Greenwich Academy has been awarded the prestigious Edward E. Ford Foundation Educational Leadership Grant to support the expansion of its groundbreaking Girls Advancing in STEM (GAINS) initiative. The grant is valued at $500,000 with $250,000 coming from the foundation, and GA committing to a 1:1 match through fundraising efforts within the school community.
The GAINS Network was established by Greenwich Academy in 2011 to connect girls with a passion for STEM with each other and with women working and studying in STEM fields to support, teach, and inspire one another. An online portal hosted by GA provides access to role models and virtual mentors, and offers networking opportunities for women and girls at various stages of their educations and careers.
In 2015, with a grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation, GA launched the GAINS Conference. High school girls from across the nation attend these 3-day conferences which are held with the support of top research universities and global corporations. Past conferences have been held on the campuses of MIT, Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, in Silicon Valley, and at the Times Square offices of Oath. The fifth annual GAINS Conference is being planned for November 2019 in partnership with Penn Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
In recent years, GA has worked with GAINS member schools to help them establish their own GAINS Clubs, STEM interest groups for girls with year-round STEM professional and educational programming.
The E.E. Ford Leadership Grant will have a transformational effect on the GAINS Network, Clubs, and Conference. The planned program enhancements will be carried out over three years and include:
- Developing a blueprint for establishing student-led GAINS Clubs that is widely replicated, primarily at independent schools across the country.
- Sustaining the nationally recognized GAINS Conference.
- Upgrading the Network's virtual platform for information sharing and to establish a database that will help GA with outreach, tracking, and stewardship.
Head of School Molly King led GA's effort to secure this highly competitive grant. She said, "We are absolutely thrilled and honored to have received a leadership grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation to support the growth of the GAINS initiative. As I shared with the foundation's board in my recent presentation, we were so grateful for the initial grant they gave us back in 2014 to launch the first GAINS conference at MIT. Now we are at another crossroads—moving from an initiative with scaffolding and a lot of positive energy to building out the infrastructure of a sustainable program capable of transforming the lives of girls interested in STEM."
Executive Director of the E.E. Ford Foundation John Gulla shared, "GA has really hit the sweet spot for the foundation" by demonstrating how E.E. Ford's early support helped GA make a meaningful impact on hundreds of girls and young women interested in STEM education and career opportunities.
About the Edward E. Ford Foundation
The mission of the Edward E. Ford Foundation is to strengthen and support independent secondary schools and to challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions.