As White House Focuses Nation’s Attention on Astronomy, STEM Funders Network Announces Goal for 100 City and Regional STEM Networks

Arizona SciTech collaborates with national network as part of an
initiative to grow regional education ecosystems

PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Building on more than a decade of research into successful STEM
collaborations, the STEM Funders Network and 350 committed local funders
and organizations are announcing a five-year effort to create 100
tight-knit local STEM networks—STEM ecosystems—that bring together
broad-scale, cross-sector collaborations to nurture and scale effective
science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities
for all young people, especially girls and underserved populations. Arizona
’s participation is a demonstration of their existing
progress in developing a strong STEM community and recognition of their
commitment to continue this work. Arizona SciTech is anchored at both
the Arizona
Commerce Authority
 and the Arizona
Technology Council Foundation
, in collaboration with the Arizona
Board of Regents
, the Arizona
Science Center
, Arizona
State University
and the University
of Arizona

The national STEM
Ecosystems Initiative
was launched in September 2015 with 27
inaugural communities, more than $20 million in funding, and a goal of
reaching 600,000 teachers and students in its first three years. Arizona
SciTech is one of the 27 inaugural communities participating in an
upcoming workshop at the White House, which will be focused on convening
and helping to expand a growing community of practice of local leaders
who are expanding STEM opportunities in their communities.

“The White House Astronomy Night exemplifies how bringing together
scientists, astronomers, industry leaders and others can inspire youth
and stargazers from across the country,” said SFN co-chairs Gerald
Solomon, executive director, Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger,
executive director, Noyce Foundation. “The STEM Ecosystems Initiative
creates these kinds of partnerships locally, and in a sustained way, to
ensure 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.”

“Rich, engaging STEM education is a crucial underpinning of a vibrant
economy,” said Steve Zylstra, President and CEO of the Arizona
Technology Council. “Tomorrow’s tech companies will be founded and
staffed by the young men and women in classrooms today. Programs like
this one ensure provide opportunities for our youth to engage with the
world around them through the lenses of science, engineering and

The 27 communities in the initial cohort of a national
Community of Practice
are demonstrating cross-sector collaborations
to deliver rigorous, effective preK-16 instruction in STEM learning.
These collaborations happen in schools and beyond the classroom—in
afterschool and summer programs, at home, in science centers, libraries
and other places, both virtual and physical. They spark young people’s
engagement, develop their knowledge, strengthen their persistence, and
nurture their sense of identity and belonging in 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
forms 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

The following sites were selected from an invited pool of 70+ applicants
to join the STEM Ecosystems Initiative’s first cohort, creating a
national 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)
  • EvanSTEM (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,

Learn more about the initiative at

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 the Next
Generation Science Standards in all 50 states, as well as dozens of STEM
programs of promise. For more information, please contact

STEM Ecosystems funding members of the STEM Funders Network include: Samueli
, Noyce Foundation, Overdeck
, Charles
and Lynn Schusterman Foundation
, and Simons
, with support by Amgen
, Broadcom
Harman Foundation
, Pinkerton
and Tiger
Woods Foundation

About Arizona SciTech

Arizona SciTech is committed to promoting the celebration of science,
technology and engineering across the state. Spearheaded by its
Foundational Partners the Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Commerce
Authority, Arizona Science Center, Arizona State University, Arizona
Technology Council Foundation and The University of Arizona, Arizona
SciTech’s premier initiative is its annual science festival held in
February and March. Through a series of more than 800 expos, workshops,
conversations, exhibitions and tours held in diverse neighborhoods
throughout the state, the festival excites and informs Arizonans age 3
to 103 how STEM will drive our state. Visit for more


Media contact:
Linda Capcara, 480-229-7090

Arizona Technology Council
Steven G. Zylstra,