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: