Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation grant helps SHARP Literacy bring STEAM programs to Milwaukee Public Schools
The PGA Tour Champions American Family Insurance Championship returned in 2022 with no restrictions and raised over $2.2 million for charitable organizations. The Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation continues to make an impact in our communities by helping charitable organizations do their important work. As we lead up to the 2023 event, we highlight one of those organizations.
STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) education has a long, rich history in the United States. Before it was formally known as STEAM, these types of programs were created as early as 1862 in the U.S. to promote growth in various fields such as agriculture, space travel and medicine in times of need. Today, the demand for curious problem-solvers in these areas continues to grow.
“The need for a vast, talented workforce in STEM-related fields has never been more necessary,” said Bridget Long, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, to the Harvard Gazette, “Forty percent of all employment revolves around innovation industries, such as clean energy, information technology, defense and advanced manufacturing.”
Access barriers and solutions
The problem is not every child is able to access the tools and programs needed to pursue an education that leads to a promising career in STEAM. These barriers come in many forms including, but not limited to, access to high-speed internet, computers, underfunded schools, gender and racial bias that excludes or discourages participation, and awareness of the value of STEAM education and resources.
In Wisconsin, there is an organization trying to break down these barriers. SHARP Literacy, a local nonprofit located in Milwaukee, is having an impact by partnering with schools to bring STEAM-based experiential programs to 50 schools in Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha. SHARP Literacy offers a variety of programs, all focused on engaging students with hands-on activities, educational tours, collaborative summer and after school programs, mural projects, multi-generational reading programs and more.
STEAM programs often come with a high price tag to schools and families, and with 85% of these students coming from homes classified as economically disadvantaged, SHARP Literacy works to close the opportunity gap by taking price out of the equation. “The opportunity gap comes in many forms,” said Nandini Sinha, chief innovation officer at SHARP Literacy, “We realize that each student has different needs, so we do our best to provide flexible and inclusive programs to students. Our summer program is one example, which helps mitigate the losses that urban students face during the summer.”
SHARP Literacy serves more than 9,000 K3-5th grade students today, and with the help of the American Family Insurance Steve Stricker Foundation grant, they hope to reach 10,000 students by the 2024-2025 school year. “We have used previous funding to grow our Design Through Code program, and we’re grateful for the Steve Stricker Foundation grant that will help us grow our technology, engineering and arts programs to create even more opportunities,” said Nandini.
SHARP’s impact on students
- “It felt cool to make an invention because maybe it could become real. It was hard to do the project, but it just got easier over time. As we worked together more, we stopped arguing. The best part was working together. We sit across from each other, but we didn’t know very much about each other until then.” – Genesis, Escuela Vieau
- “I did coding with SHARP Literacy last year, too. Today we went on Code.org and we tried something a bit harder than what we’ve done before. It was cool to see that you can use coding for programming.” – Keira, Forest Home Avenue Elementary
- “Today I learned to make my own website! I’m SO excited.” – Emilio, Forest Home Avenue Elementary
Learn more about SHARP Literacy and their positive impact in the Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha communities through STEAM programs and resources, by visiting their website.
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About Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation
Established in 2013 when Steve Stricker became a brand ambassador for American Family Insurance, the mission of the foundation is to inspire and develop strong families and healthy kids so they can pursue their dreams. The foundation supports organizations that produce tangible outcomes that align with this mission.
About the American Family Insurance Championship
The American Family Insurance Championship was created in 2016 by American Family Insurance, PGA TOUR Champions and PGA player and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker. Since its inception, the championship and associated events have raised nearly $15 million for the American Family Children’s Hospital and other charities. The 2023 championship will be held June 3 -11 at the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information: Web: amfamchampionship.com; Twitter: @AmFamChamp; Facebook: American Family Insurance Championship; Instagram: amfamchampionship. #AmFamChamp