10.25.18 / Education

How to Get Funding for Your Classroom STEM Project

Students from Santiago High School in California present their project at the 2017-2018 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow final pitch day.

Samsung is taking this year’s Solve for Tomorrow competition in an even more exciting direction by partnering with education resource funding platform DonorsChoose.org.

As part of the new partnership, the first 3,500 teacher-submitted projects for the national STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) contest will get a 50% match from Samsung on every donation made to the project on DonorsChoose.org – essentially turning every $20 donation into $30, or $100 into $150 – up to $600 total for a school.** The competition is open to public school teachers of students in grades 6-12, including charter schools that receive at least 50 percent public funding.

The partnership between DonorsChoose.org and Samsung Solve for Tomorrow has already helped fund over 300 Solve for Tomorrow projects, and funding will continue until 3,500 projects have been fulfilled through December 31st. However, to be eligible to receive the match offer from Samsung, projects must first be submitted to the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition by October 30th.

With Samsung Solve for Tomorrow well underway, DonorsChoose.org Founder and CEO Charles Best spoke with the Samsung U.S. Newsroom about the partnership and what it means to empower teachers’ education initiatives for thousands of students across the country.

Q: How does partnering with Samsung Solve for Tomorrow enhance the mission of the DonorsChoose.org program?

Charles Best: This partnership brings together Samsung’s resources with ours, amplifying what we do at DonorsChoose.org. We’re very excited that this month’s campaign has already inspired hundreds of projects, and look forward to significantly increasing that number to impact thousands of public school educators and their students across the country.

Samsung is an iconic brand. We’re honored to be their partners. They are not just dedicated to creating innovative products – the company is committed to education and helping to cultivate future tech innovators and business leaders through programs like Samsung Solve for Tomorrow. Together we’re excited to not just celebrate, but propagate the winning ideas.

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Q: How has this month’s joint campaign encouraged teachers to participate and raise funds for their schools?

Charles Best: With Samsung’s matching donations to the DonorsChoose.org projects, this statistically takes project success rates from 64% to 86%. These super generous prizes will prove to be seriously motivational for teachers. If they win one of the prizes they’ll have the opportunity to transform their classrooms by being able to purchase Samsung technology and classroom supplies through the DonorsChoose.org platform.

It really does enable not just a handful of prize winners, but all 3,500 educators involved to benefit from the program. The structure of the partnership means that everyone is a winner, right off the bat.

Q: What have been some of the most interesting projects submitted to DonorsChoose.org via the partnership thus far?

Charles Best: One is from Ms. Farkas in Michigan, who is teaching her students all about neuroscience through a project called “Neuroprosthetics Aren’t Just for Neuroscientists.” She’s showing her students how they can use neuroscience to better understand the mental health challenges they see in their communities — from dementia, to bipolar disorder, to epilepsy and autism. The students are going to build and control their own neural prosthetics. I can barely imagine what that will be like!

Another project is by Mr. Vizthum in Fresno, CA, whose students live in areas recently affected by the California wildfires. Check out their project “Students Seeking Solution for Poor Air Quality.” They’ve found there isn’t an easy way to detect air quality levels, and they’re determined to do something about it.

A third interesting project is from Mrs. Flett in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Many of her students are from military families and often go through frequent station changes where they all have to move. A lot of waste is created when someone moves, so they’ve designed a way to solve that problem through their project “Solving the PCS Waste Problem!


Students from Gering High School in Nebraska present their project at the 2017-2018 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow final pitch day.

But these are just a small sliver of the innovative ideas we’re seeing teachers and their students come up with to meet the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow challenge of solving a community problem using STEM. We would love to take this opportunity to not only encourage everyone to donate what they can to these projects and help turn them into realities for these students, but also call upon teachers to submit an application today to join in and get their projects funded.

Q: As a former teacher yourself, how important is it for leading brands like Samsung to step in and help provide students with STEM educational material?

Charles Best: It’s super important. Thirty-seven percent of the projects that live on DonorsChoose.org right now are in the math and science subject category. This is arguably the most critical area of need on our site. The fact that leading brands like Samsung are stepping up to help these teachers is amazing.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is unique in that it’s helping these teachers go beyond traditional STEM educational programs. This competition helps get these teachers on the national stage to share their ideas and passions for their projects — projects that address real-world problems in a 21st Century learning environment.

Learn more or apply to Samsung Solve for Tomorrow here.

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*All DonorsChoose.org projects mentioned are random and do not reflect any standing in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.
**Download Samsung Solve for Tomorrow official rules: Click Here
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