As the leader in STEM education efforts for the state of Indiana since 2001, TechPoint Foundation for Youth (TPF4Y) has impacted hundreds of thousands of Hoosier students through various hands-on programs. Learn more about our past initiatives below.
At the 2013 White House Science Fair, President Obama issued a call to action, illuminating the need to engage more STEM professionals as mentors. US2020 answered that call with their City Competition, which challenged communities to develop plans to increase the scale and quality of mentorship between professionals working in STEM and students underrepresented in those fields.
The overall goal was to match 1 million STEM volunteers with students participating in high impact programming by the year 2020, creating moments of discovery for the next generation of STEM professionals. During the first City Competition, 52 cities across the U.S. applied, and 7 winning cities were selected to lead the movement. Indianapolis was one of them.
TPF4Y took the lead on implementing the US2020 initiative in Indianapolis and the pilot year kicked off in August of 2014. With the support of our Guiding Coalition partners, we recruited STEM professionals to work with vetted, high-impact programs in order to significantly increase STEM mentoring opportunities for girls, minorities, and low-income youth.
In 2019, US2020 announced a new name, Makers + Mentors Network, which signifies their ongoing commitment to maker-centered learning opportunities and providing STEM mentors to underrepresented youth.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a multinational, non-profit organization that aspires to transform our culture, making science, math, engineering, and technology as cool for kids as sports are today. Founded in the fall of 2001 as the Indiana-based affiliate of FIRST robotics, IndianaFIRST brings FIRST programming to students in grades K-12, teaching them hands-on, relevant skills in engineering, science and technology.
TechPoint Foundation for Youth began working with IndianaFIRST in 2011, setting the groundwork that helped the organization receive their 501c3 status in April of 2012. Since forming that partnership, IndianaFIRST has grown each robotics level exponentially in the state, nearly doubling the number of high school FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, expanding from 7 FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams to 38, and increasing the number of FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) teams from 228 to 424, all by 2014.
Also in 2014, Indiana was approved to host new district events to replace their previous regional event model, allowing for more events in the state that are less expensive to run. In addition, IndianaFIRST hired their first official Executive Director.
The New Tech Network is a national, nonprofit organization that helps implement innovative high schools that boast a 95% 4-year graduation rate. The design provides a rigorous and engaging high school experience that features project-based learning, the seamless use of technology, and a positive and empowering school culture.
In 2005, the TechPoint Foundation for Youth formed a partnership with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to bring Indiana’s first urban-youth-serving New Tech High to Indiana. New Tech High @ Arsenal Tech opened its doors in 2007, with its first graduating class receiving diplomas in 2012, doubling the graduation rate of their IPS peers.
TPF4Y invested over $400,000 in New Tech High @ Arsenal Tech and assisted the school with numerous partnerships in the areas of community outreach, volunteer recruitment, and technology support.
By the end of the 90’s, a “digital divide” had grown between those who knew how to use computers, and those who did not. In response to this need, Daniel Kent began Net Literacy in 2003 as a sophomore in high school in order to establish a program where students teach senior citizens computer skills on a one-to-one basis. Since that time, Net Literacy has expanded beyond its original program, Senior Connects, to develop an integrated series of digital literacy programs including Community Connects, Safe Connects, Financial Connects, and Computer Connects, all of which focus on different aspects of the ever-evolving digital divide that first inspired their work.
TechPoint Foundation for Youth was a key partner in helping to develop capacity for Net Literacy since their inception. As the organization expanded, TPF4Y provided a broad range of support services and resources, including financial support through matching grants and community partnerships.
Net Literacy has continued to be successful, having provided or expanded computer access for over 250,000 individuals in three states (Indiana, Wyoming, and Illinois), donated 32,000 computers, and raised $500,000 in scholarship money from several colleges and universities to award to inner city youth as well as over $10,000,000 in cash and in-kind services.