Our goal: Build the next generation of creative problem-solvers by expanding access to engaging and challenging STEM learning experiences.

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

Our Inspired Minds portfolio supports direct impact and ecosystem organizations that expand access to high-quality out-of-school STEM learning experiences that deepen family engagement, build STEM mindsets, and inspire students with joyful and rigorous learning. Given that children spend 80 percent of their time outside of school, we believe these programs are critical to helping children unlock their natural curiosity and access mind-expanding challenges.

Our Learnings

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

There is a nationwide shortage of afterschool and summer workers, leading to reduced access for students.

Parents continue to struggle to find out-of-school options for their children.

The lack of in-person out-of-school programming has led to reduced time for students to practice social-emotional learning (SEL) skills.

Out-of-school programs improve academic measures and teacher skills.

Children cannot be what they do not see.

Families are crucial for STEM confidence, with early math skills being the best predictor of later academic success.

Yet 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.

PowerMyLearning

Activating the power of collaboration between teachers, students, and families.

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A parent and child work together on a craft project.

EiE

Bringing engineering home, even for the youngest learners.

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Camp Invention

Using summer to nurture students' interest in STEM and innovation.

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Young boy holds science project while wearing face mask and goggles.

BellXcel

Scaling high-quality summer and afterschool programs, even in remote and hybrid environments.

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Parent and child work together on a sports board game.

Learn Fresh

Strengthening students' STEM skills through interactive games and a partnership with the NBA.

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Afterschool Alliance

Advocating for increased access to high-quality afterschool opportunities for students nationwide.

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WNET Cyberchase

Providing STEM enrichment that builds positive math attitudes and confidence.

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The Family Math Initiative

Working with families to increase children’s early math fluency and confidence.

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Our Approach

Increase Out-of-School STEM Opportunities

Increase the quality, supply, and positive perception of joyful and rigorous out-of-school STEM programs.

Our Approach

Expand Family STEM

Increase availability of family STEM opportunities and environments that elevate the role of families in supporting children’s learning.

Our Approach

Explore Student Self-Directed STEM

Explore the ability of student self-directed STEM experiences to provide students more agency and opportunity to follow their STEM passions on their own and with peers.

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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 features and practices of out-of-school STEM programs and self-directed student STEM experiences have a significant impact on student engagement?

What are the top priorities for teachers, school leaders, and/or district leaders in partnering with out-of-school STEM providers?

What practices and capacity-building efforts best equip an organization to plan and conduct rigorous studies that lead to increases in ESSA tier?

Other Portfolios