Science Museum of Virginia Announces Gift from Altria Group

. October 23, 2013

A recent leadership gift of $1 million from the Altria Group will enable the museum to advance its statewide outreach strategy to engage middle-grades students in hands-on STEM learning after school. “Altria has been generous with both its philanthropic dollars and its intellectual capital,” explains Museum Director/Chief Wonder Officer Richard Conti. “As leaders in supporting urban education in our community, our colleagues there helped us define our niche and deepen our impact. After years of supporting the museum’s programs for youth in Central Virginia, Altria is helping us both to continue building our effectiveness with local students, and create infrastructure and partnerships to reach out beyond the metro area over the next five years.”

The program sets out to foster participants’ interest in STEM and learning, to increase awareness and perhaps set in motion academic pathways toward a STEM career. The out-of-school-time (OST) STEM project team, led by Charles English, works closely with a broad range of partners in Richmond, Petersburg, and Hopewell including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, 4-H, Communities in the Schools and Higher Achievement. “We share a commitment to empowering kids,” English explains, “particularly kids who have the least opportunity and the greatest need for experiences that give them something to build on for their future. We found in settings like the Boys & Girls Clubs and Middle School Renaissance a desire for high quality learning experiences but a need for a model that lets kids drive the learning through activities that don’t look or feel like more school. Project-based learning lets kids use STEM tools and technology to solve real world problems and challenges.”

Category: Science Technology

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