Leading the country by percentage of profit donated last year was metals producer Alcoa, giving an impressive 12 percent away. Let's take a look at Alcoa's STEM giving, one of its two major priorities.
Earlier this year, Cambridge-based biotechnology company Biogen Idec showed how big it could take its local STEM education giving with a $2.5 million grant to Boston’s Museum of Science. Now they’re taking things to a smaller, community level by funding a local makerspace for teens.
Freescale, a Motorola spinoff that’s now the seventh-largest semiconductor seller in the U.S., has joined the club of tech companies funding science education. Grants so far are mostly in the Southwest, but also for national programs.
Part of the difficulty of getting kids into science, tech, engineering and math is the stuffy lab coat image, the idea that it’s just for the nerds or the smartest kids. What if you could replace that image with the maker culture’s DIY, mad scientist ethos, complete with robots and tesla coils? At least one prominent IT company’s philanthropy arm wants to give it shot.
In giving for science education, there are some foundations and initiatives looking to sweep the nation with massive coordinated efforts. And then there are others simply trying to help worthy and innovative organizations to make a difference with kids in their own backyards. American Honda Foundation is firmly in the latter camp, making mid-range, five-figure grants with a soft spot for informal education programs.