Education can be one of the greatest equalizers if our children, regardless of income, are given quality support and encouragement to realize their potential.  Quality education can also strengthen our workforce and economy so that families and communities thrive.  To further this quest, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International collaboration has made a dedicated commitment of $1M per year to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education on Hawaii Island through the creation of The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF).  Introduced by our astronomy club member, Junichi N.,  Andrea Furuli, HCF's Senior Philanthropy Advancement Officer, accompanied by advisory Board member and Bank of Hawaii Senior Vice President, Roberta Chu, explained the opportunities offered by the THINK Fund.
The THINK Fund offers grants and scholarships to three educational building blocks:
  • Learning Partnerships.  To expand capacity and innovation, schools and nonprofits can apply for grants to advance STEM teaching, learning styles, and experiences.  Past recipients have used the grants for internships, robotics, STEM curriculum frameworks, after-school and school break hands-on fun STEM activities, and gardens for STEM learning.
  • Classroom Projects.  Teachers can apply for grants up to $2,500 for classroom materials, computer equipment, excursions, or other needs related to STEM.  Past grants have benefited over 8,000 3rd through 12th graders to nurture hydroponic gardens, study water quality through new microscopes, build rovers with 3D printers.
  • College Scholarships.  Students pursuing a career in a STEM related field as a profession or educator can apply for a college scholarship.