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Changing the Equation on STEM Investments

By Linda P. Rosen, Change the Equation

Change the Equation (CTEq), which launched in September 2010, was created to address the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. businesses around STEM learning. The nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the U.S. Focused on three goals – effective advocacy, inspiration of young people, and strategic philanthropy – CTEq has helped its 100 members connect and align efforts so that they add up to much more than the sum of their parts.

CTEq member Cisco supports MIND Research InstituteWith a clear business perspective, the CTEq coalition of member companies is leading and influencing the STEM learning movement to improve teaching and learning, both in the classroom and beyond. To accomplish this goal, CTEq has developed tools to promote more effective collaboration among STEM stakeholders; creating communication channels grounded in data; and speaking as a unified voice while respecting state and local autonomy.

One of the powerful tools that we make publicly available is STEMworks. This free, online resource empowers funders to optimize the return on their STEM investment. A searchable, user-friendly database of programs that have been independently evaluated against a rigorous rubric, STEMworks allows companies and other funders to identify proven programs that meet their own philanthropic priorities. At a time when thousands of STEM programs claim dramatic outcomes for young people, STEMworks is a trustworthy source for finding programs that get results.

Every STEM program included in STEMworks, including ST Math, has met Change the Equation’s rigorous Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy. The Principles require that programs demonstrate success in meeting critical STEM learning needs while excelling in areas such as program capacity, sustainability, scalability, challenging and relevant STEM content, and rigorous evaluation.  ST Math submitted its program application, and after review by WestEd (a well-known, well-respected nonprofit research and evaluation firm), was accepted to be one of only 37 programs admitted to STEMworks.  The programs in the database are by no means the only excellent STEM learning programs in the country. Rather, they are the first in what is a growing list of effective programs.

ST Math, which receives funding CTEq member companies including Boeing Company, Chevron Corporation, Cisco Systems, Fluor, JP Morgan Chase, Northrop Grumman, Sempra Energy, State Farm Insurance and Verizon, among others, presents an array of lively programs that are inspiring to young people.  Because of STEMworks reliability as a rigorous source, it’s easy for funders, including our members, to see that they’re investing in worthy, impactful programs.  Cisco, in addition to grant money, has contributed its technology products enabling ST Math to move to an online delivery platform dramatically helping the program reach more young people in more locations.

You can learn more about STEMworks, the programs included in the database, and how it can help strengthen your funding decisions, by clicking here or reading our flyer, here.

Linda P. Rosen is CEO at Change the Equation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of STEM learning in the United States. 

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MIND Research Institute welcomes guest blogs that highlight best practices in math education, blended learning and innovative learning strategies that inspire students at all ages.


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