For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)

aka FIRST   |   Manchester, NH   |  http://www.firstinspires.org

Mission

Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Ruling year info

1994

Principal Officer

Mr. Lawrence Cohen

Main address

200 Bedford Street

Manchester, NH 03101-1132 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-2990908

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (U05)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The need for inspiring today's youth to pursue education and career fields in STEM are well documented by many sources. FIRST addresses this need in a unique way by giving students an opportunity to learn while doing.

FIRST programs are designed to offer students in K-12 a progression where they become engaged at an early age. FIRST believes that the key to increasing the number of young people entering science and technology careers is to reach them directly through our programs. FIRST programs have demonstrated effective engagement of students early in their educational journey and helped them discover the excitement and opportunity that science and technology offer.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

FIRST® Robotics Competition - (FRC) is FIRST’s original and signature program. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. Volunteer STEM professionals serving as mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. The FRC season culminates in March with regional tournaments that cap weeks of intense work and offer students the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and learn from others. Students test their strategies, teamwork and robotic creations in a high-pressure competitive environment, which FIRST prefers to call Coopertition.

Each tournament includes an average of 45 teams (students and mentors), plus parents, teachers, sponsors, and university and government officials. The continued growth of FRC regional events is crucial to provide competition venues in close proximity to local teams. Participation in a nearby event is beneficial to teams in many ways: it reduces the need to travel to distant states or cities, (which reduces the cost of the program); it gives local schools the ability to compete with and against each other; and it enables family members, friends, teachers, and community members to attend the event to support the students and celebrate their accomplishments. ) In April of each year, the Regional winners advance to the Championship held in St. Louis, MO. The program also runs in the off-season with workshops, local competitions, community outreach and the mentoring/recruiting of new team members.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

FIRST® Tech Challenge – (FTC) is a more accessible program that is less expensive. Encapsulated components make implementation easier for coaches/teachers- particularly those without technology education background, and the program requires fewer additional resources from outside a normal classroom. FTC is designed for small teams of up to 10 high school aged students who work with one or two dedicated mentors to design, program, and build a robot, using an off-the-shelf kit.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) is an international robotics program in partnership with The LEGO® Group that serves children ages 9 – 14. FLL has two major components: a robot game, where teams of up to 10 students design, build, and program autonomous robots that must perform a series of tasks or missions; and a research project where teams conduct research and present their findings to a panel of judges at tournaments. The research project focuses on common problems faced by communities and nurtures scientific discovery, writing and presentation skills, as well as service to the community.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

FIRST® LEGO® League Junior - (FLLJr.) Focused on building an interest in science and engineering in children ages 6-9, FLLJr.® is a hands-on program designed to capture young children's inherent curiosity and direct it toward discovering the possibilities of improving the world around them. Just like FIRST LEGO League (FLL), this program features a real-world challenge, to be solved by research, critical thinking and imagination. Guided by adult coaches and the FLLJr. Core Values, students work with LEGO elements and moving parts to build ideas and concepts and present them for review. Through FLLJr. children learn the concepts of teamwork and basic design skills, and gain a hands-on approach to science and technology.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Navigator 2017

Awards

NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities 2012

The National Association of Secondary School Principals

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of participants engaged in the FIRST Tech Challenge Program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each year more and more teams participate in FIRST and more young people are inspired to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

Number of participants engaged in the FIRST LEGO League Program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

FIRST LEGO League (FLL)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each year more and more teams participate in FIRST and more young people are inspired to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

Number of participants engaged in the FIRST LEGO League Jr. Program

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

FIRST LEGO League Junior (FLLJr.)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each year more and more teams participate in FIRST and more young people are inspired to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

Number of participants engaged in programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each year more and more teams participate in FIRST and more young people are inspired to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The ultimate goal that FIRST strives for is an increase in the likelihood of FIRST participants declaring a science or technology related major in college and entering into the STEM workforce.

The short to medium-term outcomes to reach this goal include:
1.Increase in the # of students interested in STEM.
2.Increased awareness of the role of STEM in the world.
3.Increase in 21st century work/life skills (team work, problem solving, critical thinking)
4.Exposure to FIRST values (Gracious Professionalism, Coopertition).
5.Increased applied knowledge or application of STEM concepts.
6.Increased awareness of STEM careers.
7.Increased feeling of connected ness to an adult/mentor/coach.
8.Greater educational aspirations (desire to get good grades, take challenging courses, finish
high school) and school engagement.
9.Increased STEM self- efficacy.
10.Increased interest in having a STEM career.
11.Increased likelihood to consider college for any major.
12.Increased access to college scholarships (FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition).
13.Increased access to part time or summer jobs in STEM and STEM internships (FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition).
14.Integration of the values of Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in work/life.
15.Increased team building and celebration of achievements in science, technology, engineering and math.

The current FIRST strategic plan outlines the following goals: By 2017, we envision close to 4,500 FIRST Robotics Competition teams, 6,000 FIRST Tech Challenge teams, 20,000 FIRST LEGO League teams, and 14,000 FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams reaching approximately 450,000 students in that year alone.

Strategies incorporated in FIRST to encourage advanced STEM education include:
-Providing activities that focus on real life problems and issues that have relevance to students: Providing activities that mirror real life problems and that are important to students promotes STEM interest.
-Hands-On Activities: Hands on activities, relevant topics and cooperative learning strategies increases student's engagement.
-Mentors: Providing mentors in STEM who can model what professionals do may increase interest in the field. The likelihood to pursue a STEM degree increases when combining hands-on science experiences with mentorship.
-Group learning/Teams: Cooperative learning (learning in groups) provides emotional bonding that can result in greater commitment to group goals, feelings of responsibility, willingness to take on difficult tasks, increased motivation, satisfaction and morale, willingness to listen to group members, and productivity.
-Intention to major in STEM: Student intention to major in STEM while in high school may be a stronger predictor of successful earning of STEM degrees than GPA or SAT
-Combination of Factors: Opportunity for success may increase when a program combines hands on learning, mentoring, and teamwork focused on a group goal. Students who participate in FIRST are likely to have positive short term outcomes; the more one participates in FIRST (program progression, length of time), the greater likelihood of longer lasting, positive impact.

These strategies are incorporated into each of the four programs provided by FIRST. Research suggests that each of the factors on their own increases the chances that students will become interested in STEM. Combining strategies may further increase the likelihood that students will gain an interest in STEM, and over time, result in an intention to go on to post-secondary education and training in STEM.

The need for inspiring today's youth to pursue education and career fields in STEM are well documented by many sources. FIRST addresses this need in a unique way by giving students an opportunity to learn while doing. FIRST programs are designed to offer students in K-12 a progression where they become engaged at an early age. FIRST believes that the key to increasing the number of young people entering science and technology careers is to reach them directly through our programs.

Since its inception in 1989, FIRST has impacted hundreds of thousands of students and the growth and reach continues as we scale up our capacity to serve more students. The current FIRST strategic plan outlines the following goals: By 2017, we envision close to 4,500 FIRST Robotics Competition teams, 6,000 FIRST Tech Challenge teams, 20,000 FIRST LEGO League teams, and 14,000 FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams. Extending the FIRST experience to many more students throughout their school careers will make a tremendous difference in their lives, their schools, and the standing of the U.S. within the global community of scientists and educators.

Measuring Impact: FIRST® and Brandeis University have launched a multi-year longitudinal study of three of FIRST's
major programs: the FIRST® LEGO® League, FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition Programs. The goal
of the study is to provide needed data on the long-term impacts of FIRST programs on key outcomes, including student interest in science and technology, college-going, STEM majors, STEM careers, and practical life and workplace skills (communications, teamwork, problem-solving, etc.).
The study is also designed to help answer questions about what elements of the FIRST program experience are particularly important. The FIRST Longitudinal Study represents a unique opportunity to document the longer-term impacts of FIRST on the interests, attitudes, and decisions of participating youth. The study will allow FIRST to learn more about the impacts of the individual programs, the progression of youth through different programs, and the degree to which FIRST experiences in middle and high school affect the choice of major and career in college. It is hoped that the study will provide the evidence that FIRST needs to support its continued growth and to gain recognition as one of the premier STEM-related programs in the country.

FIRST began collaborating with colleges, universities, professional associations and corporations in 2002 to offer college scholarships to participants of FIRST programs. This is official recognition of the knowledge and technical and life skills these students have gained from participating in a FIRST competition. The program has grown tremendously through the years, and for 2016, we now have over 130 confirmed scholarship providers that are making available almost 900 individual scholarship opportunities with a total value of more than $29,000,000.

The long-term outcomes on students who participate in FIRST include:
-Science and technology education and career path included in future “consideration set"
-Increased likelihood and success in any career a student chooses, including one in science and technology
-Increased likelihood of success in science and technology education and careers
-Increased technological literacy

Financials

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)

Board of directors
as of 2/1/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Kelly Ortberg

Rockwell Collins


Board co-chair

Robert Tuttle

1848 Associates

Dean Kamen

DEKA Research & Development Corporation

Robert Tuttle

1848 Associates

John Abele

Retired, Boston Scientific Corporation

Walter Havenstein

Retired, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC)

Paul Jacobs

Qualcomm Incorporated

Kelly Ortberg

Collins Aerospace

Dennis Mullenburg

The Boeing Company

Scott McKay

Genworth Financial

Laurie Leshin

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Lawrence Cohen

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST)

Vince Wilczynski

Yale School of Engineering

Virginia Addicott

FedEx Custom Critical

Karen Horting

Society of Women Engineers

Lonnie Johnson

Johnson Research & Development Corporation

Blake Moret

Rockwell Automation

David Siegel

Two Sigma

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/30/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.