September 5, 2023

2023 Community Improvement Initiative Grant Recipient: Saginaw STEM

A program geared for students in grades K-12 that brings learning opportunities and activities centered around STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) is getting a huge boost. Saginaw STEM’s “STEM Saturdays” initiative was awarded in June Saginaw Community Foundation’s Board of Directors’ Community Improvement Initiative $25,000 grant at our Annual Celebration.

STEM Saturdays are hands-on interactive experiences with STEM activities. Hosted at a Saginaw Public School’s building, the venue is transformed into a laboratory where students participate in hands-on STEM experiences supervised by community volunteers including engineers, teachers, parents, local leaders and high school peer leader students. 

“The Community Improvement Initiative grant is a game changer for us,” said Danté Davis, executive director and founder of Saginaw STEM. “The funds will be going towards expanding the program and increasing the number of events per year. We will be able to plan and schedule our programing on a monthly basis for an entire year – something we have not been able to do. This grant has helped save the STEM Saturdays program.”

Each Saturday program guides students as they create projects related to a STEM theme. Students build items like catapults, rocket cars, rockets, circuits, motorboats, mechanical hearts and lungs, traffic lights, robots and electric charging stations, to name a few.

“Our mission is to grow, engage, expose, and inspire future innovators, creators, makers, and entrepreneurs,” said Davis. “We strive to help members of the community to learn about opportunities in the fields of STEM.”

STEM Saturdays launched in 2021 and quickly became a hit with students, with attendance quickly growing into hundreds of attendees at each session. The sessions are offered free-of-charge to participants.

“Interest in STEM Saturdays was nearly instant,’ remarked Davis. “It really proved to us that there was a great need in our community to get students engaged in STEM.”

Davis shared that receiving the $25,000 Community Improvement Initiative grant is a huge accomplishment for Saginaw STEM and its STEM Saturdays program.

“Being awarded the grant has definitely created more buzz around our program,” said Davis. “The grant has helped legitimize what we are doing. With the backing of Saginaw Community Foundation, other funders in our community are offering their support, especially with helping us match the grant amount to receive additional funding from SCF.”

A component of the Community Improvement Initiative grant is if the initial $25,000 is matched with another $25,000, SCF will award an additional $5,000.

“It’s more than just receiving the dollars,” said Davis. “We’re aligning the ideas and goals of STEM Saturday’s to match SCF’s goals for our community, which comes down to putting kids first. They are our future, and we are helping prepare and instill in them the tools and knowledge needed to compete in the world.”