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FIRST® Announces 2018 STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant Winners

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Twelve Communities Receive Grants to Provide Hands-on Learning and
Problem-Solving Opportunities to Underserved and Underrepresented
Students

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
today announced 12 grants to address inequities in access to science and
technology. The grants will support communities with underserved and
underrepresented students and help them develop new, innovative
approaches to tackle the education gap.

FIRST launched its STEM
Equity Community Innovation Grants
program in 2016 to provide
diverse and disadvantaged students and communities with hands-on
learning opportunities and outlets for creative problem solving. Grants
range from $5,000 to $50,000, with an average of $35,000, and evaluation
criteria include community need, demographics, increases in diversity,
execution strength, track record of reaching targeted students and the
value of the activities proposed. To date, FIRST has awarded
nearly $1.2 million to more than 38 communities across the United States
and Canada.

"Access to STEM education, mentorship and learning resources has
powerful implications for a student's future, but too many young people
lack these valuable tools," said Donald E. Bossi, president of FIRST.
"With these resources, we hope more educators and community leaders are
able to galvanize students of all backgrounds to aspire for more and
reach their full potentials."

FIRST Equity, Diversity and Inclusion sponsors include
Apple, Arconic Foundation, Qualcomm Incorporated, Bosch, Caterpillar,
Cisco, Cognizant, The Dow Chemical Company, Fidelity Charitable, GM,
GitHub, John Deere, Verizon, and individual donors, among others.
Grantees will receive resources and support from FIRST as
they develop their programs.

The 2018 FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant award
winners include:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Georgia (Rome, Georgia): The
    organization will expand its robotics program to three area youth
    clubs. By serving an additional 260 underserved and underrepresented
    students, it will offer greater exposure and more participation of
    STEM activities and hands-on training.
  • Brooklyn Public Library (Brooklyn, New York): Brooklyn Public
    Library will increase the reach of its Brooklyn Robotics League from
    59 to 188 teams, serving 472 area youth. Teens and children will learn
    to build, code and program robots while also developing conflict
    resolution, strategic planning and teamwork skills.
  • Detroit Police Athletic League (Detroit, Michigan): The
    organization plans to expand its FIRST®
    LEGO® League
    and FIRST®
    Tech Challenge
    programs to give more Detroit youth the opportunity
    to gain STEM training. The 10 new teams across both programs will
    reach 250 students.
  • East Harlem Tutorial Program (East Harlem, New York): A
    coalition between the East Harlem Tutorial Program and the East Harlem
    Scholar Academies will create three FIRST LEGO League teams of
    30 students to help develop essential skills such as mechanical and
    electrical engineering, pneumatics systems and Java programming.
  • Father Maloney's Boys and Girls Haven, Inc. (Louisville, Kentucky): Father
    Maloney's Boys and Girls Haven is a residential program
    providing a home and future to many of Kentucky's most vulnerable
    young people. The program will grow its STEM initiative to include
    four additional FIRST Tech Challenge teams and a new FIRST®
    Robotics Competition
    team.
  • Knowledge is Power Program – KIPP NYC (New York, New York): By
    creating FIRST LEGO League teams in six elementary schools and
    six middle schools, KIPP NYC will help close the achievement gap for
    approximately 122 students in low-income communities.
  • Milwaukee Public Schools (Milwaukee, Wisconsin): The Milwaukee
    Public Schools will create 10 FIRST®
    LEGO® League Jr.
    teams at seven schools and seven FIRST
    LEGO League teams at eight schools, serving nearly 500 students.
  • Public Schools of Robeson County (Lumberton, North Carolina): The
    1-2-3-Full STEAM Ahead initiative will create 216 FIRST LEGO
    League teams as part of the system's in-classroom curriculum, reaching
    more than 1,200 students.
  • Special Olympics (Seattle, Washington): The organization will
    engage 30 teams within its Unified Robotics program. This
    first-of-its-kind program brings the sport of robotics to 60 high
    school students with and without intellectual disabilities, uniting
    them as teammates and competitors on the field of play.
  • St. Martin Parish (Breaux Bridge, Louisiana): St. Martin Parish
    will help create FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League
    Jr. teams for predominately African American and socioeconomically
    challenged students from three schools.
  • Young Women's Leadership Network (New York, New York): This
    network will establish FIRST Robotics Competition teams at five
    schools and boost its STEM programming to serve 1,085 young women in
    grades 6-8.
  • YouthLink (Seneca, South Carolina): YouthLink STEM Academy will
    create additional FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO
    League Jr. teams, reaching more than 1,100 underserved and
    underrepresented area students.

The 2019 FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant application
process will open in the fall of this year, and grants will be awarded
to a mix of current and new recipients. More information will become
available at www.firstinspires.org.

About FIRST®
Accomplished
inventor Dean
Kamen
 founded FIRST® (For
Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to
inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based
in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible,
innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills
while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science,
technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune
500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the
not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics
Competition
 for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech
Challenge
 for Grades 7-12; FIRST®LEGO® League for
Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League
Jr. 
for Grades K-4. Gracious
Professionalism
® is a way of doing things that encourages
high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects
individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go
to www.firstinspires.org.

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