March 14-15, 2016 Community of Practice Convening in Chicago IL. 

November 11, 2015 Communities Come Together in Washington DC to Support STEM Education

The SFN Announces The Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem As One Of 27 Inaugural Communities To Launch The STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative

The Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem Selected From An Invited Pool Of 70+ Applicants

(September 1, 2015 – Washington, DC) –The STEM Funders Network (SFN) announced today that The Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem is one of the 27 communities selected to pilot the national STEM Ecosystems Initiative. This project, built on over a decade of research into successful STEM collaborations seeks to nurture and scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities for all young people. The Greater Austin STEM Ecosystems selection is a demonstration of their existing progress in developing a strong STEM community and recognition of the commitment to continue this work.

“These innovative communities are providing STEM learning opportunities for millions of young people both in- and out-of-school,” said SFN co-chairs Gerald Solomon, executive director, Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, executive director, Noyce Foundation. “It is an initiative to design the kind of infrastructure that ensures that STEM learning is truly ‘everywhere’ and is a top priority for communities supporting youth to develop the skills and knowledge they need for success in a global workforce.”

 “We are thrilled that we’ve been selected to join this initiative and the Community of Practice,” said Melanie Moore, executive director of the KDK-Harman Foundation, an Austin-based family foundation with deep commitments to STEM learning in Central Texas. “With the support of the STEM Funders Network and our colleagues building STEM learning ecosystems across the United States, we will be able to leverage the impact of STEM learning opportunities within our community even further. This is a much needed step toward creating an efficient system of opportunities for the children, families and educators of Texas.

The 27 communities comprising the initial cohort of a national Community of Practice have demonstrated cross-sector collaborations to deliver rigorous, effective PreK-16 instruction in STEM learning in schools and beyond the classroom—in afterschool and summer programs, at home, in science centers, libraries and other places both virtual and physical— that sparks young people’s engagement, develops their knowledge, strengthens their persistence and nurtures their sense of identity and belonging in the 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 will form 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.

The following is the complete list of sites selected from an invited pool of 70+ applicants to join the STEM Ecosystems Initiative’s first cohort creating a STEM Community of Practice:

  • Arizona SciTech Ecosystem (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Bay Area STEM Ecosystem (San Jose, CA)
  • BoSTEM (Boston, MA)
  • Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative (Chicago, IL)
  • Colorado STEM (Denver, CO)
  • East Syracuse Minoa Central School District STEM Learning Ecosystem (East Syracuse, NY)
  • ecosySTEM KC (Kansas City, MO)
  • Great Lakes Bay Regional STEM Initiative (Freeland, MI)
  • Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem (Austin, TX)
  • Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative (Cincinnati, OH)
  • Indiana STEM Ecosystem Initiative (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership in Western New York (Buffalo, NY)
  • Learning Ecology Network of STEM in Evanston (Evanston, IL)
  • Los Angeles Regional STEM Hub (Los Angeles, CA)
  • NC STEM Ecosystem: Driving the Future (Research Triangle Park, NC)
  • Northeast Ohio STEM Learning Ecosystem (Cleveland, OH)
  • NYC STEM Education Network (New York, NY)
  • Orange County STEM Initiative (Corona Del Mar, CA)
  • Oregon’s Statewide Regional STEM Hub Network (Salem, OR)
  • Pittsburgh Regional STEM Ecosystem (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Providence After School Alliance (PASA) AfterZone STEM – FUSE Initiative (Providence, RI)
  • Queens 2020 (Corona, NY)
  • San Diego EcosySTEM (San Diego, CA)
  • STEMcityPHL Regional Network (Conshohocken, PA)
  • Tampa Bay STEM Network (Tampa, FL)
  • Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance (Tulsa, OK)
  • Ventura County STEM Regional Network (Learning Ecosystem, Camarillo, CA)


Learn more about the initiative at

The Greater Austin STEM Ecosystem will be designed to maximize STEM opportunities for PreK-16 students by connecting the many nodes of STEM education in the Greater Austin Area.

What differentiates this system building work is our partnership’s ability to use data to identify regional need and leverage the incredible assets already in place for STEM learning opportunities in-school out-of-school, through higher education and across STEM industries in the region to build an effective ecosystem so that all students will be able to access pathways of high-quality STEM learning experiences.

We will convene participants to create a dynamic network of high quality resources that engage learners in opportunities leading to a STEM-capable 21st century workforce. We will put systems in place to support education programs that are engaging, responsive, and create a pathway of opportunities.  Formal and informal STEM educators, city and county leaders, business, and industry will play vital roles. We will utilize the unique contributions of all these participants with a focus on long-term impact to actively broaden participation by young people in STEM learning. We look forward to the expansive national Community of Practice focused on strengthening research, evaluation and providing technical assistance to support and inform our work.

The following organizations have contributed to this effort with many more expected.

  • Austin Community College
  • Austin Community Foundation
  • Andy Roddick Foundation
  • Austin Independent School District
  • Austin Science and Nature Center
  • Central Texas Summer STEM Funders Collaborative
  • City of Austin and Mayor Steve Adler
  • Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
  • E3 Alliance
  • Educate Texas
  • Girlstart
  • Hill Country Science Mill
  • IBM
  • Intel Corporation – Texas
  • KDK-Harman Foundation
  • KLE Foundation
  • Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
  • Samsung
  • Skillpoint Alliance
  • The Thinkery
  • The University of Texas at Austin K-12 STEM Collaborative (including UTeach Outreach, The Dana Center, Women in Engineering Program, Texas Advanced Computing Center)
  • UTeach
  • Webber Family Foundation

About the STEM Funders Network The SFN was formed in 2011 by a small group of funders from the Grant Makers for Education community to focus attention and better coordinate funding in support of robust STEM programs across the country. The SFN members fund individually as well as collectively and their work has supported the adoption and implementation of NGSS in all 50 states as well as dozens of STEM programs of promise.


Ecosystem funding members of the STEM Funders Network include: Samueli Foundation, Noyce Foundation,Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Overdeck Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, Motorola Solutions Foundation and Simons Foundation with support by Amgen Foundation, Broadcom Foundation, KDK-Harman Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation and Tiger Woods Foundation.