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FEATURE ARTICLE
Multi-Year Grant To VPOST Announced
October 2020

The STEM Next Opportunity Fund recently announced a multi-year grant to the Virginia Partnership for Out-of-School Time (VPOST) as part of the Million Girls Moonshot. The Intel Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have joined STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to launch the Million Girls Moonshot. The effort is designed to engage 1 million school-age girls in the United States in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities over the next five years. The organizations will provide grant funding and in-kind resources to Mott-funded afterschool networks in all 50 states to increase access to hands-on, immersive STEM learning experiences. The first year Virginia grant, just awarded, is for $5,000.

The VPOST plans to use the funds to help afterschool programs in the state provide STEM education. It will create a plan to promote activities for disseminating engineering mindset information to the field through partnership engagement. The focus of the project will be to establish a VA Million Girls Moonshot Coalition which will bring existing resources, expertise and activities together to create a statewide plan to better support OST programs in the offering of more equitable and inclusive engagement opportunities for girls in STEM activities by spreading the equity and inclusion framework, tools and resources in a deliberate, inclusive and focused fashion.

“The Million Girls Moonshot provides an extraordinary opportunity for afterschool programs in Virginia to make an enormous impact on the lives of all our youth, and particularly our girls,” said VPOST Professional Development and Quality Coordinator, Christine Jones Monaccio “The future economy of our state and our nation will rely heavily on the STEM fields, and afterschool programs are uniquely situated to help prepare our youth for those career opportunities. We’re deeply appreciative of the work of STEM Next, the Intel Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for their generous support, now and over the years.”

Just as the original moonshots of the 1960s and ’70s united the nation behind a common goal and dramatically advanced scientific achievement, the Million Girls Moonshot aims to create a national movement to change the trajectory of women and girls in STEM. Led by STEM Next Opportunity Fund, the Million Girls Moonshot will tap a range of funding and programmatic partners, including NASA, Qualcomm, Technovation, STEMconnector, National Girls Collaborative Project, Jobs For The Future (JFF), Techbridge Girls and Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

To support programs as they pivot to meet students’ needs during the pandemic, the Million Girls Moonshot is providing VPOST and other state afterschool networks with technical assistance, educational resources, access to Intel’s She Will Connect partners and mentorship from STEM experts including Intel employee volunteers.

The Million Girls Moonshot leverages more than $300 million in investments made by the Mott Foundation in the past two decades to advance afterschool programs and systems, including the development of afterschool networks in all 50 states, as well as Mizzen by Mott, an app that provides afterschool educators free access to high-quality content. Through consistent, equity-focused STEM programming and mentorship that engages girls throughout their youth, the Million Girls Moonshot will help weave together opportunities, ensuring that girls are inspired and supported to continue pursuing STEM in high school and beyond.


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