Weekly Feature

2018-09-13 / Business

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation announces STEM 2035 cohort

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation has announced its cohort for STEM 2035, a $5.5-million initiative through which grant funding and technical assistance will be provided to existing afterschool and summer science, technology, engineering and math programs in Western New York and Southeast Michigan.

Community Connections of NY, a nonprofit management services organization, is overseeing the STEM 2035 initiative for the foundation. A funding announcement was distributed earlier this year, and after receiving more than 100 applications from across the foundation’s two regions of focus, CCNY has awarded grants to the following organizations, each for up to $250,000 over a three-year span:

• Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. (Detroit, Michigan)

• Downtown Boxing Gym (Detroit, Michigan)

• EcoWorks (Detroit, Michigan)

• Leslie Science & Nature Center (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

• Michigan Science Center (Detroit, Michigan)

• The Baldwin Center (Pontiac, Michigan)

• Buffalo Maritime Center

• Buffalo Museum of Science, Tifft Nature Preserve

• Challenger Learning Center of Lockport

• Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County (Warsaw, New York)

• Do It, Dream It WNY Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier (Jamestown, New York)

• Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum (North Tonawanda)

• Mission Ignite

• Portville Central School (Portville, New York)

• Wellsville Central School District (Wellsville, New York)

• Westminster Economic Development Initiative

• YMCA of Greater Rochester

Grantees were selected based on a variety of factors, including their focus on middle and high school girls and underrepresented groups in the STEM field and innovative approaches to program expansion or new programming.

The STEM 2035 cohort kickoff meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 3, and Thursday, Oct. 4, in Detroit. In addition to receiving funding for their programs, grantees will also be a 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.

The PEAR Institute at Harvard, a subject matter expert in afterschool STEM programs, will provide technical assistance, program assessments and support for grantees in the STEM 2035 cohort.

Additional project partners include Equal Measure, which will serve as the cohort evaluator and provide insights into how the peer learning community contributes to quality improvement, knowledge exchange and better outcomes for youth.

“Young people have a bright future in science, technology, engineering and math fields, but we have to rigorously support them to engage, gain knowledge and develop skills,” said Gil Noam, founder and director of The PEAR Institute at Harvard.

To learn more about STEM 2035, visit www.comconnectionsny.com/STEM.

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