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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Engineering & Technology, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid, Technology, Youth Development Programs

Mission: 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

Programs: 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.

Community Stories

9 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

FIRST has changed my life, and Helps me strive for excellence in everything from robot building, to real life skills.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son's high school just started a FIRST team last school year and the experience he had as a part of the FIRST Robotics season was amazing. We have always known he was an engineer at heart, but this program helped him see it and embrace it for the first time in his life. He is a shy kid, but as the team's driver and captain, he had to overcome his shyness and seek out other teams and collaborate with them in their alliances. Being a part of the FIRST program really opened up something meaningful inside of him.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization is providing experiences and opportunities that our kids and society desperately need. It gives tech-minded kids a place to learn, collaborate, compete, and have fun. More importantly, it encourages the kind of character development that will make our world a better place. I appreciate that they make all of their events free to the public when so many other extracurricular organizations are using performances and competitions as money-making opportunities. Thank you, FIRST!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been so impressed with the students with whom I've interacted! Some of them joined half-heartedly and are now pursuing engineering degrees in college or have gone on to work for NASA and high-tech firms. Others were looking for a way to connect in high school and are now enthusiastic leaders of a team where they are pursuing a new-found passion. It's really wonderful to see the genuine enthusiasm and commitment these students express during the competitions and how that carries over into their school environment!

Kristen58

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a wonderful way for our young population to compete. This program progresses through all grade levels and ages involving its participates in competitions that inspire using STEM and creative disciplines to succeed. Building robots out of LEGO technologies for the younger kids and complicated hardware software components for the older kids. It is extremely close to real-world problem solving through engineering. What a way to build the leaders in the next generations!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was a teammate from 2013-2015 for two seasons,and this influenced me a lot. It even solids my decision to study aboard to see more. Also I am going to become a mentor for FTC and FRC teams this year.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am entering my second year in the FIRST Robotics. This started with me and some friends deciding to start a team. As one thing led to another, we went from three members to a little under twenty team members trying to solve the problem using only the tools we owned and the kit of parts provided. We had a large amount of help from many teams as well as the FIRST workers themselves. In the end we won the rookie inspiration award and almost every team member is back this year with more first year kids with us. It has helped us with our education by teaching us teamwork, responsibility, and helping your fellow teams in their time of need. This is a life changing program that I am ecstatic to be a part of.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FIRST Robotics Program is involves all 50 states, plus many countries. Its purpose is twofold: 1—Help students to develop 21st century skills that all employers are looking for such as: gracious professionalism (teamwork, leadership, problem solving, learning to work with other people, project management, meeting deadlines, working within a budget, etc.) 2—Get students interested in various careers including those that involve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They also provide opportunities for students interested in programming, web design, photography, public relations, marketing, creating business plans, team spirit and more. FIRST creates a school-to-career pipeline through which young people are inspired to explore opportunities in science and technology. By successfully forming coalitions with corporations, universities, and public schools, FIRST has become the premiere after-school engineering and robotics competition program in the nation.

The FIRST Robotics Competition began in 1992 with 28 teams in a New Hampshire high school gym. The FIRST LEGO League program was introduced in 1998, followed by both the FIRST Tech Challenge and the Junior FIRST LEGO League in 2007. Today, with the support of thousands of dedicated volunteers, the organization serves 196,000 students not only in asll 50 states, but also in 9 provinces and 38 countries.

Another of the key benefits of the FIRST programs that I have observed, is the proper behaviors it nurtures. Gracious professionalism and cooperation are FIRST’s core values, encouraging participants in all FIRST programs to do their best work. It is not about winning or losing, but working together to achieve a common goal. FIRST programs embrace and encourage students of varying interests, abilities, and academic competencies and foster participation by all youth, regardless of income, gender, ethnicity, or background.

This is a fantastic after school program for all youth--K-12-- to engage in.

Previous Stories
3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Two years ago I was introduced to a world I never knew existed--the world of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). I was invited to a high-school off-season robotics competition and saw unbridled enthusiasm among the students for learning about and creating robots, employing the disciplines of STEM. I have since observed another key attribute of FIRST: Gracious Professionalism. I see that FIRST is not only fostering a love of STEM, but is also instilling a real sense of citizenship in its participants by encouraging community service, teamwork, sportsmanship, respect for elders and authority, and mentoring of younger students. I have also witnessed how the program has transformed previously undirected youth into focused students with a thirst for obtaining higher education whether in STEM subjects or in Liberal Arts. I do not know of a better after-school program for today's youth and wish I had known about it for my own kids. I am a convert and will be a lifelong volunteer for this organization.