

Last time we checked, it takes about 20 minutes to make each Catalyst, but through some Scientific Management, it is possible to shave off a minute here or a few seconds there. While this might be interesting, it doesn’t actually effect you because we’re not going to charge you for the time we put into this. 

The reason why it used to cost $12/Catalyst was because we were accounting for materials, shipping, and fair wage for a welder. Labor turns out to be most of the cost. 

The next question that you might have is, “Can they make 5,000 Catalysts in 3 months?” We have no idea, but we’re sure going to try! Since there is no way to be sure, we will have to work on a first-come first-serve basis. 

Of course, you’re not at all obligated to do this project. If you’ve had enough of these long rambling emails, let us know. Or if you really want to do the project, but can’t come up with $5 for each of your students, tell us. We will try to connect you with a sponsor, or help you run an Indiegogo fundraising campaign of your own. As we’ve mentioned before, instructions for making Catalysts are available online. 

As a side note, we both have full time jobs. Nic works for a non-profit, and Alaric is an assistant for a hostel company… so suffice it to say between rent (in San Francisco), food, and student loans, we don’t have much to spare.  We are looking at Grants, and possible investors. If anyone has anything to offer here, whether that’s contacts, advice, or a pro-bono Grant writer, we’re all ears. 

If you’re in, awesome and email us. We still have your mailing address. As soon as we get funds for the raw materials, we’ll start welding away.

Thanks!
Alaric and Nic


Please note: The $5 per Catalyst thing only applies to the first 103 teachers who responded to our Call to Action back in October. If you would like to participate, contact us and we’ll do our best to help you.

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