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A New Orleans-based nonprofit that has a mission rooted in making STEM education accessible in underserved communities has received a major boost from the NBA’s philanthropic imprint. STEM NOLA was among the endowment recipients of the NBA Foundation’s Black economic empowerment initiative.

Launched in 2013 by former Tulane University Engineering professor Dr. Calvin Mackie, the nonprofit was cultivated to eliminate socioeconomic barriers that prevent youth from learning about science, technology, engineering, and math. The community-driven organization works in concert with educators, parents, and other stakeholders to bring interactive activities and immersive learning experiences to youngsters, all in an effort to diversify the industry and empower the next generation of STEM innovators. Since its inception, STEM NOLA has served over 100,000 students at over 5,000 schools.

To help advance STEM NOLA’s transformative work the nonprofit will share $4.8 million in funds—provided by the NBA Foundation—with 12 other impactful organizations.

“Just as a college education is oftentimes the prerequisite for entry into the best and fastest-growing careers, having skills in STEM allows students the ability to compete in a global society and have 21st-century career success,” Dr. Mackie shared in a statement. “These funds will give us the opportunity to further invest in developing the next generation of creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs with these essential skills, and we greatly appreciate the support of the NBA Foundation for making a commitment to supporting our efforts to further our mission.”

Other nonprofits that received grants include the criminal justice reform organization Avenues for Justice, the education-centered nonprofit 10,000 Degrees, Action for Boston Community Development, Inc., the Center for Black Educator Development, and the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. The grants are part of the NBA Foundation’s $300 million pledge to empowering Black youth.

“We want to strengthen the organizations that we’re partnering with, and we want to accelerate outcomes for young people around employment and jobs–particularly for Black youth,” shared NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor.


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