Three Nonprofits Win $100K in Grants to Build Future STEM Workforce

by Monica Spehar

Three nonprofits offering programs in computer coding, game design and digital literacy were awarded grants this week from an NVIDIA-funded initiative that encourages girls and other underrepresented groups to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Hack the Hood expands tech training program.
Hack the Hood expands tech training program.

NVIDIA’s Future STEM Force grants $100,000 annually to U.S. nonprofits working to improve minority representation in tech by helping fund STEM programs in K-12 education.

Supporting STEM education is at the core of our commitment to attracting, developing and retaining great talent. Employing people with a wide variety of perspectives and experiences enriches our company. As we look to attract diverse talent, we’re also looking to support tech-focused education programs.

About 15 organizations from around the U.S. submitted proposals for Future STEM Force grants. A committee of our employees selected three finalists based on their ability to deliver high-quality content and their ability to provide a clear project timeline with dedicated goals and a plan to evaluate outcomes.

Techbridge students (left) work on a project and MESA students (right) show a vehicle they created.
Techbridge students (left) work on a project, and MESA students (right) show a vehicle they created.

The grant winners are:

Hack the Hood Boot Camp

$50,000 grant

Hack the Hood, part of the Center for Media Change, offers a six-week boot camp that teaches low-income youth of color about tech careers by training them to design and build websites for actual small business clients from the local community. In addition to hands-on learning, the students create online portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, receive career coaching and mentoring, and make field trips to tech companies. It serves more than 250 youth each year in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Techbridge Girls

$25,000 grant

Techbridge Girls plans to use its grant to offer computer science programs for 500 students attending middle and high schools in San Jose, Oakland, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Girls in grades 6-8 will code, hack and design electronic games. Girls in grades 9-12 will focus on collaborative projects to showcase next May at Maker Faire.

MESA Digital Literacy Initiative

$25,000 grant

The MESA Digital Literacy Initiative, part of the University of California, will use its grant to advance minority students and their teachers’ skills in computer programming, engineering and project development using the Arduino open source electronic prototyping platform. More than 2,200 students and teachers are expected to participate.