Wilson Foundation to address gaps in STEM knowledge
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has announced STEM 2035, an initiative to fund and offer technical assistance to existing after school and summer STEM programs in Western New York and Southeast Michigan. The foundation will award up to 20 total grants, each for up to $250,000 over a three-year period.
“The types of projects that kids encounter in after school STEM programs help build teamwork, problem solving, and communication skills, which are the kinds of skills that our fast-changing modern society needs,” said Amber Slichta, vice president of programs, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “To prepare the next generation of workforce, we not only need to close the gaps in STEM knowledge, but we also need to close the gaps that keep under-represented youth from pursuing their interests in STEM subjects.”
The initiative is programs that are ready and willing to try something new or make substantial improvements that spark interest, build confidence and create pathways in science, technology, engineering and math fields. In addition to receiving funding for their programs, grantees will become part of the STEM 2035 peer learning community. Through this group, they will receive training and technical assistance, try new evaluation tools and quality improvement strategies, collaborate and learn together.
Through STEM 2035, the foundation is looking to accomplish the following:
- Increase the number of girls and minority youth participating in STEM programs and pursuing STEM in post-secondary education, training and careers.
- Accelerate learning and collaboration among afterschool STEM providers in Western New York and Southeast Michigan to improve STEM outcomes for youth in those regions.
- Support innovative ideas that better connect, inspire and prepare 6th-12th graders for STEM in post-secondary education, training and careers.
- Improve and sustain program quality by integrating best practices to better support youth’s STEM learning experiences.
To help administer the RFP and oversee project management details, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation has partnered with CCNY Inc. Additional project partners include the PEAR Institute at Harvard, a subject matter expert in after school STEM programs, which will provide technical assistance, program assessments and support for grantees in the cohort; and Equal Measure, which has been brought on as the cohort evaluator.
Applications are due on April 13, and finalists will be notified in May.