Our Initiatives


As determined by its membership, the STEM Funders Network selects a limited number of high-impact collaborative STEM Initiatives by leveraging resources, ideas and leadership. Each member makes its own decision whether to join an Initiative and how it will support such Initiative. Selected Initiatives have multiple funders, encourage cross-sector partnerships and include evaluation elements.




2015 - Current

The STEM Ecosystems Initiative is built on over a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations, and seeks to nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for all young people.

The 56 communities selected from across the United States for a national Community of Practice have demonstrated cross-sector collaborations to deliver rigorous, effective preK-16 instruction in STEM learning. These collaborations happen in schools and beyond the classroom—in afterschool and summer programs, at home, in science centers, libraries and other places both virtual and physical. They spark young people’s engagement, develop their knowledge, strengthen their persistence and nurture their sense of identity and belonging in STEM disciplines. As these STEM Ecosystems evolve, a student will be able to connect what they learn in and out of school with real-world learning opportunities, leading to STEM related careers and opportunities.

The STEM Funders Network supports the overall initiative including funding to selected communities, technical assistance, support for the community of practice and a comprehensive evaluation.




2016 - Current

The goal of Imagine Science is to bring STEM programming to community-based sites across the nation at times and places where options are typically limited. Four of the nation’s largest youth development organizations — the Boys & Girls Club of America, The National 4-H Council, YMCA of the USA, and Girls Inc. — have formed a multi-year partnership to jointly tackle the challenge of engaging under-represented youth in STEM learning.

Three primary objectives:

  • increase STEM opportunities: there are simply not enough informal STEM learning opportunities to reach all youth who need or want it;
  • increase time and spaces dedicated to STEM: informal STEM learning opportunities are typically run during the school year on weekdays between 3 and 6pm and at either schools or community science institutions; and,
  •  create partnership and clarity: in most locations partnerships are limited and there are no means to sharing information about gaps in the system or best practices hampering ability to move systemically or at large scale on common priorities. 

The STEM Funders Network supports the pilot phase of programming in Dallas, Omaha and Orange County, CA.

Next Generation Science Standards

2011 - Current

The first STEM Funders Network initiative was focused on the Next Generation Science Standards, with strands that addressed adoption and Implementation of NGSS; research and assessment; and the need to transform instructional practice. As part of the NGSS initiative, network members supported the Building Capacity for State Science Education (BCSSE)  project of the Council of State Science Supervisors and other efforts.