Urban Gateways, Chicago’s most comprehensive arts education organization, has received more than $30,000 as part of the Innovation Generation grant program from the Motorola Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Inc. Through the grant, Urban Gateways will launch the program Girls Got Game, in which 125 female middle school students in the Chicago-area will design and build a fully-operational PC- based computer game.
The Motorola Foundation’s signature Innovation Generation program seeks to boost American students’ engagement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by providing $7.5 million to K-12 programs across the U.S., including Urban Gateways, to support hands-on, innovative after-school programs, science and math clubs, teacher training and mentoring programs.
“Thanks to the Motorola Foundation, Urban Gateways will be able to spark the imagination and intelligence of young girls to pursue STEM-focused careers and develop their creativity. Creativity is rated by U.S. employers as one of the top five skills most needed in the 21st century global workplace. Arts learning is crucial in the development of innovational thinking,” said Julie F. Simpson, Urban Gateways Executive Director.
Through the Girls Got Game program, Urban Gateways will engage program participants creatively by challenging them to initiate and construct all components of a video game, including design, character development, theme, layout and sound production. The program will also introduce female students to the career possibilities within the gaming industry, which is experiencing tremendous growth. Currently women make up 38% of all gamers but represent only 12% of the gaming industry. Urban Gateways will jointly design and deliver this curriculum with Video Gaming faculty from Flashpoint Academy, one of the country’s most respected for-profit media and technology training colleges
“Engaging youth in STEM fields will be crucial to driving future innovation and keeping America competitive in a global economy,” said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. “With the help of these grants, Urban Gateways and Motorola can work together to ensure we are adequately building a diverse pipeline of critical thinkers and addressing the most pressing needs around education.”
Urban Gateways will also receive ongoing support from a Motorola employee through the company’s “Innovators” employee volunteer program, which utilizes the expertise of Motorola’s workforce to inspire the next generation of inventors. These volunteers will assist and mentor the Girls Got Game participants, as well as present ways in which Motorola employees interact with video game developers and sound engineers. In addition, Urban Gateways will bring in professional video game makers and sound engineers to speak to the students about STEM careers.
Since 2007, more than $20.5 million has been awarded to STEM programs nationwide through Innovation Generation funding. For more information on the grant program, please visit www.motorola.com/giving.
About Urban Gateways Urban Gateways is one of the largest and most comprehensive arts education organizations in the country and a recipient of the White House’s “Medal of Arts.” For more than 49 years, Urban Gateways has brought the arts into the lives of millions of disadvantaged children in Chicago. We fulfill our mission – to ignite the creative potential of young people – by providing high-quality, customized programming before, during and after school to more than 100,000 Chicago-area youth each year in the areas of literary, media, performing and visual arts.
About the Motorola Foundation The Motorola Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola. With employees located around the globe, Motorola seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The company achieves this by making strategic grants, forging strong community partnerships, fostering innovation and engaging stakeholders. Motorola Foundation focuses its funding on education, especially science, technology, engineering and math programming. For more information, on Motorola Corporate and Foundation giving, visit www.motorola.com/giving.