We all know that access to expansive STEM education is essential for kids growing up today. It not only introduces what are now the basic skills needed to thrive in a high-tech world, but it has the potential to open up unlimited career opportunities to those kids who find their passion lies in areas like science, coding, math — and even music, graphic design, filmmaking, and really, problem solving of all kinds.
So I am really taken with the work of the i.am.angel foundation, founded by musician, producer, entrepreneur and committed philanthropist, will.i.am. And in honor of Giving Tuesday, I hope it will be another worthy, impactful foundation that ranks high on your giving list.
The foundation started as a way to bring more resources to will.i.am’s East LA hometown of Boyle Heights, and has expanded to provide myriad STEAM opportunities for kids in communities in need.
There’s a growing college scholarship program; the i.am. College Track which is helping dozens of kids at or below the poverty line with college readiness, admissions and scholarships; and i.am.STEAM, which brings 7 different programs to kids including a NASA space education partnership, hackathons for future coders, and access to the FIRST robotics program.
(My own daughter participated in the FIRST LEGO League competition twice, and I can vouch for how incredible all the FIRST programs are.)
I’m also intrigued by i.am.ART which helps inspire kids to create solutions to global problems by combining science, technology, and meaningful arts education, which is one area of study I’m extremely passionate about.
Related: STEM education: 7 awesome ways to get girls excited, from apps to clubs to cool websites
What I really like about the foundation’s expansive work is that it isn’t just about test-prepping the enthusiasm right out of kids, or even promoting science education at the expense of all the other important subjects that comprise a well-rounded education. The foundation recognizes kids’ need for social, artistic, language, and creative development too, which is no surprise considering who the founder is.
One of their College Track programs even sent seven East LA students to China on scholarship, to study the language and culture first-hand in Beijing. Wow.
So how can you support their outstanding work? Well, you can donate directly to the i.am.angel.foundation which is a great way to get in another end-of-year tax deducation.
You can also shop! We included the brand new, super sleek i.am+ Bluetooth headphone buttons in our Cool Mom Picks Holiday Gift Guide this year, among our suggestions for gifts that give back to 35 great causes. While proceeds don’t directly go to the foundation, we’re always happy to support companies run by people dedicating their lives to good, especially when their work involves lifting up local communities in need, and making sure every kid has the very best chance to live up to his or her potential.
Learn more about the fantastic work of the i.am.angel foundation, and donate directly to the i.am.angel Fund, a sponsored program of the 501(c)(3) Social Impact Fund.