9 Best Charities That Advance STEM Education (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Advance STEM Education (Complete 2024 List)

By
Dennis Kamprad

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Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) play a vital role in solving our world’s most imminent threats. From ending agricultural scarcity to protecting our oceans, STEM is central to it all. STEM education has become the focus for many organizations to encourage and support the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that advance STEM education?

The best charities that advance STEM education are the MIND Research Institute and FIRST. Other charities such as Girls Who Code and Code.org are making strides to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM education. 

Whether you want to address inequality in STEM education or support new methods of STEM studies, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that advance STEM education are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution. 

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Advance STEM Education Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate all over the world from North America to Asia. And they all share the same goal; to shape the next generation of STEM leaders.

Many of these charities reach and engage with students from kindergarten to college. Others encourage at-home STEM curricula alongside traditional programs.

Beyond that, these charities possess a passion for propagating leadership, promoting diversity, and encouraging innovation in STEM through education. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Advance STEM Education in 2024

Below are our favorite charities that advance STEM education (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

MIND Research Institute: See the Math, Change the World

Logo for MIND Research Institute
One MIND, Many Hearts: 20 Years of Neuroscience, Social Impact and STEM Education

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The MIND Research Institute possesses a 2-Star rating on Charity Navigator because of the amount of money they spend on their charitable programs. The charity also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency on GuideStar

“Our mission is to ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems.”

Mind Research Institute

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What they do:

The MIND Research Institute funds applied research in neuroscience, mathematics, and STEM education by collecting and analyzing data from ST (spatial-temporal) Math. They developed the ST Math Program to provide equitable access to visual learning in mathematics. In addition, the MIND Research Institute created MathMINDs, which offers interactive programs for classrooms and homeschools, so that kids can play, live, and create through mathematics. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the MIND Research Institute has transformed STEM education for over 1.7 million students and 102,000 educators in over 8,700 schools through their ST Math program. Furthermore, their MathMINDs program has reached 19,720 families and 376 homeschools across the United States. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the MIND Research Institute through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online store or by signing up to receive their newsletter

2

FIRST: For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology

Logo for FIRST
I am FIRST: Inspiring Dreamers (:60)

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

FIRST has a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator and holds a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

FIRST

⚒️

What they do:

FIRST runs programs that emphasize STEM education through kinesthetic learning, career exposure, mentor guidance, and skill development with a focus on real-world problems. For example, their FIRST’s Lego League encourages Pre-K to 8th grade students to discover, explore, and then challenge themselves in engineering through the use of Lego. In addition, their Tech Challenge encourages middle and high school students to design, build, and code robots to use in competition. Furthermore, their FIRST Robotics Competition puts high school students in a pressing environment and challenges them to fund, create, build, and program industrial-sized robots for competition. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, FIRST has reached 2.5 million students in over 100 countries to improve STEM education. Of these students, 81% declared a stem major by their fourth year in college. Moreover, 50% of those students were female innovators. In addition, the charity hosts around 2,900 FIRST events each year that are sponsored by impactful and strategic partners and scholarship providers to promote the importance of STEM education.

Ways to contribute:

You can support FIRST by donating through their website. You can also volunteer for their events or advocate to explain engagement opportunities to FIRST students. 

3

Girls Who Code: Closing the Gender Gap in Tech

Logo for Girls Who Code
Make That Change

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Girls Who Code has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. They also hold a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. 

“Girls Who Code is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and to change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.”

Girls Who Code

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What they do:

Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in tech and STEM education by teaching girls how to code. For example, their Clubs Program provides peer support and a flexible curriculum to help young girls build coding skills while solving real problems in their communities. In addition, their College Loop Program offers financial aid, peer support, and job placement for college-aged women in tech. Furthermore, their Summer Immersion Program offers a 2-week virtual coding camp or a 6-week self-paced coding camp for female-identifying high school students. Finally, their Code at Home Program provides free computer science activities for varying skill levels and ages. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Girls Who Code has engaged with 14 billion women and non-binary individuals worldwide to advance STEM education. Through their programs, they serve over 500,000 women in tech education, 50% of which are from historically underrepresented communities. Moreover, Girls Who Code alumni major in computer science at a rate 7x the US average

Ways to contribute:

You can contribute to Girls Who Code by donating through their website. You can also support the charity by starting a fundraiser

4

Code.org: Learn Today, Build A Brighter Tomorrow

Logo for Code.org
Equity in Computer Science Education

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Code.org has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Platinum Seal of Transparency with GuideStar

We expand access to computer science in schools, with a focus on increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups.”

Code.org

⚒️

What they do:

Code.org expands access to computer science and STEM education with an emphasis on underrepresented groups. For example, Code.org’s Hour of Code program possesses over 500 computer science activities for all ages and skill levels. Moreover, their CS Fundamentals program provides a full introductory computer science curriculum to classrooms grades K-8. They also offer CS Discoveries, which provides introductory computer science curriculum to students in grades 6-10. Finally, their CS Principles program is designed as an AP Course for grades 11 and 12 to challenge computer science students with real-world coding applications for beginners.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Code.org has engaged with 67 million students to improve access to computer science and STEM education. 30 million of which are young women. These students have created over 219 million coding projects. According to a third-party evaluator, 14% of students who participated in the Hour of Code program had more confidence in their computer science skills. In the same survey, 11.1% of high school students saw an increased interest in computer science. A separate evaluation found a 49% increase in racial diversity and a 44% improvement in gender diversity across Code.org programs. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Code.org through their website. Alternatively, you can purchase items from their online store or volunteer in software engineering or translating services.

5

Khan Academy: For Every Student in Every Classroom

Help support Khan Academy

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Khan Academy holds a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator

“Our mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”

Khan Academy

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What they do:

The Khan Academy advances STEM education by providing free access to economically underprivileged communities. For example, they fund the production of online science courses in kindergarten to college level sciences such as biology, physics, chemistry, astrology, and engineering. They also fund online math courses for pre-kindergarten to college level mathematics like basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. In addition, Khan Academy offers online computing classes focused on basic coding and programming principles. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the tools and resources provided by the Khan Academy have led to global improvements in STEM education. For example, in Brazil, they implemented math courses for over 2.6 million students and saw a 30% increase in conceptual learning. Furthermore, in El Salvador, an additional 19 school years in math were gained through the integrations of Khan Academy. In addition, students in Guatemala had an average increase of 10 percentage points in math, which is a 100% increase from those produced by traditional programs. Khan Academy even collaborated with NASA to create an online STEM program to inspire and educate children from every corner of the globe. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support the Khan Academy by donating. You can also volunteer your time and knowledge to translate their educational resources. 

6

Project Lead the Way: Reinventing the Classroom Experience

Logo for Project Lead the Way
What is PLTW? An Overview

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

Project Lead the Way holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Our mission is to empower students to thrive in an evolving world.”

Project Lead the Way

⚒️

What they do:

Project Lead the Way offers programs for school-aged kids and a professional development program for educators to promote STEM education. For example, PLTW Launch is an elementary education program that’s designed to keep kids exploring STEM using project-based learning methods. Furthermore, their PLTW Gateway is a middle school STEM curriculum that encourages connection to STEM careers and problem-solving for real-world issues. They also run PLTW Computer Science, PLTW Engineering, and PLTW Biomedical Science to challenge students to apply STEM skills and propel them into the respective career fields. Moreover, PLTW’s Professional Development Program supports educators in creating a hands-on collaborative classroom for STEM education. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Project Lead the Way has remained committed to advancing STEM education on a global scale. For example, analytic evaluations have shown that 87% of PLTW Gateway students and 92% of PLTW high school students showed an increased interest in STEM. Furthermore, their students were 7% more likely to enroll in post-secondary STEM education programs. In addition, 68% of educators enrolled in their Professional Development Program reported an increased efficacy in teaching STEM subjects. 

Ways to contribute:

You can support Project Lead the Way by becoming a partner to financially support their programs. In addition, you can purchase items from their online store.

7

National Society of Black Engineers: A Legacy of Excellence

Logo for National Society of Black Engineers
National Society of Black Engineers Introduction Spring 2021

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The National Society of Black Engineers holds a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“NSBE members, chapters, and supporters are dedicated to increasing the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact the community.”

National Society of Black Engineers

⚒️

What they do:

The National Society of Black Engineers offers both pre-collegiate and collegiate programs to advance STEM education. For example, their Academic Retention Program focuses on improving the graduation rates of African American students in engineering programs. The program involves skill workshops, mentorship, study halls, mental health awareness, and semester check-ins. Furthermore, their PCI Program reaches pre-collegiate students with a developing interest in STEM studies and offers mentoring roles to improve their knowledge. In addition, the National Society of Black Engineers offers scholarships for members.

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What they’ve achieved:

Today, the National Society of Black Engineers has over 24,000 active members across more than 600 chapters working to advance STEM education. Since their founding, they have reached hundreds of thousands of k-12 students interested in STEM education and have graduated tens of thousands from their STEM programs.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the National Society of Black Engineers through their website. You can also support the charity by following them on social media or by registering to attend one of their awareness events.

8

SCRATCH Foundation: Scratch For All

Logo for Scratch Foundation
Scratch's 2022 Recap

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

The Scratch Foundation has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator as well as a Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

To spread creative, caring, collaborative, equitable approaches to coding and learning around the world.”

Scratch Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The Scratch Foundation provides funding for Scratch, ScratchJr, and ScratchEd to improve STEM education. Scratch is a free application that allows teens and young adults to program their own interactive stories, games, and animations. ScratchJr is similar, but enables younger children, ages 5-7, to create by snapping together programming blocks. ScratchEd is an online collaborative community for educators implementing Scratch in their classrooms. In addition to these programs, the Scratch foundation hosts Scratch Day Gatherings, Scratch Conferences, and Learning Resources for kids to promote STEM education. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Scratch Foundation has donated around $5 million to the Scratch project to advance STEM education. They have reached 196 countries in over 70 languages with an average of 32,000 registrations per day. Furthermore, the Scratch project encouraged 42 million people to create over 113 million coding and programming projects. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Scratch Foundation via their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online store, or by attending one of their Scratch events

9

High Tech High Heels: We Are on a Mission to Keep More Girls in STEM

Logo for High Tech High Heels
High-Tech High Heels: Join us to level the playing field!

🔎

Their transparency & ratings:

High Tech High Heels has a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Our goal is for all girls to have the opportunity to pursue the STEM career of their choice – limited only by their talents, efforts, and aspirations.”

High Tech High Heels

⚒️

What they do:

High Tech High Heels awards grants to non-profit and school programs to improve existing tools and educator training in STEM education. Additionally, they provide engaging STEM experiences for school-aged girls through their regional chapter network. Moreover, they run numerous awareness events such as their annual fundraiser, STEMpact to promote STEM. High Tech High Heels is also continuously expanding their chapter network across the US. 

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, High Tech High Heels have donated over $2.7 million via grants and chapter experiences to advance STEM education. 1.4 million of these were donated to over 40 non-profit organizations fueling STEM education. Through these efforts they’ve reached over 56,000 young women interested in STEM fields. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to High Tech High Heels through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that advance STEM education. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. These charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to advancing STEM education – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,



PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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