Motorola Solutions Foundation Calling for STEM Education Proposals

The corporate foundation of the Illinois-based telecommunications company is inviting science and engineering education programs to apply for up to $250,000 in funding each. Proposals are only accepted over walkie-talkie or Razr flip phone. 

Just kidding. You can apply online. The foundation just announced that it’s accepting proposals for the 2014 Innovation Generation Grants Program, one of the corporate foundation’s signature STEM education initiatives. The deadline for proposals is April 11 and awards are announced June 30. 

The Innovation Generation grants are meant to promote awareness of science, technology, engineering and math fields through hands-on experiences, with an emphasis on engaging underrepresented minorities and girls. The program also funds vocational and technical skills education. While priority is given to projects that benefit the communities where Motorola Solutions operates, national or regional programs are also awarded grants with preference given to proposals that benefit the most young people. The communities targeted are around Schaumburg, Ill., Plantation, Fla., Long Island, N.Y., Columbia, Md., San Jose, Calif., and Toronto, Ontario. 

Motorola Solutions Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the corporation, and like many tech companies, it devotes most of its giving to a cause very near and dear to its workforce—STEM careers and the lagging interest among American students. The foundation gives about $18 million a year and around 100 grants, including support for museums, scholarships, public school districts, and youth programs. 

The Innovation Generation program has given out more than $34 million since it started in 2007. The grants are separated into two categories, local and national. Local grants are up to $60,000 and are restricted to the company’s communities listed above. National grants go up to $250,000 and go toward large-scale projects that will benefit at least 150 people. 

As the grant guidelines suggest, projects that benefit girls and underrepresented communities have been prioritized in past rounds of giving. Groups like the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Informational Technology recently won support. And informal science education programs for girls, such as the Girl Scouts Robotics Program and Girlstart are previous grantees. 

Locally, museums and science centers seem to catch the foundation’s eye. One last tip: Any plans to take a small-scale, successful program, and build it out to have a larger impact will be well-received.

Read more IP coverage about the Motorola Solutions Foundation here, and read our profile of foundation Director Matt Blakely here.

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