U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly joined local leaders at Herndon Middle School to announce a $520,000 robotics and AI education grant for middle schoolers in Virginia
Herndon, VA, (December 11, 2023) – Google.org announced today a $520,000 grant to expand access to robotics and artificial intelligence education programs across Virginia middle schools through non-profit partners For InSpiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) and the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation (RECF). The grant will fund programs to support existing robotics clubs or create new ones for these middle school students.
“Today’s grant from Google will help middle school students across Northern Virginia discover the growing importance of robotics and artificial intelligence,” said U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly. “There’s nothing like using fun activities like robotics to unlock the curiosity of young minds and help them learn skills and prepare for jobs of the future.”
The announcement came during an event with Rep. Connolly at Herndon Middle School, one of the schools that will be receiving support to create a new robotics club. During the event, students were introduced to fun and interactive STEM activities by local Google volunteers, including a CrunchLabs laser catapult kit.
Insert FIRST quote here – E.g. Provide additional details about your nonprofit, how you plan to leverage the funding to expand the impact, why robotics and AI education is important to the state/community
This funding is part of a $10M initiative launched by Google.org in connection with the company’s 25th anniversary to fund FIRST and RECF programs, support the next generation of innovators, and give back to the communities Google calls home.
“Robotics programs help prepare students for their future careers by teaching them time-tested skills – creative problem solving, communication, and teamwork – while also introducing them to new technology,” said MJ Henshaw, Google Public Affairs. “When Google.org began funding robotics clubs in 2010, it meant teaching students basic coding and programming. Today, it means learning how emerging technology like AI works.”
Google.org’s grant funding will enable FIRST to develop AI specific curricula. It will also support FIRST’s work with local groups to support existing clubs and bring new robotics teams to every state where Google has an office or data center – including Virginia, which has both. To make access to robotics programs more equitable, the grant funding will also help efforts to connect with communities and students who have traditionally lacked access. In Virginia, this means growing the number of robotics teams in Title I eligible schools by more than 400%.
Google is mak ing a major impact on Virginia’s economy through a variety of programs and assistance, including:
● $10.21 billion of economic activity in 2022
● Assisted 439,000 Virginia businesses with free Google tools last year
● Trained 234,000 Virginians on digital skills, including organizations such as public libraries, chambers of commerce, and community colleges
● Contributed more than $26 million in grants to organizations and non-profits since 2006
● Provided 10,400 hours of pro bono community service from our employees
For more information about FIRST’s efforts to bring robotics education to Virginia communities, visit firstinspires.org.
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges.
Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, brings the best of Google to help solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges combining funding, product donations and technical expertise to support underserved communities and provide opportunity for everyone. We engage nonprofits, social enterprises and civic entities who make a significant impact on the communities they serve, and whose work has the potential to produce scalable, meaningful change.