women of color in science. Deposit Photos
Women of color in science. Deposit Photos

Philadelphia has a new fund to get Black, Latinx people and women into STEM

The partnership with GlaxoSmithKlein will provide $10 million over 10 years.


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Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKlein (GSK) announced yesterday that they will be funding Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective with a $10 million pledge to boost the STEM career pursuits of local Black, Latinx and female students.

Women comprise half of the college-educated workforce, but only 28% of the STEM workforce. And while Black, Latinx and Native Americans make up 27% of the adult population, they only make up 11% of the science and engineering workers. 

According to state exam data, the Philadelphia School District, which is mainly composed of children of color, is also lagging behind the rest of the state in science knowledge. 

GSK has been planning this pledge for months, built upon decades of work they’ve put into Philadelphia children through its long-running Science in the Summer Program at the Franklin Institute. 

“We wanted to go really deep in Philadelphia and understand the intricacies and the formal and informal things that may be causing barriers, said Becki Lynch, GSK’s director of U.S. community partnerships. 

High school student Luofei Li always felt reluctant to raise her hand during science-related activities before she had experience with a program that encourages girls to explore science based careers. 

“I haven’t really seen a lot of people of color or women in STEM,” Li said. “I want to be a part of a plan that’s going to stretch out over a long time, to help people have those opportunities.” 

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said the coalition will help children make strides, “building a bridge to upward mobility and financial security because they gain a greater interest in and appreciation for STEM fields as children.” 

GSK will provide support for the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective by funding management staff at the Philadelphia Education Fund and contributing time and talent of pro bono GSK volunteers.  

They will also be supporting in-school programming and community efforts through annual grants of $1 million over a 10 year period to local nonprofits. 

Farah Jimenez, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Education Fund wants all Philly school children to have the same access to college and career success, especially those who are underrepresented in high-growth careers. 

“We are grateful for the leadership, partnership and commitment exhibited by GSK’s investment in the Philadelphia STEM Equity Collective,” said Jimenez. 

Sixty organizations will be involved in making the plan happen. The funds will pay for in-school programs, extracurricular activities, teacher training, field trips and other activities for young people from students in early childhood programs to those in workforce development programs. 





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