Finalists Announced in STEM Coalition Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 16, 2018 – Today, US2020 announces 15 finalists for the STEM Coalition Challenge, a competition for communities across the country to develop cross-sector partnerships to bring quality hands-on STEM mentoring and maker-centered learning to underrepresented students. These finalists will now move forward to compete for $1 million in resources to implement their bold strategies, representing some of the most innovative approaches to tackling the opportunity gap through STEM.

“We received so many great ideas and are inspired by the response of the country,” said Esra Ozer, President of Arconic Foundation, a sponsor of the Challenge. “Arconic Foundation is excited to support and galvanize the efforts of these diverse communities, and we look forward to learning about the wins, challenges, and new ideas that come from this group of finalists.”

The Challenge received 92 applications from 82 communities across 35 states, representing more than 1,800 nonprofit, companies, school districts, and local government partners. “It is clear by the national response that there is an interest and a need to increase STEM education opportunities for America’s youth. In order to ensure an economy and country of diverse thinkers and doers, we need to continue to shine a light on the STEM collaborations that are on the ground. We need to collectively lift up programs that are inspiring more students to become the next generation of change-makers,” said, Em McCann, Chief Executive Officer of Citizen Schools, the umbrella non-profit working to expand learning opportunities to underserved students across the country.

The finalists are:

Finalists were evaluated based on their potential for impact, approach to partnership building, creative engagement strategies, and sustainability planning. Finalists will gather on January 31 for the STEM Collaboratory, a two-day workshop in Pittsburgh, PA, where they will be joined by STEM experts and creative community builders. The event will allow finalists to share, learn, and inspire one another to build local movements and bridge the opportunity gap.

Winners will be announced in Spring 2018. The $1 million in total prize value will be shared across eight winners and is comprised of financial, consulting, and staff support, including:

  • Three $50,000 cash prizes
  • Two full-time staff placements in five winning locations
  • Access to US2020’s dynamic volunteer matching platform
  • National visibility and communications opportunities with US2020 and its partners
  • Measurement and evaluation tools and support
  • Management consulting services from US2020 and external partners; and
  • Membership in the US2020 Learning Network and national Community of Practice

In addition to Arconic Foundation, US2020’s work is supported by national investments from Amgen, Chevron, Discovery Communications, Genentech, Fidelity Investments, Tata Consultancy Services, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Media Contacts
Megan Salgado — US2020 | 804.504.6385

About US2020
US2020, a division of Citizen Schools is working to dramatically scale the number of STEM professionals mentoring and teaching students through hands-on projects with a focus on serving underrepresented communities, especially girls, underrepresented minorities, and low-income children. Through partnerships at the national level and coalitions at the local level, US2020 has built a network of more than 350 organizations in 13 cities actively working to scale the STEM mentoring field, to align the field on common metrics, and to advance a focus on quality. Learn more at

About Citizen Schools
Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities. Citizen Schools mobilizes a team of AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” to teach real-world learning projects and provide academic support, in order to help all students discover and achieve their dreams.
Learn more at