KC STEM Alliances announces grant guidelines for 2016-17 FIRST Robotics season

(Sept. 14, 2016)    The KC STEM Alliance is pleased to announce the availability of grants to support and increase student participation in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) in the following counties: Johnson and Wyandotte in Kansas; and Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte in Missouri. Grants are available up to $4,000 for FRC teams and up to $1,500 for FTC teams.

Our Funding Priorities

Eligible recipients include: K-12 public or private schools and non-profit community organizations that serve low-income students and/or traditionally underserved communities. In addition, limited funding is available for rookie (first year) teams. For the purpose of this grant, low-income schools are defined as schools serving a population of at least 40% of students eligible for free or reduced lunch. Underserved populations are defined as females, minorities and students with disabilities.  Funds for this initiative originate from the generosity of multiple local donors to KC STEM Alliance.

The number of grants awarded will depend upon the number and type of applications received and awards will be decided by a grants committee.

Grant goals

The goal of these grants is to sustain robotics programs in underserved communities and facilitate recent start-up teams.  Successful applications will address a diverse socio-economic school environment; increased student engagement in STEM education through FIRST Robotics; commitment to the development of student teams; recruitment of volunteer mentors; designing and building of remote-controlled robots; and, participation in the Kansas City FIRST Regional Competition or a KC FIRST Tech Challenge Qualifier.

Allowable expenses and activities

This cash grant will be paid to the team’s school district or FIRST fiscal agent (non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization) or will go directly to FIRST to underwrite all or part of team registration fees for the 2016 -2017 season.  Examples of allowable expenses and activities include: team registration for competitions and tournament fees, team travel expenses, materials or tools required by the team in order to construct their robot, stipends for coaches or mentors, outreach expenses including costs associated with recruiting students and increasing parental and community support for the program.

Schools and programs that receive this grant agree to:

  • Attend and participate in a Kansas City FIRST Tech Challenge Missouri Qualifier or the Greater Kansas City FIRST Robotics Competition in March 2017 (specific dates TBA). Grantees who fail to participate in an FTC Missouri Qualifier or the Greater Kansas City FIRST Robotics Competition must return any awarded grant funds to KC STEM Alliance by May 31, 2017.
  • Develop and execute plans to increase participation of traditionally underserved students including participation in outreach programming hosted at the KC Engineering Zone or volunteer at the KC FIRST tournament (this can include set-up), or provide support for outreach/mentoring efforts with KC STEM Alliance.
  • Submit an end-of-the-year report that indicates which event(s) the team attended and the level of success in regards to increasing student participation in FIRST activities and events. Please include a final team budget for the current Season indicating actual revenue and expenses for the season. Templates will be provided. (Deadline for final report submission: 5:00 p.m., May 1, 2017.)
  • Participate in data collection and evaluation activities conducted by the KC STEM Alliance, including submission of demographic data on team participants, including gender, ethnicity and grade level of each participant.  New this year:  A valuable component of STEM outreach includes mentoring.  We will ask you to indicate any mentoring activities.


Terms of the Grant:

  • Application deadline: The deadline to submit an application for FIRST team support is 5:00 p.m. October 17, 2016. Applications should include a grant application form and a budget worksheet to be considered complete.
  • Grants will be determined and notification made in by mid-November 2016. Funds will be distributed following notification and upon receipt of invoice from school district or fiscal agent. A sample invoice will be emailed along with grant award notification.
  • Additional funds may be available to teams that advance through the FIRST Championship system. Other grants may be available through the KC STEM Alliance or through other regional or national funders to teams that demonstrate financial need.
  • Teams receiving grants must submit a final report to the KC STEM Alliance no later than May 1, 2017.
  • Teams who do not submit necessary forms and data jeopardize eligibility for future grants.
  • Teams must be in current good standing with KC STEM Alliance grant reporting requirements for grants received from KC STEM Alliance in previous seasons.
  • Submit your grant application via email to: kcfirst@kcfirst.org. Please use “FIRST Team Grant: [School/Team Name]” in the subject line.



FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a national program that partners locally with companies and schools to create challenging after school activities that give students ages 6-18 an exciting platform for discovering career opportunities in STEM. The robotics-based competitions including FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Lego League and FIRST Tech Challenge offer the technology leaders of tomorrow a chance to show off their skills, imagination and gracious professionalism. This year, more than 13,000 students are served by programs like PLTW-Kansas City and Kansas City FIRST in Greater Kansas City. For more information, visit https://www.kcfirst.org/about-us/what-we-do/kc-first/

About KC STEM Alliance
The KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business affiliates and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers to generate a robust force of related professionals for our community. The KC STEM Alliance connects schools, industry partners and affiliate organizations, such as Project Lead The Way and FIRST, by streamlining and simplifying communications for everyone involved. Further, by acting as a hub and resource for the local STEM community, the KC STEM Alliance serves to allocate resources where they are needed–helping to build a more diverse and broad base of support for STEM curriculum and programs.