July 30, 2019

Helping Build The Next Generation of Innovators

By Protolabs

The Protolabs Foundation provides our employees with the opportunity to give back, develop, and strengthen our communities. In addition to matching gifts and volunteer time to charitable organizations, we also invite employees to nominate charities to receive a grant, which provides STEM learning opportunities in the communities in which we work and live.

In each of our US locations—Minnesota, North Carolina, and New Hampshire—there are amazing groups coming together to inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators through STEM-related education. So, without further ado, here are the 2019 Foundation Grantees and a bit about how they're using the funding.



Leonardo’s Basement | Minneapolis, Minnesota

More than 1,700 students will attend workshops or visit on field trips to build engineer, art, and technology projects. The first two weeks of summer workshops at Leonardo’s Basement included Circuit Playground Express w/ Arduino, LEGO Dream Job, CNC Cutters, Welding and Woodworking, Hotwheels/Matchbox Re-deux and Track Construction, Evidence of Mythological Creatures, Millennium Falcon Technicians, Pneumatics, Leather Craft, and the always popular Build What You Want. Over 100 different workshops will take place over the next eight weeks.

Kramden | Durham, North Carolina

Students just completed the first Game Design Lab program of the year at Githens Middle School with a "Game Release Party." They had the opportunity to show off the video games they spent the past eight weeks creating to their friends and family. This fall, Kramden will be offering a similar eight week session at another local middle school. This year, funding from Protolabs along with a few smaller grants, will allow the organiztation to provide a total of six sessions of Tech Trailblazers, which offers students in grades 6-9 hands-on experience working with computer hardware, software, and networking.

Genesys Works | Saint Paul, Minnesota

Genesys Works helps teens from underserved communities develop the skills and experience to achieve their college and career goals. The organization aims to bridge the gap between what today’s marketplace requires and what is taught in the classroom. By giving students the opportunity to succeed in a professional work environment while still in high school, new career possibilities and pathways are made clearer. Students complete a 14-month program with in-demand job skills, relevant work experience, elevated career aspirations, and increased confidence that they can take to college and beyond.



Big Brothers Big Sisters | Raleigh, North Carolina

BBBS kicked off its STEMentor Initiative this year with funding from Protolabs. Students have been able to take coding classes and they held the first STEM and Sports Olympiad. A new addition to the curriculum this year included a visit to a forensics lab which showed students how law firms integrate technology into their cases. Several more sessions are planned for the remaining of summer.   

YMCA | Nashua, New Hampshire

The Powers Scholars Academy program will help 350+ low-income students make up ground in reading and mathematics this summer. The five-week program started in July and is based at three schools in Nashua, New Hampshire—not far from our sheet metal and CNC machining facilities. More than 60 educators will provide guidance to the students in first through ninth grades.

Christo Rey High School | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Christo Rey has received funding from Protolabs over the past four years, which has been used to support STEM programming and the school’s high school robotic’s team. Last year the team finished with its best record ever and ranked #11 out of 60 teams. They have also grown female participation from 6 to 27 percent over the past three years. The grant this year has also helped the team purchase a trailer to take on the road and house equipment.

ANEW BAM | Roseville, Minnesota

ANEW BAM is focused on developing a robust youth engineering programs that focus on community improvement. The organization has served 92 K-8 students with after school STEM programs. This summer they are providing a six week program to teach elementary students the fundamentals of outdoor science and the middle school students (Youth Engineer Program) will build mobile bike campers made out of old campaign signs and chloroplast! 

Are you an educator or community leader working to inspire the next generation of innovators? Maybe we can help. Find out more by visiting our Educators & Students page.