STEM Ecosystems Initiative Overview

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 27 communities selected from across the United States for the initial cohort of 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.

Launched in Denver at the Clinton Global Initiative, the STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative forms a national Community of Practice with expert coaching and support from leaders such as superintendents, scientists, industry and others. The first gathering of this Community of Practice will be hosted at the White House in November.




Initiative Goals

  • Select up to 25 local, regional and state STEM Learning Ecosystems from across the country to participate in year one, adding additional sites in subsequent years. Ecosystems will encompass preK-16 schools; community settings such as afterschool and summer programs; institutions of higher education; STEM-expert organizations such as science centers, museums, corporations, intermediary and non-profit organizations or professional associations; businesses; funders; and informal experiences at home and in a variety of environments.
  • Support communities in the design, cultivation and implementation of STEM Learning Ecosystems through expert technical assistance.
  • Support selected STEM Learning Ecosystems to participate in a national Community of Practice to share successes, challenges and opportunities for growth.
  • Inform the STEM education field about the importance of creating connected STEM-rich learning opportunities for children, youth and their families across the educational continuum from preschool through higher education.

Read the 2015 STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative Request for Qualifications here.

Interested in sharing a story for "Our Neighborhood"? Click here to tell us!