Sharing STEM: Why Texas Instruments spreads the love of science and math

Editor's note: Texas Instruments is a client of SVCF. This feature first appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of SVCF magazine.

STEM

For Silicon Valley students and teachers who have a passion for math and science — and for students whose passion is yet to be discovered — 2015 was a year to celebrate. 

Partnering with SVCF, Dallas-based Texas Instruments (TI) granted nearly $1 million to programs in Santa Clara County that improved teacher effectiveness, student achievement and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Education is TI’s top philanthropic objective. Through TI’s “Power of STEM  education” grants, TI supports science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs that havea track record of improving student achievement and increasing the effectiveness and quantity of STEM teachers.

“Over the last five years, TI has invested $150 million in education,” says Andy Smith, executive director of the TI Foundation and director of TI’s corporate philanthropy. The company also encourages volunteering. In 2015, TI’s employees worldwide volunteered nearly 130,000 hours—the majority of which was devoted to education projects.

SVCF’s relationship with the TI Foundation began in 2011, after TI acquired National Semiconductor, which was headquartered in Santa Clara. “Since then, we have partnered with SVCF on our grantmaking to identify the best programs that will make an impact,” Smith says.

TI’s Power of STEM Education grant program strives to engage students in math and science. Special consideration is given to programs that reach female and minority students. The number of women, African Americans and Hispanics choosing STEM careers “is woefully underrepresented,” Smith says. “So we’re looking for programs where we can invest to help those students and give them the skills they need for a good job in the 21st century.”

One such program is the partnership between the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), East Side Union High School District and Santa Clara County Office of Education to broaden SVEF’s successful Elevate Math and Science programs to high school juniors and seniors. The program received $325,000 under the SVCF-TI Foundation partnership grants last year. While it’s too soon to discuss results, Smith is encouraged by the collaboration he has seen among grantees.

“We hope that the grants that we’ve given with SVCF support will bring together some of the best minds, hearts and hands to make STEM teaching more effective and STEM achievement more attainable for all students,” he says.