Refoundry is Now at the Brooklyn Navy Yard



Brooklyn Start-up Provides Career & Incubation Support
to the Formerly Incarcerated 

(Brooklyn, NY) The Brooklyn Navy Yard announced today that Refoundry, a career training and incubation support program for the formerly incarcerated, has leased 7,900 SF, doubling in size from their previous location. Founded in 2015, the Brooklyn-based start-up trains individuals to repurpose discarded materials into home furnishings and then incubates participants into their own businesses. Refoundry’s career development curriculum and ongoing support services aid participants in achieving the ultimate goal: entrepreneurship. This new space will allow Refoundry to scale up from the five participants in its pilot program to 20-25 participants over the next 12-18 months.    

Refoundry’s incubation model, developed by co-founder Cisco Pinedo in his LA-Based furniture business, provides a pathway to long-term success for people who face ongoing barriers to employment.

“The sense of community, the commitment to mission, and the creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit that has long defined the Brooklyn Navy Yard makes it an ideal home for us,” said Refoundry co-founder and Executive Director Tommy Safian. 

“We designed a program that has an environmental component that resonates for our participants while cutting overhead costs,” Refoundry co-founder Cisco Pinedo explained. “Coming from the private sector we also felt compelled to incorporate revenue generation within our training,” Pinedo added.

Sales of pieces crafted by participants during their long-term training will help pay for up to 70 percent of Refoundry’s operating costs, including living-wages for participants.

“The mission of the Yard is very much aligned with the mission of Refoundy; to promote local economic development and employment, to revitalize manufacturing and materials, and give back to the community,” said David Ehrenberg, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “Our employment center will help connect Refoundry with eligible participants, while the manufacturers at the Yard will provide excellent partners for providing much needed materials. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Refoundry to the Yard community, and I’m certain they will make a tremendous, positive impact.”

Refoundry participant Eugene Manigo said, "I never expected to be in the position I am now with Refoundry.  This organization gives me the opportunity to develop my skills and reach my potential -- as well as help other people coming out of prison to achieve what I have.  I'm so excited to be in our own space in the Brooklyn Navy Yards where we have the room and the support to incubate into our own businesses.  After 30 years in prison, and hearing stories from guys coming back again and again telling about how hard it was to make it, to think that I could own my own my business within a few years of release gives me confidence and optimism. It's amazing."

Refoundry’s move was executed by program participants and documented by photojournalist Bryan Coppede ( 

Learn more at Upworthy’s just released video on Refoundry can be found here.


Refoundry participants unloading materials at the organization’s new space in The Brooklyn Navy Yard.