Wellington Management Foundation Provides $250,000 Catalyst Grant to Steppingstone Scholars in Partnership with GRASP and Penn Engineering

September 30th, 2015


Steppingstone Scholars is the recipient of a large investment through a new Catalyst Grant program at Wellington Management Foundation for STEAM Curriculum 

Philadelphia, PA – September 30, 2015 — Steppingstone Scholars – a college access nonprofit dedicated to working with families and school partners to provide rigorous educational programming and support for talented underserved students in Philadelphia to achieve academic success, opportunity, and a college degree – was selected by the Wellington Management Foundation to receive a $250,000 one-time grant to fund a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Collaborative with the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. This investment is channeled through Wellington’s new Catalyst Giving Initiative, launched this summer as a new way to support strategic planning and expansion programs for organizations. Since 1999, Steppingstone has impacted the lives of over 1,000 students in the city of Philadelphia.

The STEAM Education Collaborative is an innovative partnership between Penn Engineering and Steppingstone Scholars to develop and implement a robotics-based STEAM curriculum and programming that spans 4th grade to college and is focused on reducing achievement access gaps in STEAM-related fields. The Collaborative operationalizes the university’s research capacity and the nonprofit’s ability to deliver services that impact students across Steppingstone’s programs, as well as educationally underserved communities throughout Philadelphia.

The Collaborative’s goals are centered on developing a STEAM curriculum that will narrow the preparation and achievement gaps for participating students. The curriculum will then be implemented into Steppingstone’s current programs: The Steppingstone Academy (TSA), a selective city-wide academic program; and the Middle Grades Academy (MGA), Steppingstone’s investment in neighborhood public K-8 schools in North and West Philadelphia. Between the TSA and MGA programs, the STEAM curriculum will serve more than 1,000 students annually across Philadelphia. Beyond Steppingstone’s programs, the Collaborative will develop best practices and curriculum that can be adopted by other schools and programs outside of the Steppingstone network. The signature project of the curriculum is the Blended Learning Initiative: Robotics course that was offered to 11th and 12th grade Scholars this past summer. To view the program in action, visit: bit.ly/BLIRobotics 

“This gift from Wellington Management Foundation’s Catalyst Giving Initiative will be transformative for us,” said Steppingstone President Dr. Sean Vereen. “We believe that the commitment to innovation that is changing the fields of technology and healthcare should be brought to bear on building a college and career pipeline to high quality universities and careers for educationally underserved students. In Wellington and Penn Engineering, we have found fantastic partners to bring this vision into reality for very deserving students in Philadelphia and beyond.”

For over 150 years, Penn Engineering’s world-acclaimed faculty, state-of-the-art research laboratories and highly interdisciplinary curricula have offered a learning experience that is unparalleled. Over 35 undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in the Departments of Bioengineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Computer and Information Science, Electrical and Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Engineering is also home to 16 research institutes and centers conducting innovative interdisciplinary research, epitomizing Penn founder Benjamin Franklin’s idea of joining education and research for a practical purpose.

The Wellington Management Foundation was founded in 1992 in Boston, Massachusetts. Through its annual grant making program, the Foundation currently supports programs and organizations in 9 regions, including Philadelphia, that improve the education and educational opportunities of economically disadvantaged youth. The Catalyst Giving Initiative was launched in 2015 to help education-focused nonprofits that are showing meaningful and sustainable academic outcomes move forward in a significant way towards their strategic vision. 

About Steppingstones Scholars 

Steppingstone Scholars, working with families and school partners, provides rigorous educational programming and support for talented underserved students in the Philadelphia region to achieve academic success, opportunity, and a college degree. For more information, visit http://steppingstonescholars.org or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.