Indiana school districts now have an opportunity to provide all of their elementary through high schools a robotics team by applying for a Robotics Start-Up Grant through TechPoint Foundation for Youth’s (TPF4Y) State Robotics Initiative.
TPF4Y said returning funding partners together will provide more than 50% percent of what’s needed to fully fund equipment and training provided to recipients of the Robotics Start-Up Grant. Guggenheim Life and Annuity committed $260,000 and the Indiana Department of Education is providing $75,000.
“These programs are giving kids the skills necessary for success in the future,” said TPF4Y’s Vice President of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Education George Giltner. “For girls, who studies show tend to abandon STEM subjects as they get into middle and high school, it’s even more important to keep them involved in these hand-on STEM-related types of activities.”
Because needs for the program never end, fundraising continues throughout the year. TPF4Y staff recently sought support at TechPoint’s 2020 Mira Award celebration and are currently working with the Indy Tech Gives campaign.
The foundation is grateful for support from the support of Guggenheim and the state Department of Education, Giltner said, calling the commitment “crucial” in encouraging more donors to support TPF4Y and its programs.
Guggenheim and Indy Women in Tech (IWiT) were among the Foundation’s early supporters and have been title sponsors of the State Robotics Initiative since its inception.
“We are in the midst of exceptionally trying times, but we see the TechPoint Foundation for Youth is an investment in the future that we can’t afford to curtail,” said Karen Maginn, SVP of Marketing at Guggenheim Life and Annuity and IWiT Chair.
“TechPoint Foundation for Youth is literally building the talent for the workforce that we’ll need to make this world a better place in the future through their programs.”
The TPF4Y robotics program has proven highly popular in lower grades, growing by 835% in the last four years. Indiana now has more than 1,800 teams in those grades which is more than any other state in the U.S. Costs for an elementary school-level robotics team are about $600 and about $1,200 for the more complex robotics at the high school level.
The robotics program was launched in 2016 by TPF4Y with initial funding from partners such as the Guggenheim Life and Annuity, Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Herbert Simon Family Foundation, and long-time partners Roche Diagnostics and Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.
Through it, TPF4Y provides grants, professional development, and hosts the largest state robotics competition in the country for Indiana schools and students. The grant program for Indiana schools accounts for nearly 40% of the entire robotics program budget, which also includes the annual Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship and staff salaries. This initiative has helped impact over 36,000 Hoosier students last year.
For more information, visit www.TechPointYouth.org/robots.
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