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Raising the Funds

Fundraising is a key factor in maintaining a thriving STEM Learning Ecosystem. This Pressing Issue Conversation features three ecosystems that offer effective and creative ways to raise capital for their community. Allison Brody of STEM New Mexico (STEM-NM) acknowledges the power of partnerships in securing funding: “We are constantly looking for partnerships and collaborations that we can support, whether or not there is funding attached. Seeing where the energy and interest lies is where we want to be. From the beginning we are clear about our values and mission, which gives us a reputation that we can leverage to secure funding.”




Students exploring nature

Strong Partnerships, Charged by a Vision and Mission, Make Funding Streams Possible That Might Not Have Been Possible Before

“We don’t have a lot of large institutions in our rural community,” says Jeanne Miller, co-lead of the Carbon Schuylkill and Luzerne Counties Ecosystem. “We have had to be very creative with our afterschool program, which is really the heart of our work. Thanks to deep relationships within the community we were able to collect 12 years of longitudinal data. This has supported our CSL Ecosystem to secure more than $7 million for the next five years. Our impact is directly attributed to the buy-in partners have to our mission. The funding we have been able to secure is reflective of that partnership buy-in to the mission.”

Data That Articulates Your Impact Is Important to Secure Sustainable Funding

Afterschool programs and career pathways were priorities for the community in the Carbon Schuylkill and Luzerne Counties Ecosystem. Miller recalls, “When we built the afterschool programs to include a focus on STEM careers, we didn’t realize we were building our Ecosystem’s infrastructure. By being able to articulate our success with strong impact data, we communicated effectively with our senators whom have become big champions for us.”

Don’t Wait Until Things Are Perfect to Make Your Pitch – But You Should Be Able to Articulate Your Vision, Work and Impact

“I like to send partners and potential funders ‘bright spot briefs’ and other relevant information,” says Heather Kleiner of North Louisiana STEM Alliance. “People remember those things. We have started to see years of partnership cultivation starting to pay-off. Funders and companies want to be a part of the success that we have been able to showcase. Highlight our local work as part of the larger Community of Practice and in connection to Federal STEM Plan has generated a lot of excitement. We highlight the Plan as an urgent call to action that funders understand.” Kleiner also speaks about the importance of keeping your promise. “By keeping our promises to partners, we have been able to repair some relationships that were previously damaged under old leadership.” By staying true to their Ecosystem values North Louisiana STEM Alliance promotes sustainable relationships.

Fundraising Models of STEM Learning Ecosystems

Every Ecosystem is unique and has generated funding to sustain their regional efforts in different ways. Many ecosystems are using a combination of the models listed to the right.