Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders


Rating: 4.88 stars   109 reviews 7,217


200 Bedford Street Manchester NH 03101 USA


FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Inventor Dean Kamen to inspire and excite secondary high school students about mathematics, science and engineering. Many companies and organizations have established bridges with local schools to help ensure the future presence of a qualified work force, few programs have been developed on the national level. One program that has, and has been very successful in its mission, is the national robotics competition of FIRST. The FIRST conducts regional and national design competitions which demonstrate that engineering, math and science can be interesting, captivating and entertaining as a sporting event.

Target demographics:

participants master skills and concepts to aid in learning science and technology through innovative projects and robotics competitions, while gaining valuable employment and life skills.

Geographic areas served:

US and 80+ countries


The first robotics competition (frc) directly served approximately 72,500 high school students on 2,900 teams. Working with mentors, each team built a robot in six weeks from a kit of common parts, designing it to meet this year's game challenge, "recycle rush. " each team participated in one or more 2 to 3-day events at 109 locations, competing for awards for game scores, safety practices, teamwork and other qualitative achievements, stressing the values of cooperation and inclusion. Award winning teams participated in the annual championship event in st louis, mo. The frc program provided students with the experience of applying science and technology to achieve a specific challenge under a time constraint. (narrative continued on schedule o, pg. 149). This experience developed students' technical skills, teamwork and the ability to deal with the satisfactions and disappointments of a real engineering project. Participation in frc has inspired many students to go on to college, pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. Many frc coaches and mentors work in these fields and help the students develop bonds within their communities and connections to the workforce development pipeline. Students in the frc program are eligible for college scholarships through the first scholarship program.

the first lego league (fll) reached approximately 208,000 students aged 9-16, on 26,044 teams in more than 80 countries. This year's challenge was called "fll world class. " teams worked on game challenges using lego mindstorms technology, applying science and engineering to master complex missions to redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. In april 2015, teams from around the world met in st louis, mo for the fll world festival competition and celebration. The junior first lego league (jrfll) program served approximately 33,000 students aged 6 to 9, on 5,653 teams through a web-based game challenge called "jrfll think tank. " (narrative continued on schedule o, pgs. 149-150). Participation in fll and jrfll has engaged students in a comprehensive experience developing confidence in their ability to address serious issues, enhancing their education in science and math, and exposing them to a stem career. By progressing through each program and ultimately to frc, students gain a full suite of technical skills and ongoing encouragement, making it more likely that they will pursue careers in science and technology.

the first tech challenge (ftc) served approximately 44,000 youths from ages 12 to 18 on 4,445 teams. Like the frc program, ftc is a design and build experience but using a smaller kit and simpler game challenge. In this year's game, "cascade effect," each team built a robot and participated in a regional tournament. Ftc provides an experience similar to the frc program, but is more readily accessible to a broader audience of educators and students, in part because of its lower cost. The ftc experience simulates the excitement as well as the pressure of a real-life engineering project, developing not only the students' technical know-how, but also leadership, cooperation, ability to plan, patience, and teamwork. (narrative continued on schedule o, pg. 150). Like the frc program, ftc enriches the participating students' ability to deal with the satisfactions and disappointments of a real engineering project. The ftc experience expands students' interest in science, technology, engineering and math, and inspires many to go on to a higher education. Like the frc participants, students in the ftc program are eligible for some of the college scholarships through the first scholarship program. By progressing through each program and ultimately frc, students gain a full suite of technical skills and ongoing encouragement, making it more likely that they will pursue careers in science and technology.

the $118,030 of expenses and $3,345 of program service revenue reported are first place (fp) costs and revenue. Fp provided on-site research, testing, and evaluation of existing programs and hosted some training events and conferences related to program development and expansion. Fp provided local educators and students with hands-on learning opportunities during summer vacation and spring break. The first scholarship program attracted 180 colleges, universities, businesses, and professional associations. These organizations offered $22 million in college scholarships to first program participants. First provided guidance to high school students encouraging them to apply. Awards ranged from $500 to full tuition. The costs of the first scholarship program are included on form 990, part iii. The first volunteer program provided support to teams, coaches and our regional staff around the country by recruiting, screening and training volunteers who are needed for all first programs. An estimated 150,000 volunteers, including federally funded vista workers, provide much of the efforts behind first's programs. The costs of the first volunteer program are included on form 990, part iii. The following is the total cost, grants provided, and revenue from our first place programs.

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review
Invite Reviews Share This Nonprofit

More Info

(800) 871-8326

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on

Reviews for FIRST

Rating: 5 stars  

This program is changing the culture of our world for the better. Pairing students with professional mentors to work side by side to achieve a goal with too little resources and time is astonishing.

Many people think that FIRST is just about engineering and robots but as someone who went into digital marketing I can tell you that what FIRST is: FIRST is an opportunity to be inspired. It is the platform that is provided that can launch your life by not just teaching the technical skill, but the soft skills required to be prosperous. Coming into FIRST when I was in high school I was deathly afraid of public speaking. Now I embrace it though hosting events, my own podcast, and articulating myself to be the influential person in the room.

I now give back as a mentor in my own FIRST program to hopefully inspire the next generation as I was before. Thank you FIRST.

Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

FIRST is amazing! I'm in FRC, and have learned so much (both technical knowledge and general life skills) from the hands-on experience it provides.

Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

This organization helps students achieve their goals.

Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

FIRST is all around great! Their progression of programs FLL Jr. > FRC and everything in between is a great learning mechanism.

Flag review
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

US FIRST IS A Wonderful STEM program that allowed my son to make new friends, learn life skills, teach younger kids, educated him in computer and mechinal engineering. FIRST made his high school career extremely successful, helping him grow from a shy child into a team leader. Being part of a championship team won him college scholarships to a prestigious engineering university. He is on track to be an extraordinary adult.

Flag review
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

FIRST Robotics is one of the best educational experiences available right now. You build robots that play sports against other schools. It combines the learning of Robotics with the intangibles and excitement of sports. Strong students learn very high level skills to become real high flyers in life. Weaker students gain inspiration, excitement and motivation towards learning dreaded subjects like science, technology, engineering and math. I've seen at risk students choose to stay in school and build successful careers because of Robotics. I've seen smart kids learn the work ethic and confidence needed to launch start-ups and have them purchased by Google. I've even seen it save an entire school by providing a marquee program that the entire community rallied around, causing enrollments double. It is a life changing program for everyone who gets involved. We just need to keep spreading the word about this amazing program, because every student should have access to it.

Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

Having seen this organization in action working with kids, I can easily award them 5 stars!

Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

The best! I've watched kids step out of their shells and let their ideas bloom.

Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

As a current member of the FIRST group, I can say that I am 100% proud to be a current 2nd year participant. Going through the FIRST Stronghold gave me a huge boost in my understanding of engineering, a greater sense of teamwork, and gave me a chance to make more friends and meet new people. It is very exciting to go to each competition and see how well the project you worked on does.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?


How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?


How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Flag review
Rating: 5 stars  

Incredible program for kids and youth! I have volunteered as a Judge and as a coach. Very well planned and organized.

Flag review