I’m Tommy Safian, who along with my long-time friend and colleague Cisco Pinedo recently founded Refoundry.
We hope the video above provided an understanding of what we do and why it matters.
We’re asking for your support -- and when you contribute here we’ll send you a Reward hand-crafted by Refoundry.
A SELECTION OF REFOUNDRY REWARDS
All pledges are tax deductible
Once the campaign is complete, if we reach our goal (we need your help!), we'll email you a donation receipt (minus the value of the reward you select) for your taxes.
Here’s what else you can see as you scroll down to explore our Kickstarter page:
1. REFOUNDRY IN THE NEWS
2. HOW REFOUNDRY BEGAN
3. OUR FUNDRAISING GOAL & WHAT’S AT STAKE
4. REWARDS – Pictures and descriptions of all of them, with an explanation of their design and value
5. LEARN MORE - A series of five short but compelling videos where you can learn more about Refoundry, the people it's helping, and its potential systemic impact
6. A BRIEF STORY of how Refoundry bridges the cultural and political divide
7. REFOUNDRY’S THEME SONG with a link to listen to it
8. MEET THE FOUNDERS
9. RISKS & CHALLENGES our program faces as we move forward
REFOUNDRY IN THE NEWS
On October 1st the NYC landmark furniture store ABC Home hosted Refoundry's launch event. Since that time the organization has been featured in multiple media, including:
• Metro NY/Front Page (October 13)
• FastCompany.com/CoExist (October 16)
• CBS-TV News, New York (October 20)
• The Wall Street Journal (October 24)
• NY1 - Refoundry Co-Founder Named NYer of the Week (November 6)
Link Here to the Press page of our website for a full list and links to all the media stories on Refoundry.
REFOUNDRY: From Incarceration to Incubation
In the summer of 2015 Cisco Pinedo and I were engaged in a conversation many Americans are having: the problem of our country’s vast prison population, and the statistics that tell the dire story.
• Since 1972 the prison population in the U.S. has increased 700%
• Taxpayers spent $80 billion dollars on incarceration in 2014, the second fastest growing government expenditure
• 67% of those released from prison are rearrested within 36 months
We were particularly troubled by the high rate of recidivism. As we looked deeper into the issue we identified an unlikely culprit: government funding that imposes restrictions on the organizations trying to help.
So we set out to design a program that could thrive outside of that funding system.
Drawing on our 50 years combined experience in business creation we developed a program that could generate up to 70% of its own operating expenses and thereby not rely on restrictive government support. And instead of providing people coming out of prison with a job, our program provides them with a future: the opportunity to own their own business.
Driven by purpose and passion, we launched Refoundry earlier this year. The success of our model is undeniable.
REACHING OUR GOAL & WHAT'S AT STAKE
We need a minimum of $45,000 to get to the next stage in our development.
Refoundry's revenue-generating model will allow us to leverage your contributions for greater impact. So the more support we have from people like you, the more we'll be to achieve our critical goals.
• RENT OUR OWN SPACE
• EXPAND OUR PROGRAM & CREATE NEW PRODUCT
• TAKE ON & INCUBATE MORE PARTICIPANTS
• ESTABLISH A MODEL OTHER ORGANIZATIONS CAN ADADPT
DESIGN WITH MEANING
All Refoundry product is made from old and discarded materials. But instead of sanding and smoothing down every imperfection, we embrace each piece as it comes to us, enhancing the intrinsic value in every nick, burnish and scar. Every piece of Refoundry furniture, like the people who craft it, has a story worth telling.
VALUE WITH IMPACT
Refoundry's environmental and social mission are inextricably entwined: Both model restoration, sustainability and the valuing of all resources. Our product has a profound impact on the people who make as well as the people who being it into their homes.
We appreciate every contribution, and will give special thanks on our website to:
Refoundry Supporters (Contributions of $500-$999)
Refoundry Team Members (Contributions of $1,000 or more)
Pledge $2-$9 - eThanks!
We'll send you a heartfelt Thank You via email, with a picture of one our smiling participants.
Pledge $10-$14 - This is Personal
A hand-signed note of thanks signed from our entire crew will arrive via post in your mailbox. Recycled paper.
Pledge $15-$24 - Hand Made Hand
Fabulous and functional, this cotton kitchen towel sewn from scrap features a handprint of one of our participants in non-toxic vegetable dye paint. Take that, Martha Stewart! 20" x 20" Handprint colors vary.
Pledge $25-$39 - Open Door Policy
At Refoundry we open doors of opportunity for people -- help us keep them open with a hand-branded doorstop fashioned from our very own wood scraps. Planed angle. Woods and sizes vary.
Pledge $40-$59 - Give 'Em the Business
Everything in your life should have a story, so why settle for an ordinary, mass-produced desktop business card holder? This one is made of reclaimed wood, and hand-fashioned by one of our participants. Each is as unique as the people who make it - as well as those who receive it. Yeah, we mean you. 3.5"W x 2"H Woods vary.
Pledge $60-$74 - Cell Mates
A perfect companion for any smart phone, Refoundry's cell phone stand is made of reclaimed wood, so each one is as distinct as it is functional. A channel in the rear allows you to hook up your charger so your phone can chill out while juicing up. 3.25"W x 4"D x 1.5"H Woods vary.
Pledge $75-$99 - Down For The Count!
A petite wallet made from scrap leather and hand-stitched by the folks at Pen & Pistol -- Refoundry's beta-incubation project. Founder Ralphy Dominguez took the name from Dumas' classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo. Look in on our $150 Reward for the citation. Available in brown, black or white leather. Hands vary.
Pledge $100-$149 - Who Wants To Cut The Cheese?
You will, with this handsome cheese/cutting board. Made from reclaimed wood hand-selected and crafted by our participants. Like all Refoundry product, finishes are non-toxic. 12.5"L x 10.5"D Woods vary
Pledge $150-$199 - A Wise Choice
Reward your friends with the story behind your hand-stitched wallet or passport holder, crafted from scrap leathers by Refoundry's beta incubation project, Pen & Pistol. Founder Ralphy Dominguez saw in Dumas' famous line in The Count of Monte Christo -- "More dread from a pen and a sheet of paper than a sword or pistol" -- that positive self-determination could help others like himself choose creativity over crime. Or just tell them you're into leather. Select a traditional (his) or passport-sized (hers) wallet. Available in black, brown and white leather. Hand vary.
Pledge $200-$249 - Profound Reflections
Playwright Eugene O'Neill said, "Life is a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors" -- so he probably wouldn't select this reward. But we see our mirrors as a reflection of our program - not confining, but expansive and full of possibility. Crafted from reclaimed wood by hands whose every crease and scar tell a story as rich in detail as the frames themselves. 14x20 - Hangs vertically or horizontally. Available in a choice of black, natural or white finish. Woods vary.
Pledge $250-$399 - What's Your Bag?
This smart satchel is stitched from pre-washed scrap denim and features reclaimed wood handles. Order it plain, or for no additional cost we'll have renowned graffiti artist Karlos Marquez tag you bag with "Refoundry". 24"W x 14"H Woods for handles vary.
Pledge $400-$499 - We Got You Over a Barrel
Round coffee tables made from old wine barrel tops from California vineyards. Nice! Iron hairpin legs ship detached; screws and pre-drilled holes provided. 27W x 18H
Pledge $500-$749 [Refoundry Supporter] That Is Just Cool!
What do you get when you cross an old metal egg crate, some vintage scrap fabric, and a world class designer? A beautiful storage ottoman fit for any room in your home. Refoundry's co-founder, Cisco Pinedo, came up with this inventive idea, and our participants create each one to order. Approx. 17"W x 13"D x 16"H Fabrics and sizes vary. BEST DEAL!
Pledge $750-$999 [Refoundry Supporter] This Bench Warrants Your Attention
You'll go AWOL over this beautiful bench on hairpin legs upholstered in repurposed army tent canvas. Perfect for an entryway, the foot of the bed, a window seat - even in front of the sofa. As stylish, versatile and eco-friendly as our Egg Crate Ottoman ($500 reward), they make a great pair (that's called upselling, baby!). And all for a good cause. Go ahead - make our day! 30"W x 14"D x 18"H Ships with legs detached; screws and pre-holed drills provided.
Pledge $1,000-$1,499 [Refoundry Team Member] Our Signature Pieces
These table tops are our participants' favorite piece to create. After selecting the wood and exploring the grain, texture and tone of each reclaimed plank, beam or slat, participants assemble the wood in their own unique vision - as they say, putting part of themselves into every design. Each table is signed and dated by the participant who crafted it. Choose any size up to 30" x 42" as either a coffee table (18"H) or dining table, console table or desk (30"H) Ships with iron legs detached; screws and pre-holed drills provided.
Pledge $1,500 or more [Refoundry Team Member] Experience Refoundry & Fine Cuisine. Or Not.
Meet our entire team with an exclusive tour (for two) of our new facilities -- made possible by your generous contribution to this campaign! Then dine compliments of ABC Home at their award-winning ABC Kitchen, featuring only the finest natural ingredients from regional farms and fair trade cooperatives.
Or if you'd prefer, we'll send you our Wood Box Coffee Table: Designed around a repurposed shipping crate and featuring a soft top upholstered in reclaimed fabrics, this exquisite piece provides extra storage, comfortable seating, and distinction. 38"W x 26"D x 18"H Fabrics may vary. Angle-iron legs ship detached; screws and pre-drilled holes provided. Shipping costs to Canada & Mexico for Coffee Table only.
LEARN MORE: Videos too compelling to miss
We’re convinced you’ll want to join the Refoundry community and support our critical program once you’ve seen:
The problems our participants have faced…
The incredible transformations in their lives after just a few months at Refoundry…
Some of the unique features of our innovative program that help our participants become financially independent…
As well as become active agents in helping others like themselves…
And the profound impact Refoundry can have on the criminal justice system.
You can always learn more about Refoundry at Refoundry.org
A SHORT STORY
When I met with the legislative team for NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito one of the Council Speaker’s staff remarked, “You know, I can’t tell if you’re a right-wing conservative who thinks the government is wasting money on a population that should learn to fend for themselves, or you’re a far-left liberal bent on helping anyone in need.”
“But don’t tell me!” he continued, shooting a hand up to forestall a possible response, “I like not knowing. Your organization has the rare quality in today’s cultural and political divisiveness to appeal to everyone.”
THIS SEEMS LIKE A GOOD PLACE FOR A SING-ALONG!
At my son's 1st Grade "stepping up" ceremony his class sang "With My Own Two Hands" by Jack Johnson & Ben Harper. As I listened I felt like it had been written for Refoundry, and we've adopted it as our theme song.
Listen: With My Own Two Hands
Apologies if you have to suffer through a short ad before the song starts, but we can't afford the rights to play it ourselves -- but hey, if any of you know Jack or Ben, ask them to give us a holler!
MEET THE FOUNDERS
Refoundry co-founders Tommy Safian & Cisco Pinedo met over 20 years ago, when they were both just beginning their furniture companies.
After earning a Masters in Literature in the midst of the 1991 recession, Tommy, to supplement meager income, started picking up furniture out of the garbage, fixing it up, and selling it in a weekly stoop sale called Avant Yard. Within two years he had a factory with 30 employees.
Cisco dropped out of school at the age of 14 to help support his siblings after his mother and father became ill and couldn't work. After the 1992 LA riots Cisco moved his company to the most blighted corridor in South Central, LA as a way to support the community in which he grew up. By the time Cisco and Tommy met his business, Cisco Brothers, employed most of Cisco's extended family and childhood friends.
Cisco has since become a recognized leader in sustainability and design.
For Cisco and Tommy, commitment to their employee base, and to making and selling home furnishings that are environmentally responsible, have always been their top priorities.
Risks and challenges
With over 50 years combined experience in business creation and in furniture design, manufacturing and retailing, we are well-versed in the risks and unexpected pitfalls that ventures like Refoundry inevitably face.
But we don’t feel intimidated by these challenges. On the contrary, our own experience has taught us that every problem – if approached with thoughtfulness and resolve instead of despair and panic – brings opportunity.
We bring this experience to bear not only in our strategic planning, but also within the culture of our program, showing for our participants how adversity can provide avenues for personal and professional growth.
Our commitment to this program has been reinforced on many fronts, most importantly by the impact Refoundry has had on our participants in just three months.
We now know we have begun to build a program with the potential to:
• Dramatically improve the lives of people coming out of prison, their families and their communities
• Transform the way our culture views many of its citizens
• Improve the efficiency of organizations working in reentry and reintegration
• Save hundreds of millions of tax dollars
But we do face one very serious risk: We can’t do it alone.
Please join us in this necessary adventure – here on Kickstarter, and beyond.
- (60 days)