Captain Planet Foundation: Grants for STEM Education

OVERVIEW: The Captain Planet Foundation is dedicated to the environmental education of children in all aspects of their lives—schools, communities, and at home.

IP TAKE: The Captain Planet Foundation unquestionably has an environmental education focus, but it also unquestionably supports environmental education programs that rigorously engage in science. Its grant amounts aren't large, but can provide valuable supplementation for a project that engages youth (primarily the K-12 set).

PROFILE: Established by media mogul Ted Turner in 1991 (with his daughter Laura Turner Seydel, now chairwoman of the board), the Captain Planet Foundation seeks "to give the next generation of environmental stewards an active understanding and love for the natural world in which they live." The foundation invests in environmental and STEM education. 

Captain Planet funds science education through three programs. Its Project Learning Garden program "provides schools with outdoor learning laboratories" and focuses on innovative project-based learning. Its Project Hero program is a "web-based learning system that guides young people on a series of “Quests”" that help students learn how to become active solution seekers to various environmental problems. Lastly, also informed by the latest research regarding learning outcomes, the CPF Institute supports "educators and increasing their capacity to involve students in investigating natural phenomena, exploring evidence, solving authentic problems, and making a difference in the real world."  The CPF foundation also offers ecoTech, echoSTEM, and ecoSolution grants, each with their own evolving specifics. Ultimately, the Captain Planet Foundation seeks to foster the growth of environmentally-minded citizens and leaders, and in its history of giving shows substantial support of programs rigorously and actively using science and technology.

Grants range from $1,000 to $2,500. Recent Captain Planet Foundation grants have supported a wide range of innovative initiatives that rigorously integrate science education and STEM learning, all with an eye toward experiential, project-based, and place-based environmental education (those that include leadership building are also valued). A small sampling of recent awards includes support for projects focused on science in the Ozarks; investigation of urban ponds; construction of a aquaponics system; and a wetlands' renewable energy expansion project. 

Captain Planet Foundation grants are awarded twice annually. Grantseekers can begin the process on the foundation's application page; grantseekers should also periodically checking the foundation's calls for proposals


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