A coalition of 41 corporate and educational partners from the Triangle area focused on improving science, technology, engineering and math education will share in a $1 million prize from the US2020 organization.

The winners were announced at a White House event Tuesday.

The RTP STEM Coalition was one of seven communities selected to receive a variety of resources to further advance STEM mentoring events through a national competition. Funding will be spread over six years. 

“We are so proud and delighted to have been chosen to be a grand prize winner in the pursuit of such an important goal,” said Bob Geolas, CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, which operates RTP and applied for the 2020 grant.

“Research shows that many children have an intrinsic interest in science, technology, engineering and math, but never pursue STEM careers because they have little exposure to professionals in those worlds. We here at RTP are uniquely positioned to connect those children with people who have careers in these industries and with organizations who can help us train those professionals as mentors.”

Groups from 52 areas applied for the grant. Other winners were: Allentown, Pa.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Philadelphia; San Francisco and Wichita, Kansas. 

(For more background about the RTP coalition read its “backstory”)

The seven “grand prize winners” will spend their funds to hire a local project manager and to train student mentors.

The RTP STEM Coalition’s goal is to to help as many as 200,000 students, according to a spokesperson for the group. 

Action will begin quickly, too.

The group is “lining up the Americorps folks and then we’ll be working with the 40 additional partner companies – more to come – and nonprofits, as well as the school systems in the Triangle to start mentoring in earnest in August with the start of the new school year,” the spokesperson explained.

In the first year, the RTP group expects to receive more than $300,000 in cash and prizes. Corporate donors and sponsors will provide support in succeeding years.

Corporate participants in the US2020 initiaitve include Cisco, which operates its second largest corporate campus in RTP, and Fidelity Investments. That firm also has a large campus in the Triangle.

“It has been a true honor to lead RTP’s Guiding Coalition of corporate, non-profit, and district-level school partners in moving this transformative initiative forward,” said Lisa Jemison, director of programs for the Research Triangle Foundation, in a statement. “Our partners contributed countless hours for the last eight months to get us to where we are today. It’s on their behalf and the children of North Carolina and the bright future of our state that we’re accepting our award at the White House today.”

RTP STEM Coalition Members

The members of the RTP group are:

  • BASF
  • Biogen Idec Foundation
  • Boys and Girls Club – Wake County
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund
  • Cisco
  • Citizen Schools
  • Council for Entrepreneurial Development
  • Duke University Center for Science Education
  • Durham County
  • Durham Public Schools
  • Durham-Wake Counties Research and Production Service District
  • East Durham Children’s Initiative
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Futures for Kids
  • Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines
  • Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina
  • Lenovo
  • LORD Corporation
  • Movement of Youth
  • NC Business Committee for Education
  • NC FIRST Robotics
  • NC Museum of Natural Sciences
  • NC Science Olympiad
  • North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs
  • North Carolina Central University
  • North Carolina New Schools
  • North Carolina School of Science and Math
  • North Carolina Technology Association
  • Quintiles
  • Research Triangle High School
  • Schneider Electric
  • Syngenta
  • The Science House at NC State University
  • Toshiba
  • UNC School of Medicine
  • United Therapeutics
  • US EPA
  • Wake County Public School System
  • Wake Education Partnership
  • Wake Technical Community College