Dow Makes $1M Grant To FIRST Robotics

MIDLAND — Dow Chemical Co. Friday made a $1 million commitment to FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to promote STEM education.

The donation is part of Dow’s “STEMtheGAP” initiative to promote education to build the workforce of tomorrow in STEM careers.

The announcement was made at Friday’s opening ceremonies of the 2015 Great Lakes Bay Region FIRST Robotics Competition, being held this weekend at Midland Dow High School, by Deborah Borg, president of Dow USA, and FIRST founder and inventor Dean Kamen.

“Dow has survived and thrived for more than a century because of the strength of our innovation engine, built on a foundation of STEM talent,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Dow chairman and CEO. “Investing in the education of our youth means investing in our shared future and the future of our company.”

FIRST, a nonprofit organization founded by Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, has designated Dow as a FIRST Strategic Partner. The FIRST partnership will allow Dow to continue driving student excitement around STEM in its local communities by engaging its employees, with the ultimate goal of inspiring students to choose a future career in a STEM field.

“Engaging students in STEM through hands-on experiences is a key component to getting students excited about STEM careers,” Borg said. “Dow understands the importance of STEM and collaborative efforts such as this, which is why we are proud to partner with FIRST.”

Through this new commitment, Dow will connect new and existing FIRST teams with Dow mentors. In addition, more than 75 new FIRST teams located in Dow communities will be created. The commitment between Dow and FIRST will also help send teams to FIRST regional and district championships, provide support for the annual FIRST championship event, and drive new team growth in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

“Dow has generously provided support to FIRST since 2000, and they have been instrumental in helping us grow FIRST programs in their home state of Michigan,” Kamen said. “In addition to their financial commitment, Dow employees have also been generous with their time and knowledge by mentoring teams and volunteering at events. We are … thankful for their continued, multidimensional support.”

More information about Dow’s commitment to promoting STEM education can be found at www.dow.com/company/citizenship/stem.htm.

FIRST hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition for students in grades 9-12; FIRST Tech Challenge for grades 7-12; FIRST Lego League for grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST Lego League for grades K-3. More at www.usfirst.org.

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