"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."

Dean Kamen, Founder


Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

All kids need equitable access to opportunity, relevant mentorship, and engagement to build a foundation for a bright future. FIRST® is committed to bringing its programs to students who would benefit most and is actively engaged in developing strategies that will ensure greater access to its programs and reduce inequalities. Through the 2020 STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant, FIRST is equipping up to 15 communities with $5,000 - $50,000 in funding to improve outreach and inclusion through training, disability inclusion tools, resources, and forming influencers affinity groups. 

We are now accepting nominations for the 2020 STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant exclusively from U.S. and Canada based Program Delivery Partners, VISTAs, and Senior Mentors. Your connection to the local FIRST community and youth organizations is critical to helping us identify those who can benefit most from the grant.  If you are a Program Delivery Partner located outside North America, and would like to be nominated for this grant, please connect with your Field Operations Manager.

Nomination criteria and important dates:

  • We ask that you make one nomination per community. 
  • Grant nominees will be considered based on their organization’s innovative inclusion strategies, underserved and underrepresented youth reach, and plans for sustainability, team growth, and removing any identified participation barriers.
  • All nominations must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on November 15, 2019.
  • Select communities will be invited to submit full proposals from November 21, 2019 through December 30, 2019.
  • Funded communities will be notified by March 30, 2020 of our intent to make a grant award. Funded communities will implement proposed activities from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

If you do not have a Submittable account, you will need to sign in or create one before you can submit your nomination. If you are part of a youth community organization in the U.S. or Canada and would like to be nominated for this grant, please contact a local FIRST representative. 

Any questions about the 2020 STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant can be directed to diversity@firstinspires.org.

This grant is made possible as part of the FIRST Equity, Diversity & Inclusion strategy with generous support from our sponsors 3M, Apple, BOSCH, Booz Allen Hamilton, Caterpillar, Cognizant Technology Solutions, The Walt Disney Company, Dow, John Deere, Qualcomm Incorporated, Toyota U.S.A. Foundation, United Technologies Corporations, individuals, and anonymous donors. 

 The FIRST Tech Challenge program is seeking several interested individuals to serve as our world championship key volunteers. The roles we’re hoping to recruit for are:  

  • Head Referee 
  • Referee 
  • Judge Advisor 
  • Judge  
  • Field Technical Advisor 
  • Emcee 
  • Game Announcer 

Key volunteers are our hardest working volunteers at our championship event. As a member of the key volunteer team please expect to contribute additional prep and planning time, train with our existing key volunteers, and help run our world championship event. These are time intensive roles and require that you be one of the first volunteers to arrive on site and each day and the last to leave the championship site and the event each day. Please note that these roles are less flexible than other roles at the event, and we will require you attend championship for the entire week. 

Volunteer Role Requirements: 

  • You must have volunteered for the specific role you’re applying for at championship in your region throughout the regular season. (The more experience you have in the role the better)
  • Complete the role training in Blue Volt and attend the specific Community Training Calls  
  • Gracious Professional attitude 
  • Team Player 
  • Contribute to planning and prep work for the event 
  • Applicants must be a minimum of 25 years old (except for the Game Announcer position). 

Thank you so much for applying, please note that submitting an application does not guarantee a role.