With careers in health care, financial services and information technology earmarked to be the fastest growing professions by 2018, nationwide efforts continue to promote STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education as critical to developing a workforce to meet those future demands. Recently, however, it has been recognized that infusing the arts into a STEM education can transform the way our youth think and learn. Adding the arts to STEM now expands education to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and creates a forward-thinking, transformative concept that builds creative thinking, analysis and problem solving skills – all vital abilities to prepare our future innovators.
With a longstanding commitment to support access to educational opportunities, the Community Foundation has identified STEAM as a new initiative to help improve the educational outcomes of our youth. This year, the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties approved $902,400 in grants to support STEAM curriculums that will reach 27,000 students.
Eleven nonprofit organizations throughout Palm Beach and Martin Counties were awarded grants for programs that integrate STEAM activities into their curriculums. The grants were made possible though The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund, an endowed fund of the Foundation which addresses needs in arts and culture, education, the environment and community development. Since 2005, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund of the Foundation has awarded $3.3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in Palm Beach and Martin Counties.
The STEAM grants were awarded to the following nonprofit organizations:
- The ARC of Martin County for an At-Risk STEM CareerTraining Project that transitions at-risk teens from school to STEM careers in healthcare.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County for the Science with an Artistic Perspective Program (SWAP) that blends the arts into an existing STEM curriculum.
- Education Foundation of Martin County for Full STEAM Ahead which expands their STEM curriculum to include arts education for students in grades K-12.
- Family Central, Inc. for Full STEAM Ahead which integrates STEAM activities in low-income child care centers.
- Florida Atlantic University Research Corporation for the Biomedical Outreach Program that prepares disadvantaged students for health professions in Florida.
- Florida Press Educational Services for the production of STEAM and You!, a free curriculum guide distributed to Palm Beach public and private schools to build awareness about STEAM.
- Habitat for Humanity, Palm Beach County for the Seminole Ridge High School Partnership Housing Project which enables students of Seminole Ridge H.S. Construction Academy to build a Habitat house.
- My Choice Community Development, Inc. for the My Choice STEAM Project designed to improve students’ knowledge and opportunities in STEAM related fields.
- Palm Beach County Cultural Council for Full STEAM Ahead which enhances student learning through outreach and integration of the arts through science at Pioneer Park Elementary School.
- Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc. for Generate Some STEAM in Afterschool that provides STEM education through engaging activities that incorporate the arts.
- Zoological Society of the Palm Beaches for the Palm Beach Zoo STEAM Program that uses distance learning technology to bring zoo animals and zoo educators into classrooms followed by field trips that bring students into the zoo environment.
About the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties
As one of Florida’s largest community foundations, the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties advances quality of life, citizen engagement, and regional vitality through its promotion of philanthropy. The Community Foundation was founded in 1972 and has total assets of more than $130 million. Last year, the Foundation awarded over $5.3 million in grants and led initiatives to address critical issues of common concern among our region’s communities, including hunger, homelessness, affordable housing, and the conservation and protection of water resources. For more information, visit our website: www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.