Our goal: All children have access to out-of-school STEM experiences that help them achieve their full potential.

Children’s time outside of school should be spent cultivating curiosity, which is what the best STEM experiences are designed to do.

Our Inspired Minds portfolio supports organizations and researchers that improve access to out-of-school STEM opportunities, allowing children to unlock their curiosity and explore mind-expanding challenges.

Our Learnings

There's a 6,000-hour education gap by sixth grade.

Out-of-school programs and resources improve both social-emotional and academic measures.

Early math skills are the best predictor of later academic success.

The math achievement gap between low‐ and high‐income students narrows when low‐income students attend afterschool programs.

Children cannot be what they do not see.

Three out of ten Americans consider themselves bad at math.

Grantee Spotlight

Learn more about some of the work funded by the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Children and teacher experimenting with science and gardening. Image provided by DonorsChoose.org.


Providing out-of-school STEM opportunities to students and teachers in high-need communities.

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Children laughing in a classroom. Image provided by Khan Academy.

Khan Academy

Expanding access to free, educational resources so all students can unlock their potential.

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Father and son doing a science experiment. Image provided by Education First.

Family Math

Bridging the achievement gap by increasing early math fluency and confidence.

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High school students doing a science and engineering experiment. Image provided by STEM Funders Network.

STEM Funders Network

Establishing STEM Ecosystems across the U.S. to ensure all children have the ability to cultivate their curiosity.

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Portfolio Details

Our Approach

Increase access to high-quality out-of-school STEM experiences by scaling cost-effective, evidence-based STEM programs and advocating for increased support of afterschool STEM spending.

Our Approach

Increase quality of out-of-school STEM experiences by supporting advocacy efforts, linking in and out of school STEM, and evaluating promising early-stage programs.

Our Approach

Build positive perception of STEM through research and development of family STEM programs, a Family Math movement, and social media efforts.  

Our Approach

Provide children who show high potential with mind-expanding learning opportunities that build STEM and 21st century skills.

High school students doing an experiment at a science lab. Image provided by Students2Science.
Children experiment with science outside of school. Image provided by STEM Funders Network.
Young girl drawing with chalk on the playground. Image provided by DonorsChoose.org.

Our Questions

What outcomes result when students receive relevant and engaging out-of-school STEM learning experiences?

What is the impact of linking STEM education across a community, including schools, families, out-of-school education, institutes of higher education, cultural institutions, and businesses?

What would happen if parents placed as much early emphasis on math skills as they do on reading?

Page Data Sources:

Afterschool Alliance (2013). Evaluations backgrounder: A summary of formal evaluations of afterschool programs’ impact on academic, behavior, safety and family life. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from www.afterschoolalliance.org/documents/Evaluations_Backgrounder_2013.pdf

ASPIRES Project (2014). ASPIRES: Young people’s science and career aspirations, age 10‐14. London: King’s College London. Retrieved from www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/departments/education/research/aspires/ASPIRES‐final‐report‐December‐2013.pdf

Auger, A., Pierce, K. M. and Vandell, D. L. (April, 2013). Participation in Out-of-School Settings and Student Academic and Behavioral Outcomes. Unpublished paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.

Dabney, K., Tai, R., Almarode, J., Miller‐Friedmann, J., Sonnert, G., Sadler, P., & Hazari, Z. (2011). Out-of‐school time science activities and their association with career interest in STEM. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 2(1), 63‐79.

Dickerson, Kelly. “‘I’m Not A Math Person’ Is No Longer A Valid Excuse.” Business Insider. November 18, 2013. https://www.businessinsider.com/being-good-at-math-is-not-about-natural-ability-2013-11.

Duncan, G. J., Dowsett, C. J., Claessens, A., Magnuson, K., Huston, A. C., Klebanov, P., . . . Japel, C. (2007). School readiness and later achievement. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1428-1446.

Schaeffer, M. W., Rozek, C. S., Berkowitz, T., Levine, S. C., & Beilock, S. L. (2018). Disassociating the relation between parents’ math anxiety and children’s math achievement: Long-term effects of a math app intervention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

“The 6,000-Hour Learning Gap.” ExpandED Schools. October 30, 2013. https://www.expandedschools.org/policy-documents/6000-hour-learning-gap#sthash.krllApZG.dpbs.

Vandell, D., Reisner, E., & Pierce, K. (2007). Outcomes linked to high-quality afterschool programs: Longitudinal findings from the study of promising practices. Irvine, CA: University of California and Washington, DC: Policy Studies Associates.

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