STEM education is an important priority in American schools. In case you are unfamiliar with it, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These disciplines and the technological innovations that go along with them are responsible in some way for almost half the economic growth seen in the United States over the last fifty years. And here’s another important statistic for you. Almost all of the thirty fastest growing occupations forecast over the next ten years will require a basic understanding of STEM subjects.
But guess where we currently rank in the international STEM pool? While at one time our kids led the world in STEM subjects, today’s students are being left in the dust by the children of other countries. Students from the United States now only rank 17th in science and 25th in math. If left unchecked, our children will be faced with a frightening future in tomorrow’s technology-based job market. So what is being done about it?
In 2009, the Obama Administration launched a STEM education initiative called Educate to Innovate. In addition to an increase in Federal STEM spending, the program encourages the formation of public-private partnerships between the government and the corporations that stand to benefit most from improving education. The corporations below are just a few of those with a commitment to investing in STEM education. They provide much-needed grants that invest in the future of our American workforce.
American Honda Foundation
The Honda Corporation started this foundation in 1984 to celebrate its 25th anniversary in the United States, and has provided over $27 million in funding to the causes it supports. The company has long embraced philanthropic ventures as part of its corporate mission and vision. Honda is a company that wants to be known for more than just making cars, but for its contribution to the future of humanity as well. Youth and educational opportunities are on the forefront of the Honda Foundation’s radar. STEM education is its major focus. The Honda Foundation offers grants that range in size from $20,000 to $75,000. Grant requests are handled quarterly with deadlines in February, May, August and November. Application is handled online. To start that process, complete this online eligibility quiz.
Toshiba America Foundation
The Toshiba America Foundation began in 1990 to help fund teacher innovation in the areas of mathematics and science. It believes that math and science can be fun and that all children can learn these subjects if given an ample opportunity. The foundation funds project based learning opportunities. While Toshiba is a computer company, its foundation does not accept grant requests for computers. It offers two separate grant applications depending on grade level. Elementary school classrooms can receive a $1,000 grant. Applications for grades K-5 are only accepted once a year by October 1. Middle school and high school classrooms can receive much larger amounts of funding. Grades 6-12 can apply year round as long as they request less than $5,000. You may request more than $5,000, but these larger grants are only reviewed two times per year on February 1 and August 1.
Toyota USA Foundation
The Toyota USA Foundation also provides STEM education funding with a specific focus on mathematics and science. It offers its grants to organizations located in and serving the United States only. The application process does not impose deadlines and therefore accepts grant requests on a rolling basis. The foundation can take up to six months to review and respond to your application, however, so be sure to factor that in to your plans. The Toyota USA Foundation supports innovative solutions for math and science education. It specifically seeks to fund programs that:
- Develop the potential of both students and educators through innovation and creativity.
- Incorporate a broad-based learning approach.
- Show high success potential through cost-conscious solutions.
The Toyota USA Foundation offers rather large grants that currently range in size from $50,000 to $200,000. A full list of exclusions of what funding cannot be used for is listed on the foundation’s website. If you have an innovative project and wish to apply, all you have to do to get started is fill out this online grant application form.