STEM Grant Program

Science - Technology - Engineering - Math

The STEM Grant Program was initiated in the fall of 2016 by the Club. The program’s purpose is to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education by funding STEM projects in public middle schools that would otherwise go unfunded. In 2016, the Optimist Club budgeted $10,000 for this program. Funds are supplied by the Huntsville Optimist Foundation, a non-profit foundation.

Here’s how the program works:

Around the date of October 1, principals of all public middle schools and junior high schools in the City of Huntsville and Madison County school systems are notified by letter of the availability of STEM grants from the Optimist Club of Huntsville. Enclosed in the letter are a Grant Application Form and instructions on how to submit the application. The deadline for submitting grants is the end of October.

All types of grant requests are considered. In 2016, grants were awarded for such diverse uses as hydroponic garden hardware, a field trip to the Alabama Space and Rocket Center, mathematics competition books, robotics hardware, and travel expenses for a Greenpower race team.

In addition to supplying basic information of how the grant is to be used, the application also specifies that a presentation to the STEM Grant Committee is required as well, and that the presentation is to be primarily by students. Optimist committee representatives will come to the school for the presentations at an agreed upon date and time.

Evaluation of the grant requests considers both the STEM merits of the project to be funded and how well the students presented their project to the committee. Secondary evaluation factors are the socioeconomic need of the students and the availability of other funding sources for the project.

After all applications and presentations have been reviewed and evaluated, the STEM Grant Committee makes its grant recommendations to the Club’s board of directors for approval. Upon their approval, checks are written to the schools. In 2016, all checks for the grants were mailed no later than early January.

Click here for the Grant Request Form.