How does KC STEM Alliance support FIRST® in Kansas City?
KC STEM Alliance fundraises on behalf of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives in the greater Kansas City region. As one of the premier STEM initiatives in the region, KC STEM solicits funds for the purposes of promoting and expanding the FIRST suite of Robotics programs. Through this generous support by its funders, KC STEM Alliance supports FIRST in three important ways.
• KC STEM Alliance manages, executes, staffs and covers all costs associated with Greater Kansas City Regional FIRST tournaments, events and competitions.
This includes, but is not limited to, costs related to location rental, liability insurance, bleachers, signage, programs, trophies, volunteer catering, et al.; staffing each event with KC STEM Alliance employees and volunteers; volunteer recruitment and coordination; and administrative, marketing and media relations support. KC STEM manages the KC FIRST Website and newsletters to distribute information about official FIRST events, grants and opportunities for teams. KC STEM also delivers coaches and volunteer training and workshops.
• KC STEM Alliance is responsible for raising funds to cover salary expenses for the KC FIRST staff including Regional Director, FLL and JR FLL Partner and Volunteer Coordinator.
In addition, the regional structure allows KC STEM Alliance to host additional FIRST staff including a communications manager, two VISTA Americorps team members and a Senior Mentor position. KC STEM Alliance provides KC FIRST with office space; administrative and marketing support; travel and expenses related to education, professional development and training; program evaluation, data collection and database management. In turn, KC FIRST staff provides team and coach development, team and coach communication, team and community outreach and high-level adherence to FIRST standards in program roll out and tournaments.
• KC STEM Alliance awards grants directly to teams for their operating budget, travel and expenses.
Unlike many FIRST regions, the Kansas City region has been able to raise funds not only to support events – but to provide financial support for under-resourced or struggling robotics teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) programs. Funds are generally directed to teams that demonstrate a financial need or in some cases, are rookie teams. In some instances, companies or organizations specify that financial contributions be directed to specific teams or organizations that meet demographic criteria, in which case the KC STEM Alliance serves as a pass through for funds.