On March 6, 2020, Versacare Foundation, a self-funded, independent private foundation that exists to support ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist church, awarded $1,435,000 in grant funding to 189 Adventist primary and secondary schools across the United States and Canada in support of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)—$285,000 of which was awarded to schools in the Pacific Union Conference.

This was Versacare Foundation’s fifth successive year funding STEM grants, and this marked the third consecutive year it funded every school that applied for a STEM grant.

The STEM grant program has provided funding in three categories: $5,000 for smaller schools of three classrooms or less; $10,000 for larger schools of four or more classrooms and 12-year schools; and $10,000 for senior academies.

“We have heard from smaller schools that their $5000 STEM grant is helping them retain students that would otherwise go elsewhere,” said Tom Macomber, president of Versacare. “That is a huge bonus when our objective all along has been to assist the schools by enhancing their ability to teach STEM subjects, and that assistance is helping keep their doors open. The lesson for me is that STEM education is vital, both for teaching skills the students will use the rest of their lives but also for keeping our schools competitive when compared to the local public schools.”

The many uses of STEM funds include the purchase of classroom smart boards, tablets or Chromebooks for student use, equipping or updating student computer labs, installation of 3D printers and related software, initiating or funding robotics programs, instruction in software coding, the equipping of chemistry, physics, and biology labs, and more.

Through 2020, Versacare Foundation has provided 417 schools with a total of $3,260,000 in STEM grant funding. After funding nearly half of all Adventist primary and secondary schools across the NAD with STEM grants, Versacare Foundation has ended its STEM school grant program and for 2021 will focus on funding STEM training for teachers. For more information about Versacare Foundation’s grant program, visit www.versacare.org.

Below is a complete list of the Pacific Union Conference schools funded in 2020:

Arizona Conference
Cochise SDA Christian School, $5,000
Prescott Adventist Christian School, $5,000
Central California Conference
Hollister SDA Christian School, $5,000
Peninsula Adventist School, $5,000
Sierra View Junior Academy, $10,000
VHM Christian School, $10,000

Hawaii Conference
Mauna Loa School, $5,000
Hawaiian Mission Academy Ka Lama Iki, $10,000

Nevada-Utah Conference
Fallon Adventist Christian School (Nevada), $5,000
Summit Christian Academy (Utah), $10,000

Northern California Conference
Echo Ridge Christian School, $5,000
Foothills Adventist Elementary School, $10,000
Hilltop Christian School, $10, 000
Napa Christian Campus of Education, $10,000
Orangevale Adventist School, $10,000
Pacific Union College Elementary School, $10,000
Paradise Adventist Academy, $10,000
Pine Hills Adventist Academy, $10,000
Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, $10,000
Westlake Seventh-day Adventist School, $5, 000

Southeastern California Conference
El Cajon SDA Christian School, $5,000
Hemet Adventist Christian School, $5,000
La Sierra Academy, $10,000
Mesa Grande Academy, $10,000
Murrieta Springs Adventist Christian Academy, $10,000
Oceanside Adventist Elementary, $10,000
Redlands Adventist Academy, $10,000
Victor Valley SDA School, $5,000

Southern California Conference
Antelope Valley Adventist School, $10,000
Glendale Adventist Academy, $10,000
Newbury Park Adventist Academy, $10,000
San Diego Academy, $10,000
San Fernando Valley Academy, $10,000
Simi Valley Adventist School, $10,000

La Sierra Academy is one of Versacare’s 2020 grant recipients. The academy, together with the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce and the Southeastern California Conference, celebrated the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony of their brand-new STEAM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

Photos: Finny Parchamento