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

Students’ math skills have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, leading to an increased need for out-of-school STEM learning.

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

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

Parents want interactive and student-centered learning, but continue to struggle to find out-of-school options for their children.

Parents are prioritizing social-emotional learning (SEL) outcomes, but the lack of in-person out-of-school programming has led to reduced time for students to practice these skills.

Children cannot be what they do not see.

Families are crucial for helping children build early math skills, which are a strong predictor of later academic success, but math confidence remains a challenge.

Grantee Spotlight

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

Afterschool Alliance

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

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Hands holding phone with Almost Fun on screen

Almost Fun

Unlocking joy and confidence in math with fun, culturally-relevant online lessons.

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Camp Invention

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

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Bringing engineering home, even for the youngest learners.

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The Family Math Initiative

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

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Two boys work on robot

Imagine Science

Building a foundation for STEM proficiency through high school and beyond.

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Learn Fresh

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

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WNET Cyberchase

Providing STEM enrichment that builds positive math attitudes 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 opportunities to follow their STEM passions on their own and with peers.

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

How can out-of-school time STEM providers address school- and district-wide needs?

Other Portfolios