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From Meeting to Impact: How a Funder Offered a New Path for STEM Education

Saskia Traill

Saskia Traill is Senior Vice President of Policy & Research at ExpandED Schools. 

What happens when a foundation offers a one-year, $25,000 grant to a network of STEM educators and leaders? It shouldn’t be surprising that the answer is: innovation.

The NYC STEM Education Network was formed in 2012 with about 30 STEM learning providers, STEM-rich cultural institutions, city agencies (including DOE and DYCD) and youth-serving organizations that offered school-based after-school programs. The Pinkerton Foundation, which provided the original grant, issued a challenge: develop at least one collaborative project that delivers engaging STEM programming to a substantial number of disadvantaged young people.

Our latest report, From Meeting to Impact, (co-written with The Pinkerton Foundation) describes how this one small investment spurred large-scale, cross-sector collaboration, resulting in richer opportunities for New York City’s young people to learn STEM skills like problem solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork. The national STEM learning ecosystems initiative supported by the STEM Funders Network aims to foster similar cross-sector collaborations throughout the country. By giving ideas time to grow, letting partnerships grow in a comfortable way, and sharing ownership, funders are offering new paths to reimagine STEM learning opportunities for children.

Read more about the Network and discover lessons for grantmakers here.



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