The Fantastic Way Biogen Idec Foundation Funds STEM Education

It seems that cutting-edge biotechnology company Biogen Idec is starting to train and groom a brand new generation of employees and supporters. The company's philanthropy foundation recently awarded its largest single grant in history to Boston's Museum of Science to encourage students to get interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Biogen's $1 million grant, which establishes the endowed "Biogen Idec Foundation Science Education Fund," certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed in the scientific community. (Read Biogen Idec Foundation executive director, Kara DiGiacomo's IP profile).

The funds for this grant, which are targeted at middle and high school students from diverse ethnic backgrounds, are being spread out during the next five years. The grant money will be going towards a High School Lecture Series for about 2,000 participants each year and a Traveling Programs initiative for an estimated 100,000 participants each year. These programs are linked to Massachusetts curriculum standards and aim to cut the high transportation costs associated with competing scientific opportunities.

"The Museum and the Biogen Idec Foundation will also provide students with hands-on experiences that strengthen their interest in STEM subjects and careers,” commented Ioannis Miaoulis, President and Director of the Museum of Science in a press release. "This endowment is especially important, as it provides the Museum with a reliable income source in perpetuity that enables us to implement and achieve far-reaching goals."

While Biogen has an obvious vested interest in persuading young minds to pursue STEM careers, the foundation is just one of many shoveling grant dollars into the Museum of Science. One of the city's other philanthropic heavy hitters, the Yawkey Foundation, recently awarded a whopping $10 million grant to the Museum of Science. Since 2008, the Biogen Idec Foundation has put some of its $5 billion in annual revenues towards grants, in hopes of getting diverse and underserved community students interested in science careers. In addition to the larger Transforming Science Education grants, Biogen regularly awards $250 to $2,500 micro-grants to individual schools and nonprofit organizations for specific programs.

Even if your nonprofit is completely unrelated to science education, you shouldn't write Biogen off. The foundation's giving strategy has more recently expanded to include focus areas like homelessness, disaster recovery assistance, and the arts. But your organization had better operate where Biogen operates. The foundation only offers support to organizations in Greater Boston, Massachusetts, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and San Diego, California. Biogen has a pretty straightforward grant application process and reviews grant proposals on a quarterly basis throughout the year. To get started, complete the Eligibility Confirmation form online and contact foundation@biogenidec.com with further questions.