Our North Star Goals
STEM Next Opportunity Fund aims to ensure that millions underserved young people have access to high-quality STEM learning experiences by 2026 and eliminate the gender gap in STEM careers by 2035. Our focus is on the after school hours between 3 PM and 6 PM, a vital time for youth to explore their interests in an informal environment with mentors and supports. Out-of-school time also represents a prime opportunity for our work to tackle the deep-seated learning equity challenges that are holding back so many of America’s young people.
STEM Next is a uniquely situated funder. We do not fund the direct costs of STEM programs. Instead, we work with STEM organizations on the deeper systemic challenges that limit their growth and impact, including: (1) building organizational capacity through training and professional development, in STEM-specific and general youth-serving organizations, (2) supporting groundbreaking research, and (3) producing tools, resources and convenings that empower peer funders, policymakers, and education leaders.
We make targeted investments in the organizations and programs that have demonstrated impact and the potential to expand their successes. These investments contribute to an extensive infrastructure that leverages the nation’s largest youth-serving organizations, statewide afterschool networks, and STEM ecosystems.
We believe we can scale STEM learning in afterschool by:
- Infusing STEM into the existing programming of every youth development organizations, both large and small.
- Making the case for afterschool and reaching the more than 11 million young people in grades 4 through 8 who do not currently have afterschool learning opportunities.
- Developing the next generation of prototypes, frameworks, and tools that enable existing afterschool programs and informal science centers in every community in every state to provide STEM learning opportunities for young people wherever they are.
STEM Next also works to build STEM learning expertise across the country by building organizational capacity through training and professional development, supporting groundbreaking research, and producing tools and resources that empower funders, policymakers, and education leaders.