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The demand for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals is growing rapidly. At the same time, inequities and gaps in education and afterschool programs are preventing many young people from having access to engaging and transformative STEM education experiences. It is essential that underrepresented and underserved students are exposed to hands-on STEM learning programs. And education about future career opportunities available to them in these fields is vital. To ensure greater access and to reduce inequalities, FIRST® is providing funding, training, and program implementation support to up to 15 underserved communities in the United States and Canada through the FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant.

This grant is designed to support communities seeking to provide greater access to quality STEM experiences for students in grades K-12.

The collaboration, training and technical assistance provided will empower community leaders to:

  • Map existing community resources and identify service gaps or other unmet needs,
  • Provide the support 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 July 2017 and concludes on June 30, 2018. 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 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.

Notifications of Intent (NOI) to apply is due on January 20, 2017. All NOIs must be received by 11:59 PM Eastern Time in order to be considered. No late submissions will be accepted. For selected communities, the final proposal deadline is March 15, 2017. All communities will be notified by May 31, 2017.


View our informational webinar about this grant.  


This grant is made possible as a part of FIRST® Diversity and Inclusion with generous support from our Sponsors:

Arconic Foundation, Qualcomm, Inc., New York City individuals, and others