KC STEM Alliance engages in targeted grant making to support STEM education in the Kansas City region on a limited basis, as funds allow. The grant cycle is currently closed. It typically opens in the fall. See below for the criteria used to award grants for the current FIRST Robotics season.
Grant support for FIRST Robotics teams
With support from its generous funders, KC STEM Alliance awards cash grants to support and increase student participation in robotics programs. Applications for the 2017-18 school year were open through Oct. 16, 2017.
Applications were considered from FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams in the following counties: Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas; and Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte in Missouri. Grant limits were set at $2,500 for FRC teams and $1,000 for FTC teams.
Eligible recipients include K-12 public or private schools and non-profit community organizations that serve low-income students and/or traditionally underserved communities. In addition, limited funding is available for rookie and young teams, those new to fundraising and those doing exceptional STEM outreach. For the purpose of this grant, low-income schools are defined as schools serving a population with at least 21 percent of students eligible for free or reduced lunch, with awards based on a sliding scale. Underserved populations include females, minorities and students with disabilities. Funds for this initiative originate from the generosity of multiple local donors and funders to the KC STEM Alliance.
The number of grants awarded were based on the number and type of applications received.
Grant Program Goals
The goal of these grants is to sustain robotics programs in underserved communities and facilitate recent start-up teams. Successful applications will address a diverse socio-economic school environment; increased student engagement in STEM education through FIRST Robotics; commitment to the development of student teams; recruitment of volunteer mentors; designing and building of remote-controlled robots; and, participation in one of the Kansas City FIRST Regional Competitions (Heartland or Greater Kansas City) or a KC FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier in the Kansas City area.
Allowable Expenses and Activities
This cash grant will be paid to the team’s school district or FIRST fiscal agent (non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization) or will go directly to FIRST to underwrite all or part of team registration fees for the 2016 -2017 season. Examples of allowable expenses and activities include: team registration for competitions and tournament fees, team travel expenses, materials or tools required by the team in order to construct their robot, stipends for coaches or mentors, outreach expenses including costs associated with recruiting students and increasing parental and community support for the program.
Schools and programs that receive this grant agree to:
- Attend and participate in a Kansas City FIRST Tech Challenge Missouri Qualifier or one of the Greater Kansas City FIRST Robotics Competitions. Grantees who fail to participate in an FTC Missouri Qualifier or the Greater Kansas City FIRST Robotics Competition must return any awarded grant funds to KC STEM Alliance by May 31, 2018.
- Develop and execute plans to increase participation of traditionally underserved students including participation in outreach programming hosted at the KC Engineering Zone or volunteer at the KC FIRST tournament (this can include set-up), or provide support for outreach/mentoring efforts with KC STEM Alliance.
- Submit an end-of-the-year report that indicates which event(s) the team attended and the level of success in regards to increasing student participation in FIRST activities and events.A valuable component of STEM outreach includes mentoring; please indicate any mentoring activities.
- Please include a final team budget for the current Season indicating actual revenue and expenses for the season. Templates will be provided. (Deadline for final report submission: 5 p.m., May 1, 2018.)
- Participate in data collection and evaluation activities conducted by the KC STEM Alliance, including submission of demographic data on team participants, including gender, ethnicity and grade level of each participant.
Terms of the Grant
- Application deadline: 5 p.m. October 16, 2017. Applications must include a grant application form and a budget worksheet to be considered complete.
- Grants will be determined and awardees notified by mid-November 2017. Funds will be distributed upon receipt of invoice from school district or fiscal agent. A sample invoice will be included with grant award notification.
- Additional funds may be available to teams that advance through the FIRST Championship system. Other grants may be available through the KC STEM Alliance or through other regional or national funders to teams that demonstrate financial need.
- Teams receiving grants must submit a final report to the KC STEM Alliance no later than May 1, 2018.
- Teams that do not submit necessary forms and data jeopardize eligibility for future grants. Teams must be in current good standing with KC STEM Alliance grant reporting requirements for grants received from KC STEM Alliance in previous seasons.