Broadcom Foundation: Grants for STEM Education

OVERVIEW: A division of semiconductor and electronics company Broadcom, the majority of this foundation’s grantmaking funds STEM education initiatives. Funding is mostly split between support for universities and science competitions.

IP TAKE: Broadcom prioritizes science competitions, particularly in regions where the corporation operates. However, it also gives unrestricted funds to universities, which are identified by a committee. University funding is invite-only, but the STEM / Community program is more open.

PROFILE: Broadcom Foundation is the corporate foundation of Broadcom, a Fortune 500 leader in semiconductor and electronics. The foundation seeks to empower “young people to be STEM literate, critical thinkers and college and career-ready by creating multiple pathways and equitable access to achieve the 21st century skills they need to succeed as engineers, scientists and innovators of the future.” Broadcom prioritizes three funding areas: its Masters program, university workshops, and two STEM education programs: Design_Code_Build and STEM Ecosystem.

Broadcom MASTERS, the company’s flagship program, is a project sponsored by the foundation and administered by the Society for Science and the Public. The program is, as Broadcom puts it, “the premier science and engineering competition for middle school students around the world.” The U.S. competition hosts sixth, seventh and eighth graders, who vie for cash prizes to benefit them, their teachers, and their schools. Aside from the prizes, Broadcom hopes the competitions inspire a lifelong love of science. There is also an international MASTERS program that serves more than a dozen countries.

Along those same lines, the Foundation funds other local and regional science fairs affiliated with SSP. These are held near Broadcom facilities and invite company employees to volunteer as organizers and judges. Additionally, there is another subprogram that helps middle school teachers learn to effectively participate in science fairs and other project-based instruction. The other main pre-college program involves cash prizes awarded to outstanding STEM teachers.

For University funding, Broadcom “supports academic workshops around the world that foster innovation and insight and inspire leadership and collegiality among university students who are performing research in related fields of engineering, science and communications.” California universities are major beneficiaries of Broadcom funding, but the foundation supports prominent university engineering programs across the country and around the world.

Finally, the Broadcom Presents: Design_Code_Build program, developed in partnership with the Computer History Museum, seeks to make “software coding and applied mathematics skill-building accessible to middle school students” especially “under-served children and young women.” The foundation, a founding member of National STEM Funders Network, funds the STEM Ecosystem Initiative, “a nationwide program designed to create opportunities for young people to have equitable access to education in science, technology, engineering, and math through formal and informal learning pathways.”

Broadcom’s funding is invitation only and does not accept unsolicited proposals or letters of interest.