Facebook Robotics Donation

Facebook Provides $68K Grant to Support STEM Education at NCSS
Posted on 05/21/2021
Facebook Grant Donation$68,000 Donation Will Fund Competitive VEX Robotics Programs

The VEX and VEX IQ competitive robotics programs within Newton County Schools received a $68,000 financial boost at the end of April from its signature sponsor, Facebook. The company began supporting the district-wide robotics initiative in the fall of 2019 and has provided these additional funds to help ensure students can stay engaged with robotics, even with the uncertainty COVID-19 has caused.

The Newton County School System has more than 50 VEX and VEXIQ robotics teams, representing nearly every elementary, middle, and high school in the county. The district’s involvement with VEX connects students with the world’s largest and fastest-growing competitive robotics programs around the world. There are more than 24,000 VEX teams from more than 60 countries involved in the program.

In-person robotics events have not been able to occur this school year within Newton County, where students would typically participate in multiple competitions. Looking toward next school year, the district wants to ensure students have the tools necessary to compete virtually, should the virus continue to impact the competitions and events. That’s where Facebook’s support comes in.

According to Tim Schmitt, Director of CTAE and Workforce Innovation for Newton County Schools, “Facebook’s most recent contribution will ensure our teams have what they need to compete in the 2021-2022 robotics season. Those funds will not only cover regular costs such as team season registrations, new game elements, and competition fees, but will also pay for digital equipment like laptops and webcams needed for virtual-remote competitions that have developed as a result of the pandemic.”

The ability to continue building momentum in the area of STEM education is very important to Newton County Schools. Competitive robotics provides a hook for students to engage in STEM areas and Facebook’s support plays an important role in the school system’s ability to provide that opportunity.

"Newton County Schools has raised the bar when it comes to STEM investment," said Katie Comer, Community Development Regional Manager for Facebook. "It's our honor to support that work to help ensure that students have access to the tools and resources they need to continue sparking their creativity and imagination through the VEX and VEX IQ robotics programs. I'm excited by what the future holds for these students."

Facebook has been part of the greater Newton County community since breaking ground on its data center in 2018.

“We are grateful to have partners like Facebook in our community,” said Newton County Schools System Superintendent, Samantha Fuhrey. “Their generosity towards our robotics programs benefits students across all grade levels and we are thrilled to be able to continue this partnership.”