The Motorola Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT), today announced the 2010 grant recipients of its signature Innovation Generation program, which provides more than $7.5 million to K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs across the country.
Now in its fourth year, the program builds on President Barack Obama's 'Educate to Innovate' campaign and federal initiatives like the Race to the Top Fund by incorporating funding, employee volunteers and intra-grantee collaboration to help boost American students' engagement in math and science.
'These grants not only help ensure that we are adequately building a pipeline of critical thinkers, but also bring together diverse organizations to create new partnerships and spur innovative thinking and programming,' said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation.
The grants will be awarded during the second annual Motorola Foundation Innovation Generation Network Conference -- keynoted by former NASA astronaut and STEM leader Sally Ride -- on July 12-13, which convenes the full network of grantees and provides a forum to share best practices, leverage resources and cultivate an informed front line of advocates. This Innovation Generation network provides an unparalleled opportunity to leverage a national system of peers eager to advance U.S. STEM education. Already, partnerships created within the network have resulted in new programming, with several receiving grants this year.
Innovation Generation grants support six distinct areas around STEM education, including programs that:
- Engage students and teachers in innovative, hands-on activities, including the FabFems Project -- an Innovation Generation Collaborative Grant -- which is translating Smith College's STEM content into a widely available cyber-learning environment and support system to be distributed across the National Girls Collaborative Project network. The initiative engages girls, female educators and STEM professionals in a nationwide network of STEM expertise.
- Teach STEM and develop innovative thinking and creative problem-solving skills, such as the John G. Shedd Aquarium's Underwater Robotics program, which teaches STEM principles through building a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to investigate aquatic environments.
- Represent new models and have been operating for less than two years, such as GameDesk, Inc.'s initiative to engage minority youth to engineer their own games in teams, utilizing inspiration from their personal lives and high-level math and technology concepts.
- Focus on girls and minorities that are currently underrepresented in the STEM disciplines, such as the Girl Scouts of the USA, which provides financial support, robotics and engineering activities, peer mentoring and adult training to the more than 200 Girl Scout teams that participate in the FIRST Robotics competition each year.
- Take place in communities with Motorola employees, such as The Field Museum's Early Elementary Science Partnership (E2SP) -- an Innovation Generation Collaborative Grant with Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Northwestern University, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Children's Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo -- which is working with CPS staff and students to address teacher weaknesses in science education. By partnering with the museum, E2SP directly links scientific resources to professional development.
- Support environment-focused learning, such as Sustainable South Bronx's FabLab program, which offers resources to local designers and entrepreneurs interested in designing products from waste streams, creating economic opportunity in the under-served area of South Bronx.
This year, bolstered by a 50 percent increase in funding commitments from the Motorola Foundation, there are 114 grantees. Of these, nearly two-thirds are new programming supported by Innovation Generation.
'We're proud to add even more break-through programs to our network, including some that might not have been possible without our assistance,' Sweeney adds. 'We must continue to invest in fresh approaches and new thinking -- that is the core of innovation.'
'Traditional approaches to science education are failing to ensure access for students of color, girls and students who are poor, despite decades of interventions aimed at leveling the playing field,' said Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, co-founder and executive director, Project Exploration. 'Motorola's Innovation Generation grant has supported Project Exploration's unique personalized approach, which combines science education and youth development to offer a model for engaging students of color and girls as well as students who are struggling academically with science.'
The Innovation Generation program is a part of the company's larger commitment to developing the next generation of STEM leaders. Motorola has provided more than $20.5 million to STEM programs since 2007 to enable students to invent and learn as part of hands-on, interactive after-school programs, science and math clubs, camps and mentoring programs. The Foundation's key focuses include engaging girls and under-represented minorities -- one of the major obstacles in U.S. STEM achievement -- as well as leveraging the skills and expertise of its employees to translate knowledge and inspiration to others.
Through its 'Innovators' employee volunteer program, which pairs a Motorola employee with each of the non-profits receiving Innovation Generation grants, Motorola is able to provide ongoing support for grantees beyond simply funding their projects.
For a full list of grant recipients or to learn more about the Motorola Foundation's Innovation Generation program, please visit www.motorola.com/giving/innovationgeneration.
Motorola is known around the world for innovation in communications and is focused on advancing the way the world connects. From broadband communications infrastructure, enterprise mobility and public safety solutions to mobile and wireline digital communication devices that provide compelling experiences, Motorola is leading the next wave of innovations that enable people, enterprises and governments to be more connected and more mobile. Motorola (NYSE: MOT) had sales of US $22 billion in 2009. For more information, please visit www.motorola.com.
About Motorola Foundation
The Motorola Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola. With employees located around the globe, Motorola seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. Motorola Foundation focuses its funding on education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information on Motorola Corporate and Foundation giving, visit www.motorola.com/giving or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.