GSK announces over $1M for local nonprofits to increase equity in STEM education and careers; Grants include funding for online science during pandemic
Investments will support in-school, out-of-school and career training programs
PHILADELPHIA _ Global healthcare company GSK today announced the selection of five grantees as part of its 10-year commitment to increase the number of women and Black and Latinx Philadelphia students entering careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
To support equitable STEM education across schools in Philadelphia, two major grants have been awarded to the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, an independent nonprofit organization that supports fundraising efforts to benefit the District and its students.
As the District continues to engage in digital learning due to the pandemic, GSK is funding the more than $100,000 purchase of online science lab software for K-12 students so that they may engage in inquiry-based science learning from home. These resources will also support ongoing equitable science instruction once students return to school buildings, ensuring that students in all grade levels can conduct scientific experiments even if lab space and materials are limited. Additional funds will support “mini-grants” for District teachers to develop hands-on STEM activities for students.
“The resources found in virtual labs can improve both the confidence and effectiveness of teachers and provide more opportunities to spark creativity and imagination with our students,” said Tienne Myers, an elementary science teacher in the School District of Philadelphia.
GSK will also support a $500,000, two-year pilot training program for 100 District middle school math and science teachers to implement new curricula and increase participation, engagement and success for girls and students of color. Funding will support training, materials and coaching for teachers who will reach 32,000 students across the city.
GSK is also funding more than $450,000 in grants for enrichment and internship programs that are targeted to girls, women and Black and Latinx Philadelphia students and are designed to increase their interest and success in STEM subjects, including:
- The College of Physicians STEM Internship Program, which engages high school students in a summer and academic-year after-school program, linking STEM learning with social justice issues. As part of the paid internship, participating students explore the impact of violence through STEM disciplines like public health while making a difference in their own communities.
- The Pennsylvania Society of Biomedical Research “SPARC” Program, which brings biomedical knowledge, concepts and career pathways directly to students in the greater Philadelphia region through a mobile classroom.
- The Philadelphia Robotics Coalition, which supports robotics clubs in Philadelphia public schools. Through “hands-on, minds-on” team engineering challenges, students build critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills while increasing their interest and success in STEM courses and careers.
- The Wistar Institute Accelerated Biomedical Technician Training (BTT) Program, which will support 15 paid internships for Community College of Philadelphia students to engage in hands-on biomedical research training. This new, accelerated model of the 20-year old program in West Philadelphia will open doors to careers in life sciences for diverse students for whom these opportunities have been limited.
These grants build on the work of the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective, a city-wide, collaborative effort launched by GSK and the Philadelphia Education Fund in 2020. GSK has committed to invest $10 million over 10 years to support this effort, including grant funding for dedicated management staff at the Philadelphia Education Fund, as well as grants to partner nonprofit organizations like those announced today. GSK is also contributing the time and talent of GSK volunteers to staff the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective.
The grants announced today were selected by the GSK US Community Partnerships program because they share the goals of the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective to increase access to STEM programs in the community, create equitable and diverse education-to-career pathways, and establish work environments where women, Black people and Latinx people thrive.
“We are proud of our long history at GSK of investing philanthropic dollars in STEM education programs in the Philadelphia region, especially those focused on increasing access and improving outcomes for students who are underrepresented in STEM careers,” said Becki Lynch, Director of US Community Partnerships at GSK. “The GSK STEM Equity grantees selected this year have demonstrated a commitment to increasing equity in STEM educational and career pathways and we are excited to support their work to benefit Philadelphia students.”
Community members, educators, students, parents and STEM professionals are invited to learn more about the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective and get involved in these collaborative efforts. To learn more please visit https://www.philastemeco.org/equity-collective.
GSK is a science-led global healthcare company with a special purpose: to help people do more, feel better, live longer. For further information please visit www.us.gsk.com.
About The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia
The Fund is a nonprofit connecting the private sector with the School District of Philadelphia. We align investing partners – private foundations, corporations and businesses, community organizations and individual donors – with District leadership to achieve schools’ plans and strategies. There are three pillars to what we do: champion strategic priorities, manage funds and facilitate partnerships. By coordinating these efforts, The Fund helps students in the District succeed and reach their full potential.
About the Philadelphia Education Fund
The Philadelphia Education Fund creates equitable access to opportunities for students by providing resources and expertise that build paths to college and career success. Serving more than 4,000 students annually, PEF partners with the public, private and social sector to provide school-based college and career advising services, consult with schools; awards $500,000 a year in scholarships; operates the online portal PhillyGoes2College.org; an