Targeted Grant Making

Grant Opportunities

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 are 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.


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 are defined as 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 each year is based on the number and type of applications received and determined by a grants committee.

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 or one of the FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifiers in the Kansas City area.

Allowable Expenses and Activities

This cash grant is paid to the team’s school district or FIRST fiscal agent (non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization). 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 Qualifier or one of the Greater Kansas City FIRST Robotics Competitions. 
  • 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 championship (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.
  • 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.