ORONO — Maine Robotics has announced it received two major grants from foundations that will improve and expand the organization’s statewide STEM programming for children.

One is a $50,000 grant from the Manton Foundation and the other is a $20,395 grant from the Davis Family Foundation. The combined $70,395 will allow the organization to offer more programs and make it more accessible to a greater number of communities.

The Manton Foundation funds will support the Maine FIRST Lego League program, with $25,000 in general support and $15,000 to be used to assist teams with the cost of participation.

The foundation included an additional $10,000 to assist Maine Robotics with promotion and marketing. It is Maine Robotics’ second grant from the Manton Foundation; the first was in 2016.

The FIRST Lego League program is a worldwide STEM program that engages over 300,000 children each year, from over 80 countries. Each year, children ages 9 to 15 learn about engineering and programming as they build and program Lego robots to complete themed challenges and conduct research projects.

This year’s topic, HydroDynamics, will teach youth about water resources.

Maine Robotics runs the educational program in Maine and coordinates more than 90 Maine teams from all over the state. The season culminates in regional qualifiers and a state championship in Augusta on Dec. 9.

Davis Family Foundation funds will support the summer STEM camps through the purchase of new equipment. The funds will help Maine Robotics purchase new or used laptops, computer cases, projectors, Lego Robotics kits and two 3-D printers. The foundation has supported Maine Robotics twice in the past, in 2008 and 2015.

Maine Robotics runs high tech camps and will serve over 700 children across Maine this summer, making it Maine’s largest academic summer camp program. With camps in LEGO robotics, programming Minecraft, building desktop computers and 3-D design and printing, the camps are equipment intensive and electronics need to be replaced every four years.

The Davis grant will help keep costs to families down, a goal of Maine Robotics as it works to make the programs available to as many Maine youth as possible.

FMI: www.mainerobotics.org.


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