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MassRobotics expands STEM programming with $100K Cummings Grant

June 15, 2022

MassRobotics inaugural Jumpstart Fellowship Program cohort. Source: MassRobotics

MassRobotics is one of 140 Massachusetts nonprofits to receive a grant through Cummings Foundation's $25 Million Grant Program. The nonprofit will use these funds to provide young women, especially Black and Latinx girls, a direct pathway to transform an interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to a passion and career in STEM, especially in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). MassRobotics was chosen from 580 applicants during a competitive review process and will receive $100,000 total throughout the next three years.

“The current STEM workforce in Massachusetts is suffering from a lack of diversity, especially women of color,” said Khalif Mitchell, MassRobotics STEM program manager. “MassRobotics is honored to receive a Cummings Foundation grant that will help set women of color up for success in the technology industry, driving a more diverse workforce to pursue these disciplines for their professional careers.”

MassRobotics STEM education is aimed at facilitating relationships between the robotics community and the next generation of innovators. Since 2017, MassRobotics has hosted hundreds of students for workshops and tours through its 50,000-square-foot space. In 2020, MassRobotics initiated several STEM programs in collaboration with various partners and the robotics industry, such as the MassRobotics Jumpstart Fellowship Program.

The Jumpstart Fellowship Program was created to provide opportunities for diverse Massachusetts high school girls to learn about careers in robotics and develop their professional networks through direct engagement with industry professionals. The curriculum exposes young women to the many technical skills in areas that are included in the robotics industry, from programming to design and simulation, to hands-on building, prototyping and testing. The program also includes mentorship to help develop a more inclusive technical workforce by preparing diverse talent in high school to pursue careers in STEM and robotics.

The Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program supports Massachusetts nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties.

"We are so fortunate in greater Boston to have such effective nonprofits, plus a wealth of talented, dedicated professionals and volunteers to run them," Cummings Foundation Executive Director Joyce Vyriotes said. "We are indebted to them for the work they do each day to provide for basic needs, break down barriers to education and work toward a more equitable society."

Cummings Foundation has awarded more than $375 million to date in greater Boston, including $25 million to 140 local-area nonprofits in 2022. It seeks to provide vital funding to mostly local charities that are working to improve the lives of community members through education, healthcare, human services and social justice programs. This year's grant recipients represent a wide variety of causes, including food insecurity, immigrant and refugee services, social justice, STEM education and mental health services.

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