At STEM Next we want all young people to access great science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, in and out of school.
A robust STEM workforce is critical to addressing the country’s and world’s pressing challenges and keeping our economy strong. And with STEM skills, our young people can choose their path to rewarding and successful careers, where skills are in great demand, earnings are high, and unemployment is low. Of course, not everyone will become a STEM professional. But STEM skills will help all kids become critical thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and rational decision makers, preparing them to be the successful leaders, parents, and citizens of tomorrow.
STEM Next Opportunity Fund is the nation’s leader in incubating, amplifying, and scaling effective STEM learning systems in and out of school. With venture investment, we know we can scale our work to reach millions of additional high-need children.
Explore our portfolio of current and past investments below. Investors are invited to build on existing initiatives to accelerate impact, or design your own effort to advance proven collaboration, knowledge building, and scale.
Scaling up 32 states and 54 communities.
STEM Next Opportunity Fund partners with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to systemically seed and grow 32 statewide afterschool networks that seek funding and policy advances to support out-of-school STEM programs, professional development, and curriculum. STEM Next Opportunity Fund is a co-founder of the national STEM Learning Ecosystem Initiative. The initiative includes 54 communities and regions across the country working collaboratively through cross-sector partnerships to increase STEM learning in and out of school and create pathways to STEM careers. Also, STEM Next has worked with the leadership of the Every Hour Counts urban intermediaries to incorporate STEM learning in afterschool and summer linked to the Next Generation Science Standards and leveraging social-emotional learning strategies.
Creating powerful research and tools.
Noyce/STEM Next Opportunity Fund has made sustained research investments to better understand what constitutes high-quality informal STEM education. These investments were incorporated into a seminal 2015 National Academy of Sciences Board of Science Education report that noted that out-of-school STEM programs are well-suited to building interest in STEM. The report showed that STEM programs also helped young people identity as a STEM learner. These findings reinforce research cited in the President’s Advisory Council on Science and Technology in its 2010 report to the President, also funded by Noyce.
STEM Next Opportunity Fund supports and disseminates new ground-breaking research. With an innovative research design, a team from the PEAR Institute at Harvard University and McLean Hospital and IMMAP: Institute for Measurement, Methodology, Analysis & Policy at Texas Tech University surveyed nearly 1,600 youth and their program leaders in 160 programs across 11 states. They collected and analyzed data from observations of programs, student self-assessment and teacher/facilitator questionnaires to create a fascinating new look into STEM in afterschool.
Reaching 18 million youth.
STEM Next Opportunity Fund is forging the first-ever national partnership among the leading youth-serving organizations (4H, YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Girls Inc.), focused on embedding high-quality STEM programming into the most under-served and unserved communities. With increased capacity and collective vision and strategy, these partners effectively provide quality STEM programming infused with positive youth development principles and strategies.
STEM Next is engaging learners everywhere by:
- ACRES is a powerful group-coaching program created by the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA). Afterschool providers learn and practice six skills that are key to facilitating STEM programs with youth. Officially recognized by President Obama, the program is currently offering PD at no cost to participants or coaches.Read more
- Girl Scouts is a leadership development organization for girls with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, offering every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. Girl Scouts takes the potential of girls, combines it with robust skill-building programming, and adds caring adult mentors and strong female role models. Everything a Girl Scout does centers around STEM, the outdoors, development of life skills, and entrepreneurship, and is designed to meet girls where they are now.Read more
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Four of the nation’s largest youth development organizations – the Boys & Girls Club of America, the National 4-H Council, YMCA of the USA and Girls Inc. – have formed a multi-year partnership to jointly tackle the challenge of engaging under-represented youth in STEM learning. This groundbreaking new partnership is called Imagine Science. The goal of Imagine Science is to collaboratively bring STEM programming to community-based sites across the nation at times and places where options are typically limited. By 2020, Imagine Science will inspire millions of under- and un-served youth to engage in STEM through new, high quality informal stem learning opportunities never before offered to them.
- Supported by the STEM Funders Network, the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative is built on over a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations, and seeks to nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for all young people. The 56 communities from across the United States have demonstrated cross-sector collaborations that will create new models for delivering rigorous, effective preK-16 instruction in STEM learning. These collaborations happen in schools and beyond the classroom—in afterschool and summer programs, at home, in science centers, libraries and other places both virtual and physical. STEM Next serves as the home of the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative.Read more
- Since 2009, the Noyce Foundation and now STEM Next has made significant investments in statewide afterschool networks to develop statewide systems to support informal science in afterschool. The Noyce Foundation began to formally collaborate with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in 2012 to leverage their investments and build off the existing network infrastructure in order to expand the availability of quality STEM in afterschool and summer and impact more students across the country. Through this joint venture, 32 states are working to build STEM state systems. This continued investment builds a solid foundation for states to sustain the work beyond the two foundations through public and private state investments along with the incorporation of informal science within larger STEM learning efforts.Read more
- Students today need more ways to learn so they are prepared for college and career. But the young people who most need additional learning opportunities are least likely to have them. Every Hour Counts is a coalition of citywide organizations that increase access to quality learning opportunities, particularly for underserved students. Our approach — called an expanded-learning system — coordinates the work of service providers, public agencies, funders, and schools, so dollars stretch farther and more young people are served. The result: students with better attendance, grades, and test scores; stronger work habits; and more positive social behaviors.Read more
- The Afterschool STEM Hub is a collaboration among afterschool leaders and stakeholders to provide coordinated messaging and communications that impact advocacy and policy and help ensure the important place of afterschool programs in the STEM learning ecosystem. Led by the Afterschool Alliance, the STEM Hub is funded by STEM Next. It includes the following members: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, ExpandED Schools by TASC, PEAR—the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency, Techbridge, OregonASK, National AfterSchool Association, National 4-H Council, National Girls Collaborative Project, Association of Science-Technology Centers, Indiana Afterschool Network, Girls Inc., Every Hour Counts and the Exploratorium.Read more
- PEAR's mission is to create and foster school and afterschool settings in which all young people can be successful. PEAR takes a developmental approach to the study of new models of effective afterschool programming, and has lead the formation of the Dimensions of Success observation tool (DoS) and the Common Instrument Suite. DoS defines twelve indicators of STEM program quality in out-of-school time and allows researchers, practitioners, funders, and other stakeholders to track the quality of STEM learning opportunities while pinpointing strengths and weaknesses. Separately, the Common Instrument Suite is a simple, easy to administer survey for youth 10 years or older that includes 10 self-report items to assess child and adolescent interest, engagement, persistence and skill development in STEM programs.Read more
- Click2SciencePD is an interactive, just-in-time professional development site for trainers, coaches, site directors and frontline staff/volunteers working in out-of-school time STEM programs serving children and youth. The foundation of Click2Science is its 20 Skills to Make STEM Click, based on established frameworks and standards that are essential to help staff and volunteers without a STEM background facilitate quality STEM experiences effectively in out-of-school time settings.Read more
- The Y is a leading nonprofit organization for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. With a focus on nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving the nation’s health and well-being and providing opportunities to give back and support neighbors, the Y enables youth, adults, families and communities to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. The Y engages 9 million youth and 13 million adults each year in the U.S.Read more
- Girls Inc. inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through direct service and advocacy. Their comprehensive approach to whole girl development equips girls to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated, and independent. These positive outcomes are achieved through three core elements: people - trained staff and volunteers who build lasting, mentoring relationships; environment - girls-only, physically and emotionally safe, where there is a sisterhood of support, high expectations, and mutual respect; and programming - research-based, hands-on and minds-on, age-appropriate, meeting the needs of today’s girls. Informed by girls and their families, they also advocate for legislation and policies to increase opportunities for all girls.Read more
- National 4‑H Council is committed to providing leadership and resources so that 4‑H programs are available to youth across the US. National 4‑H Council supports national and state 4‑H programs with a focus on fundraising, brand management, communications, and legal and fiduciary services.Read more
- NAA is the membership association for professionals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during out-of-school hours. NAA is working to assure that the vision of high-quality learning experiences for all children and youth, both in and out of school, becomes a reality through the application of the NAA core competencies in afterschool programs. NAA recognizes that quality afterschool programs provide positive child and youth development and meet a critical need for keeping kids safe and families productively employed. NAA understands that families need a wide range of interesting and age-appropriate programming choices to be available and accessible when their children are not in school.Read more
- The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing summer learning opportunities for all youth. NSLA offers expertise and support for programs and communities and advocates for summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education.Read more
- ExpandED Schools is a nonprofit dedicated to its mission of closing the learning gap by increasing access to enriched education experiences. ExpandED Schools works on the ground to support schools, and also works with partners of all kinds to change public policy and build sustainable public funding to expand learning opportunities across the nation.Read more
- Hosted by the Noyce Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the inaugural Afterschool STEM Summit brought together leaders from STEM industries, higher education and afterschool organizations, policymakers and philanthropists from all 50 states with a focus on nurturing existing public-private partnerships, and generating new ones. Participants explored new and creative solutions to the challenge of expanding afterschool STEM learning for all young people. Speakers included Dr. Jo Handelsman, Associate Director of Science, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; Dr. John King, Acting Secretary of Education; Victor Cruz, NY Giants; Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH); Rep. Joaquin Castro (TX-20); Rep. Katherine Clark (MA-5); Rep. Christopher Gibson (NY-19); Elaina Watley, Victor Cruz Foundation; Jim Gordon, Group Vice President of Corporate Brand and Reputation, Time Warner Cable; Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations, Google; Diana Oo, Senior Director of Global Public Policy, Comcast NBCUniversal; Kevin Washington, CEO and President of YMCA of the USA; Reginald McGregor, Manager, Engineering Employee Development, Research & Technology Strategy at Rolls-Royce Corporation; Nona Carroll, Program Director, Maryland Business Roundtable for Education; Colleen McCreary, Managing Director, CCKPartners; State Sen. Adam Morfeld (NE); and Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance.Read more
- This multimedia MessageMemo is directed toward leaders and advocates to provide them with practical messages and tools for making the STEM education case, especially for out-of-school time STEM learning. The MessageMemo creates an evidentiary base to identify the most effective ways of communicating about STEM education. The strategies detailed here have been tested for their ability to improve and deepen public understanding about STEM learning in both informal and formal education contexts and increase support for key reforms in this domain. The memo summarizes an extensive body of empirical research that shows the power of a robust explanatory communication strategy in deepening public understanding about STEM in both informal and formal contexts. This research was conducted by the FrameWorks Institute and sponsored by the Noyce Foundation.Read more