Helping Others Access the Tools They Need: An Interview with Mack DeWitt
Abriana Tuller

Solarpunk Magazine was founded on the principle of building and improving society to be as close to Utopia as possible. Part of this purpose is ensuring that people have equal access to resources that provide for their essential needs. As part of our Labor Issue, we talked to Mr. Mack DeWitt, the founder and director of the Dream Up Technology Foundation about the work his organization does.

Solarpunk Magazine: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today for Solarpunk Magazine. It is an honor to be able to talk to you about your nonprofit initiatives and how they benefit the community. Mack, could you please provide our readers with an overview of your foundation and what their initiatives are?

Mack DeWitt: Well, Abriana, thank you so much for having me. It is truly an honor and a pleasure to speak with you and to do this interview.

Regarding the initiatives that we are conducting, we have four initiatives. Each one is centered around what we call a Maslow Hierarchy of Service. So, we have food, shelter, transit, and then we have what you could call the Self-Realization services, which is more so an aggregator that helps individuals find resources within their area.

SPM: What was your motivation for starting them up? How has your organization helped communities reach the goal of having more sustainable futures?

MDW: The motivation for Dream Up really came as a result of my upbringing. You know, my family, we grew up very humble.  We ourselves received a lot of resources. But we also lived within an area that had a lot of resources. We lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The motivation for Dream Up  came when I moved to the city, saw the city of Philadelphia and the wealth gap that existed between the people who lived where I was from and those people living in North Philadelphia. I had an experience where I was able to share some resources with a gentleman who was from one of the neighborhoods down there, and I was able to see the kind of change the trajectory of his life as a result of my simply providing him a series of resources, business resources, or information about business resources within his community that he didn’t know existed and were available. So, that’s the inception of the Dream Up Technology Foundation. 

SPM: Many societal problems that occur are due to systematic failures. How do your programs help mitigate the failures that bring about instability and impede societal progress?

MDW: My view is that societal problems tend to occur when those who are in the decision-making seats or positions lose sight of the impact that they originally signed up for. With some of the programs that we’re trying to roll out, whether Agape Foods or Elevate Realty, we want to kind of remove some of the responsibility that one would have as far as the decision making and making those decisions by automating how those services are dispersed to the public. So, for example, someone who may run a food bank  and they may set out to help their community but get so involved with the day-to-day operations that they lose sight of who the food bank is seeking to serve. The solutions that we’re looking to roll out, seek to streamline and alleviate the amount of effort that goes into executing their core operations to really help the community at large. As far as housing, you might look at Section 8 housing, and notice that those who may oversee Section 8 housing may become overwhelmed with just the day-to-day tasks and duties of working with the public. So, we designed solutions to help them work with the public more efficiently and, really, maps to the mental models that the public may have as far as using technology. In turn, we hope that by doing this, we can expedite how services are delivered to the public.

SPM: So, what is your idea of a solarpunk future? What solarpunk ideals do you live by? Community service activism; environmental protections and activism; cultural and racial equity—how do you contribute to these in your everyday life?

MDW: That’s a great question. So what is my idea of a solarpunk future?  I think of Dr. King and his “I Have a Dream,” because we really resonate with the idea of having a dream and being able to achieve it. So, I guess our idea of a solarpunk future is a future where someone can have a dream and be able to achieve it and not get bogged down with the everyday responsibilities, so much so that their dream is deferred or they give up on their dream. At the core of our experience model, this provides us with our approach for service delivery. Our desire was that we want the people who seek our resources to be able to set a course for themselves and in the process, we can help facilitate those services or human resources around them to enable them to achieve their goals more efficiently.

I think your next question was what solarpunk ideas do you live by, such as community service activism, environmental protection and activism cultural and racial equity. We abide and live by all of these principles. Community service is what we’re here for. We’re looking to optimize how you can serve the community,  with the intent of changing communities or the quality of how the city is experienced. How do I contribute to these ideas every day? By having a clear-cut mission as to what we’re doing. A set of beliefs helps to be able to contribute to society. 

SPM: Thank you for that. It was amazing to hear. It’s always good to see that some of our supporters or leaders in our community are always contributing to make our community better. With this interview being published in our Labor Issue, I’m curious about projections about the workforce and what direction you see the workforce going within the next few years? How would your initiatives progress the workforce and provide for more financial equity?

MDW: Regarding the workforce, I think in the coming years, there’s going to be a huge shift within the workforce as to how people work.  How people access jobs, the jobs that are available; the bottom 30% or even the lower-middle-class population will experience jobs being severely at risk. Just due to automation, robotics, and even machine learning. I think those three together will wipe out a lot of jobs, or at least the need for human capital. In the future, especially in America, I hope we will be able to shift the workforce to take on more of a technology-driven set of jobs. But if not, I think we’re gonna be in some trouble, you know. So, we’re planning to develop solutions that help the overall population migrate from one set of opportunities to the next and sometimes it’s not a clear-cut path. Sometimes you need to take 10 boot camps or college tours, and sometimes you may not have $100,000 to do that. So, we want to at least make it known  what’s out there, what’s free, what’s available, without you actually having to search. That’s kind of the direction that we see things are going.

I think your other question was, how would your initiatives help progress the workforce and provide for more financial equity? Well, with our housing solution, we’re looking at developing Section 8 homes, as well as temporary warehouses or encampments, for those who are homeless or living in extreme poverty. Then we want to develop secondary homes as well as affordable housing to meet people where they are along that trajectory of upward mobility.

We have software designed where we want you to sit on top of all these housing solutions to help facilitate how people access resources, to help them go from someone who’s sleeping underneath the bridge to temporary housing, from temporary housing to Section 8 housing, and from Section8 housing into affordable housing. The ultimate goal is to take people from affordable housing to the best housing solution possible without them having to exhaust funds and resources. The goal is for users to apply once and we help them do the rest. 

For our food initiative, our goal is to have a free system similar to Uber Eats,  DoorDash, or GrubHub, that works in hand with our housing solution. People in need should not have to worry about where and how to get food. We want to leverage the food that’s out there, and  help distribute it in an efficient manner. 

SPM: It is remarkable that you began a nonprofit and are an entrepreneur. What advice can you give about how to become an entrepreneur, and what resources are available to help those who want to become business owners?

MDW: When it comes to entrepreneurship, I would just say just fail fast. In fact, just keep failing. It is so critical that you fail. And learn from it, though, like don’t just fail just to fail, but fail and learn.

So anyone looking to be an entrepreneur, look to fail, look to get that quick feedback. So that what you’re doing will help inform later decisions.  As you arrive at those decisions, fail again, test things out. You have to kind of be like a scientist, when you’re starting to venture. You have to try things out. Leverage mentors, find mentors, leverage resources, and test out ideas. To some degree, be obsessed about testing the ideas and validating them as far as resources that are available to those who want to be business owners. Your best resource is Google.

SPM: What can members of the community do to help you with your causes and how can they become involved?

MDW: We are setting ourselves up to launch a fundraiser to raise a few million dollars to start our first housing, first land development project, where there will be 60 homes. We also need help with marketing, our social media presence, and advisorship. Above everything else, we need help with fundraising.

SPM: Where can our readership reach you if they would like to volunteer, need resources or have any questions about your initiatives and organizations?

SPM: Readers can visit my website at, connect with me via the links at, or catch up with me on Instagram @dreamuptech or @weareagape.

SPM: Thank you, Mr. Dewitt, for the interview. I enjoyed learning about your initiatives and informing our readership of your organization so that they are aware of what community resources exist. I wish you well in your endeavors, appreciate your service to our community and also appreciate your support of Solarpunk Magazine.

MDW: Thank you for taking the time to interview me today. 

Abriana Tuller (she/her) is one of Solarpunk Magazine‘s fiction editors and is also the micro fiction editor. She is a Vegas native who has just acquired her dream job of becoming an editor for a literary magazine. Abriana has participated in education reform and has taught in her local school district. Along with having an education background, Abriana is a former journalist. Abriana, when not spending time with her two children, can be seen dancing in the store, singing at karaoke, reading a fiction novel, or writing about fictional words. 

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