STEM-Driven Philanthropy to Diversify Silicon Valley

maxresdefault (1)Philanthropy is an action by which an individual is driven to promote the welfare of others; sometimes through actions of humanitarianism, generous donations of money or goods, volunteerism, fund-raising, or other incredible actions that help to offer the underserved or needy the resources they require. With that said, philanthropy can function in ways other than the expected. For example, philanthropy can be used to address inequities –such as the STEM crisis.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and STEM education is the key to nation’s economic future. To ensure success, the nation needs to address the very real crisis in STEM education. There are several issues, including the visible lack of diversity, the rising costs of undergraduate education, congestion of classrooms, and academic rigidity.

Various empirical studies suggest that the U.S. is losing its competitive edge when it comes to STEM education while the rest of the world is outstripping the nation. There are issues with instruction on nearly every level within many communities, which is why Silicon Valley is monolithic. With that said, philanthropy can meet this challenge and conquer it. It’s fundamental for resolving crises and equipping young people with the proficiencies they require in order to become successful adults. Philanthropic support can grant access to resources that can quench scientific curiosity, offer academic research, and project-based learning.

The Boston Leadership Institute’s STEM Entrepreneurship is an example of a hands-on program that’s interested in offering STEM programs to high-achieving teenagers, helping them to establish a future career in STEM. There, students are asked to generate forward-thinking product ideas, they explore marketing opportunities, and they learn to write sales pitches and business plans. Once these students master the numerous stages of business and idea creation, they learn about raising capital and fundraising in order to launch and maintain a successful business. During the months of June and July, the Boston Leadership Institute will be hosting their “STEM Entrepreneurship: Because It’s Never Too Early” for young people.

To spur STEM success, hip hop artistWill.i.am and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and countless others have given funds toward programs that encourage interest in STEM. Will.i.am, known for his role as frontman for the Black Eyed Peas, founded the i.am.angel Foundation and he successfully raised $5 million to build an STEM-focused community center in East L.A. The artist is also involved with Code.org, which is an initiative that has the support of NBA player Chris Bosh, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. Code.org offers coding lessons to students, enabling to the have an opportunity to learn computer science.

SoSTEM (State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is an event facilitated by the White House, where more than a hundred young people gathered for a forum to discuss the state of STEM education.

STEM education is so important, and that’s something that individuals and businesses recognize. Putting forth the resources to ensure that growing and future generations have what they need in order to tap into success will make the difference between a thriving nation and one that leans dependently on others.