Chase Invests in Expanded STEM Programming Through United Way


Lexington, KY - Chase will provide United Way of the Bluegrass with a $70,000 grant to continue the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy, a community-based extended school day program in partnership with Fayette County Public Schools and First Bracktown, Inc.

The grant, the third of a $170,000 total investment by Chase will allow the STEM Academy to continue another year and expand to younger students. The program engages African-American male middle school students in academically enriched out-of-school time activities.

“As a commercial banker and the president of Chase in Central Kentucky, I know firsthand the importance of STEM programming because I use math, science and technology every day to run my business,” says Don Hellman. “So when asked to partner with United Way Bluegrass to support the BMW (Black Males Working) programming, we knew what we had to do. Over the past two years, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation provided $100,000 to support STEM programming and I’m proud to say that we’re presenting the United Way with an additional $70,000 – totaling $170,000 towards this important effort to eliminate the very real academic deficits among our African American male middle school students.”

Built on the foundations of First Bracktown Inc.’s Black Males Working Program, the STEM Academy provides intensive afterschool, weekend and summer academic instruction and enhancement opportunities. The goal is for students to achieve academic success, transition to postsecondary opportunities and ultimately successful careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The latest Chase investment will support the expansion of the program to include Pre-BMW (second and third grade) and Junior BMW (fourth and fifth grade) programming. The inclusion of these two new programs would help eliminate academic deficits in sixth graders entering the BMW-STEM program. The goal is to have incoming sixth graders in the BMW-STEM program enter with similar levels of knowledge and ability in order to increase their chances of academic success.

Specifically, The Academy partnership proposes to add the Pre-BMW and Junior BMW programs, while maintaining its current programming serving middle to high school students at Bracktown. The expansion into the younger grades will act as a ‘feeder’ into the middle/high school program at Bracktown. The work on academics during the Pre and Junior programs will mean increased success for participants as they enter middle and high school.

The critical expansion into the younger grades will take place at two other churches in Lexington. Shiloh Baptist church has agreed to host the Pre-BMW programming and Consolidated Baptist church will support the Junior BMW program. Both churches have agreed to support the program efforts, and coordinators for both sites have been identified.

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