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National PTA Expands STEM + Families Grant Program with Support of Bayer, Mathnasium, ThinkFun and littleBits

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Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations

ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Sept. 19, 2018)—National PTA announced today that $335,000 in funding and products will be awarded to PTAs across the country over the next three years to increase family engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The funding is part of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative and builds on the more than $100,000 in funding that was awarded to state, council and local PTAs in the 2017-2018 school year.

“Thousands of students and families across the country participated in events featuring fun and meaningful hands-on STEM experiences last school year,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA. “We are thrilled to provide more PTAs and schools with resources to engage families in STEM education, show children how much fun STEM can be and educate families about STEM careers and education pathways, which is essential to bridge the STEM gap and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.”

As part of the grant program, an initial 30 local PTAs have been selected to receive a $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Science Grant, plus $250 in materials to conduct science experiments with families. Five state/regional/council PTAs have also been chosen to receive a science grant of $3,000 each, plus $500 in materials. Additionally, 10 PTA recipients of previous STEM + Families Science Grants will receive renewed funding to continue their work bringing families together for meaningful STEM experiences. The 45 awards and three grant opportunities are sponsored by Bayer.

Another 35 PTAs have been selected to receive a $1,000 National PTA STEM + Families Math Grant, sponsored by Mathnasium. These PTAs will partner with their local Mathnasium Learning Centers to host a math night for families at their schools.

In addition to the initial science and math grants, 50 PTAs will be selected to receive a package of educational games from logic and STEM game maker ThinkFun to use to host a STEM + Families game night. Another 25 PTAs will be awarded fun, modular electronic invention kits from littleBits, a new supporting sponsor of STEM + Families. The deadline to apply for the games and invention kits is midnight on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018. 

“We are pleased to have littleBits join our STEM + Families initiative and are grateful to all of our sponsors for supporting the efforts of PTA to engage families in STEM education,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “Families play a critical role in children’s academic success and have the biggest influence on children’s educational and career decisions. Families must be included as meaningful partners in STEM education and career pathways to help all children realize their full potential and ensure the long-term economic success of our nation.”


About National PTA

National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit


About Bayer: Science For A Better Life

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2017, the Group employed around 99,800 people and had sales of EUR 35.0 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.4 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.5 billion. For more information, go to Bayer is the presenting and founding sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative, helping the association launch the initiative in 2015.


About Mathnasium

The math education authority for grades 2-12, Mathnasium is North America’s leading math-only supplemental education franchise. Its mission: to provide children with the strong math foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. The result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research, the proprietary Mathnasium Method™ teaches children of all skill levels in ways that make sense to them. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium now has over 900 Mathnasium Learning Centers worldwide and is ranked #28 in Entrepreneur’s 2018 Franchise 500®. For more information, visit Mathnasium has been a founding sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative since 2016, providing support for the “M” in STEM.


About ThinkFun Inc.

For over 30 years, ThinkFun Inc. has been dedicated to creating games that spark curiosity, cultivate confidence, and nurture life-long learners. Its games encourage interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM), while generating excitement for a world of learning through play. Innovation, creativity, value, and fun are the four elements that comprise the development of every game. Ignite the mind and change the world for each player. ThinkFun has been a supporting sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative for two years.


About littleBits

littleBits is the New York-based education startup that invented the electronic building block. These magnetic “Bits” snap together to turn ideas into inventions, transforming the way kids learn so they can grow up to be tomorrow’s changemakers -- no matter their age, gender, race, nationality, or ability. Up to 40 percent of the kids using littleBits kits are girls, which is four times the industry average.

littleBits was founded in September 2011 by Ayah Bdeir, an engineer and interactive artist. An alumna of the MIT Media Lab, Ayah’s TED talk: “Building Blocks that Blink, Beep and Teach” about littleBits has garnered more than one million views. littleBits, itself, has won more than 150 awards in tech, education, and toys -- including The Toy Association’s 2018 Creative Toy of the Year, Common Sense Education’s “2018 Top Pick for Learning,” CNN’s “Top 10 Startups to Watch,” and one of CNBC’s “Next List.” A STEAM leader at home and in the classroom, littleBits has sold millions of kits in over 70 countries.

For more information, please visit littleBits is the newest supporting sponsor of National PTA’s STEM + Families initiative.