The creation of an Evanston collaborative, EvanSTEM, to help youngsters succeed in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas has attracted the attention of a national network of organizations that funds such activities.

The STEM Funders Network announced this week that Evanston is one of 27 communities in the United States selected to pilot the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative that will enable groups such as EvanSTEM to share ideas with each other as they develop community-wide systems for engaging kids from kindergarten through college in science and technology learning.

The idea is that funders would provide grants to these communities to help these collaborative organizations develop and prosper.

The Evanston group, announced last month, combines the efforts of Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Evanston Township High School, McGaw YMCA, Youth & Opportunity United (YOU), Family Focus, Evanston Public Library, City of Evanston, and Northwestern University.

It was made possible through a three-year grant totaling $640,000 from the Noyce Foundation.

Presumably, the addition of Evanston to the group of communities cited by the STEM Funders Network will position it to receive additional grants from other funders, while providing a communications network that will help each community’s group provide aid and assistance to one another.

District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren, who also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Noyce Foundation, said “we are thrilled to be selected for the STEM Ecosystems Initiative and for the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues across the nation.”

He added that the community is “making great strides towards our vision of engaging all students in STEM learning and expanding the resources and programming available within our community.”

Launched in Denver at the Clinton Global Initiative, the STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative will form a national Community of Practice with expert coaching and support from leaders such as superintendents, scientists, industrialists, and others.

The first gathering of this Community of Practice is to be hosted at the White House in November.

Funding members of the network include Samueli  Foundation, Noyce Foundation, Overdeck Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, and Simons Foundation, with support by Amgen Foundation, Broadcom Foundation, KDK Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, and Tiger Woods Foundation.

Related stories:

Stem project aims to help kids find their niche

Former Motorola engineer joins D65 team

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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