The demand for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals is growing rapidly while at the same time inequities and gaps in education and afterschool programming are preventing certain youth from having access to engaging STEM opportunities. Ensuring that underrepresented and underserved students are exposed to hands-on STEM learning experiences and educated about future career opportunities that are available to them in these fields is vital. To ensure greater access and reduce inequalities, FIRST® is providing funds to communities through the FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant. This grant is designed to support communities in providing greater access to quality STEM experiences for targeted students in grades K-12. The collaboration, training and technical assistance provided will enable community leaders in up to 15 communities in the United States and Canada the ability to:
- Map existing community resources and identify service gaps or other unmet needs,
- Provide the supports and resources necessary in underserved communities to increase access to FIRST programs and/or develop models for inclusive practices, and
- Create the metrics to drive continuous improvement.
The funding period begins in June 2016 and concludes on June 30, 2017. Grants will range from $5,000 to $50,000 with an average award of $25,000. We are encouraging coalitions to develop innovative outreach approaches in participating communities. Coalitions are groups of two or more entities in shared action. A non-FIRST entity is required to serve as the anchor entity/organization. For example, a coalition could consist of a local nonprofit, a school district and a local or regional FIRST organization. Grants may cover costs for coalition capacity-building and meeting the needs of students participating in the proposed activities including tools, materials and robot kits, registration fees, stipends, travel, food and other expenses essential to planning.
This grant is made possible as a part of the FIRST Diversity and Inclusion initiative with generous support from our Sponsors: Microsoft, Boeing and others.
Letters of intent deadline: March 11, 2016.