Technology nonprofit Maydm announced in a press release Thursday that it has been awarded a $50,000 general grant from the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CUNA Mutual Group, which supports non profit organizations that address economic challenges, education disparities, and equity issues within communities.
Maydm introduces girls and youth of color to technology and programming through project-based learning to balance the disparities within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. For esxample, at the Circuits, Cards and Code event in December 2017, students were encouraged to learn the fundamentals of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning alongside their parents through a relatable project that they could take home and flaunt to their families.
“We are thrilled with this grant award and that CUNA Mutual recognizes the value of Maydm’s programming,” said Maydm Founder and Executive Director Winnie Karanja in a statement. “Maydm offers immersive out-of-school programs and workshops where students in grades 6-12 build the skill set to pursue exciting career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), creating a diverse workforce pipeline in Dane County. Our programs and workshops distinctly integrate technical skills, problem solving, design thinking, innovation, and teamwork to promote our students’ personal, academic, and professional growth. Maydm empowers students to develop high wage skills for a successful future.”
In the press release, Karanja said the grant will help Maydm expand its innovative approach.
“With a focus on providing girls and youth of color the opportunity to gain skills-based training in the technology sector, Maydm is reaching a group in our community that is typically underrepresented. The grant from the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation helps to expand the educational opportunities that Maydm offers to ensure this innovative programming is available and accessible to more kids in our community” said Cedric Ellis, executive vice president and Chief Enterprise Services Officer, CUNA Mutual Group, in a statement.
“Maydm has been the first in-depth STEM adventure for the majority of the students we’ve worked with, and we want to make it as accessible as possible. We are growing our summer programs into 3 and 5 week full day and 8 week half day immersion camps that will expand opportunities for deep learning. Full-day programming makes it easier for working families to participate, many of whom live in underserved areas of Madison. We will continue to make program opportunities accessible for all by offering need-based scholarships, providing nutrition throughout the day, and hosting programs in community accessible locations. Transportation is also an aspect that Maydm looks to make available.”
By developing students’ skills with technology, Maydm is also making a significant impact on the community, “In Dane County, girls and students of color are faced with profound and persistent disparities in education, employment, and income. At the same time, Wisconsin’s technology industry, which offers long-term careers at an average salary of $75,912, is in great need of qualified programmers. Maydm views this as both a challenge and an amazing opportunity. Our programs equip girls and students of color with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to pursue a future in the tech field, improving their quality of life and revolutionizing the tech industry. This grant from the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation shows a commitment to building equity in this space.”
Karanja is excited for everything Maydm has planned for 2019.
“Combating gender and racial disparities and overcoming adversity is very challenging,” Karanja said in a statement. “But we at Maydm know that with wonderful partners like the CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, we can dare to imagine and realize a different world.”