Berkeley, CA, January 25, 2021 – Berkeley Unified School District and the Berkeley Public Schools Fund announced today the award of $356,100 in grants from the Bayer Fund and $212,000 from Wareham Development. These grants will be used to help diversify the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) career pipeline, providing expanded opportunities for middle school and high school career-connected STEM learning.
“This substantial grant from the Bayer Fund will help build a ‘STEM on-ramp’ from our three middle schools to Berkeley High School’s Career Technical Education program. The grant gives students early exposure to our college and career pathways toward STEM professions in the Bay Area with a high demand for diverse talent,” said Wyn Skeels, BUSD’s Career Technical Education Supervisor. “We must engage students with STEM in the earlier grades if we hope to build the knowledge base, confidence and excitement to persist.”
The “Diversifying the STEM Career Pipeline” initiative is focused on aligning Berkeley’s Middle School STEM curriculum with the established Career Technical Education (CTE) STEM Pathways at Berkeley High School. Through this grant, students will have the opportunity to explore the High School STEM pathway curriculum, technology, tools and related careers beginning in the 6th grade – with a very deliberate focus on students from populations underrepresented in STEM careers.
The Bayer Fund grant will not only enhance the experience of Berkeley middle school students in the traditional school day, but also provide out-of-school experiences in the summer. The grant includes summer STEM programming for 140 students in 5th to 8th grades as well as academic counseling and college and career planning during the summer for incoming 9th graders. “The Schools Fund has been partnering with Bayer for years to provide hands-on science experiences for Berkeley public school students. With the summer STEM camps provided by this grant, and the commitment of two years of additional funding from Wareham, we can help level the playing field with summer enrichment for some of our students,” said Erin Rhoades, Executive Director of the Berkeley Public Schools Fund.
“STEM education is a priority for the Bayer Fund, particularly in supporting programs that engage students from groups that are underrepresented in science careers today,” said Jens Vogel, Senior Vice President/Global Head of Biotech and member of the Bayer Fund board. “We are thrilled to support this program that deepens STEM career exploration into the middle school level in Berkeley and focuses on encouraging greater diversity in the sciences. As a science-driven organization, we firmly believe that diverse voices and ideas lead to the best solutions to some of life’s biggest challenges. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these middle school students in high school intern programs that Bayer supports locally.”
Wareham Development has partnered for decades, together and separately with Bayer and the Berkeley Public Schools Fund, on various STEM initiatives benefiting Berkeley students. In addition to its $50,000 challenge grant to the Berkeley Public Schools Fund in 2020, Wareham has committed a total of $212,000 over 2021 and 2022 for summer programming, for STEM Steps for Success and afterschool STEM Maker Club for middle schoolers.
“We realized long ago that corporate philanthropy was earmarking high schools and there was a lack of funding to K-8 school students, particularly in after-school and summer programming in challenged communities. We decided to focus most of our support to elementary and middle school students in the East Shore communities of Berkeley, Emeryville and Richmond,” says Richard K. Robbins, founder and president of Wareham Development. “We are privileged to join Bayer in this latest effort and to continue our long support of the Berkeley Public Schools Fund.”
Learn more about the Berkeley Public Schools Fund here: www.berkeleypublicschoolsfund.org
To learn more about Bayer Fund visit https://www.fund.bayer.us
About the Berkeley Unified School District
Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) is responsible for educating more than 9,400 students in 11 public elementary schools, 3 middle schools, one comprehensive high school, and an alternative high school. In addition, the district has 3 preschool facilities and an Adult School. Since the founding of the University of California, Berkeley in 1868 and the establishment of Berkeley’s first high school in 1879, Berkeley’s community has been proud to be a leader in public education. In 1968, BUSD was the nation’s first school district to desegregate without a court order. With a tradition of excellence rooted in a vibrant community, Berkeley Unified alumni have become national and international leaders in business, civic society, politics, academia, sports and the arts. Students and staff in Berkeley Unified come from a wide variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, surrounded by one of the most intellectually and culturally rich regions in the United States.
About the Berkeley Public Schools Fund
The Berkeley Public Schools Fund supports teaching and learning in BUSD through grant opportunities for teachers and a volunteer program that trains community members to support student learning. During COVID, the Schools Fund has been active in addressing the Digital Divide, ensuring that students can access distance learning.
About Bayer Fund
Bayer Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where Bayer customers and employees live and work by providing funding for food and nutrition, education and community development projects. In 2019, Bayer Fund awarded more than $14 million to over 3,200 charitable and nonprofit organizations to help address essential needs in food and nutrition, STEM education and community development. Over the last five years, nonprofit organizations across the U.S. have received more than $79 million.
About Bayer in the Bay Area
Bayer’s Pharmaceutical division has operations in San Francisco/Mission Bay, home of its Open Innovation Center – North America West, and Berkeley. In Berkeley, more than 1,000 employees collaborate to provide medicines to hemophilia patients in more than 50 countries and also develop and manufacture medicines for clinical studies that address health conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. Building on its strong foundation in biologics development and biomanufacturing in Berkeley, Bayer plans to diversify operations. The company will be investing in new facilities and technologies that speed the development and launch of specialty medicines. For more information, go to www.bayer.com/berkeley.
About Wareham Development
Wareham Development is committed to the long-term economic and environmental vitality of the East Bay. Wareham’s research campuses in Berkeley, Emeryville and Richmond serve a tenant base ranging from international corporations, large institutions, growing companies, and start-ups with the spark of promise. As a community developer, Wareham has been giving back to the communities in which they develop and beyond for over 40 years. Wareham Development has been recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as a philanthropic leader in the Bay Area business community. In the East Bay, STEM education is a major focus of its philanthropy. For more information, go to www.warehamdevelopment.com
Berkeley Public Schools Fund Media Contact:
Name: Erin Rhoades
Berkeley Unified School District Media Contact:
Name: Trish McDermott
Bayer Media Contact:
Name: Cathy Keck
Phone: (206) 249-5191
Wareham Media Contact:
Name: Andrew Neilly