The STEM Benefactor

Mark Gelfand calls himself "lucky in business," but the physics major from Carnegie Mellon who grew up in Cleveland and worked in Pittsburgh's steel mills before his ship came in is not leaving the future of tomorrow's engineers to luck. The recipients of gifts from the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust are programs focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). “If there’s a financial need focused on hands-on STEM enrichment for children, then I’m interested in helping," he says. "If it’s not STEM, then that’s not my focus.” Help comes in many forms. What started as mentoring an extracurricular club for his sons and other kids to help them learn math and science has grown into efforts to share his love of STEM with children as far away as the Middle East and beyond. Gelfand prefers to stay under the radar, but that is hardly possible, what with the excitement he's brought to STEM and the enthusiasm for it he's instilled in children. He has big ideas and the wherewithal to turn those ideas into reality. That kind of success can only stay out of the public eye for so long. Read my Live Wire column for more of Gelfand's opinions and insights.