The America’s Farmers programs were developed starting in 2010 for the purpose of helping farmers positively impact their communities. There are three signature programs, each with a different area of focus.
- America’s Farmers Grow Communities was the first of the programs, launching in 2010, to engage farmers to enter to win a $2,500 donation for their favorite community nonprofit organization. One winner is selected in each of 1,324 eligible counties in 40 states, supporting a wide variety of organizations such as 4-H, FFA, schools, fire departments and other civic groups. The Monsanto Fund grants $3.3 million to nonprofit community organizations through this program each year.
- America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education was the next program to launch as a pilot program in 2011. In 2012, the program was rolled out to eligible counties nationwide giving farmers the opportunity to nominate a rural public school district in their community to compete for merit-based grants of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. The Monsanto Fund grants $2.3 million to rural public school districts through this program each year.
- America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is the newest of the programs, piloted in the 2013-2014 school year in six states. Grow Ag Leaders rolls out to eligible counties nationwide in the 2014-2015 school year giving farmers the opportunity to support students by engaging them in agriculture by raising awareness of the diverse career opportunities in the industry and by providing $1,500 scholarships that enable students to further their education. The Monsanto Fund plans to grant over $500,000 in scholarships to students through this program each year.
U.S. Site Grants
The Monsanto Fund supports communities in which Monsanto employees live and work by investing in programs across rural America where Monsanto sites are located. U.S. Site Grants focus primarily on K-12 Education and on critical needs in the local community, such as hunger and nutrition.
Headquarter Community – St. Louis, Missouri
With more than 4,000 employees working at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, there are many programs supported by the Monsanto Fund focused on K-12 math and science education and on helping arts organizations provide opportunities for underserved children and adults access to the arts to experience the performing, visual or literary arts.
Reaffirming Our Commitment to Science Education
In keeping with Monsanto Fund’s commitment to provide students with high-quality science education, enhancing the opportunities for academic success, the Monsanto Fund was the main backer behind the expansion of the MySci program in 2013.
MySci is a science education program developed through a partnership between Monsanto Fund and Washington University in St. Louis’ Institute for School Partnership as well as the Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo and Missouri Botanical Garden. Recognizing the need and importance of quality science education and hands-on learning, the program is an effort to bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education into St. Louis-area classrooms and provide teachers with additional resources and training.
With the help of a $2.2 million grant from the Monsanto Fund, the newest facet of the MySci program, MySci Resource Center, is home to educational classrooms, meeting rooms and a warehouse for educational science materials. The warehouse will also serves as the home base for the MySci’s two Investigation Stations, which travel to St. Louis-area schools for special events.
The resource center expands the opportunities to provide services to area teachers such as professional development workshops, enabling current teachers to enhance their STEM education skills and give them new ideas for lesson plans.
“Thanks to the Monsanto Fund, Washington University and the Institute for School Partnership will be able to expand our science outreach efforts to reach more students and teachers in the St. Louis area,” said Victoria May, assistant dean of Arts & Sciences and executive director of the Institute for School Partnership. “The new warehouse and expanded educational services will provide students and teachers the tools needed for a quality education that is so critical to students’ long term success.”
The MySci program has been in existence since 2005 and has impacted more than 47,000 elementary students and 108 schools in the St. Louis area. Overall, Monsanto Fund has provided more than $8 million in grants for the program.
Dateline United States: Access Advanced Farming Technology
In the U.S., every 26 seconds a student drops out of high school.
Sixty-eight percent of 8th graders can’t read at grade level.
American students ranked 25th in math and 21st in science, compared to 30 industrialized nations.
Rural communities face these challenges as much as the nation’s cities, but with even fewer resources than the urban areas. And more than 150,000 farm families call rural America home. That’s why America’s Farmers Grow Rural EducationSM is giving farmers across the U.S. the opportunity to help support 14 million students in rural America.
In 2011,the Monsanto Fund piloted this program in Illinois and Minnesota. Eleven thousand farmers nominated their area schools, and 16 school districts were awarded more than $266,000.
“The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is a way to help school districts with some of their unmet needs,” Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president said. “We are proud to support our educational system and help grow the next generation.”
Through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, the Monsanto Fund is going to invest $2.3 million in rural public school districts for projects focused on science and/or math. Education is the cornerstone of any successful community, and nothing is more important than helping to educate the next generation.
Dateline St. Louis, Missouri: Focusing on the Future
The Monsanto Fund is committed to supporting solutions that address education and community needs where our employees live and work. With more than 4,000 employees working at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, there are many programs supported by the Monsanto Fund focused on educating our youth and giving them a better chance to succeed in life.
A great example of this focus is City Academy. City Academy was founded on the mission to create a high-performing independent elementary school for committed families whose educational opportunities were limited by economic or geographical factors. City Academy stimulates intellectual growth while encouraging students to behave with integrity, to be good citizens, and to develop a love of learning.
“With help from the Monsanto Fund, our students have developed a love for science,” Don Danforth III, President and Co-Founder of City Academy, said. “They have the opportunity to engage with the subject in an inquiry-based way, which really creates an energetic learning environment. It is exciting to watch our students develop into people who have questions and seek answers in a thoughtful way.”
College Bound is a similar program providing promising high school students from low-income backgrounds with the academic enrichment, social supports and life skills needed to apply, to matriculate and to achieve high-quality postsecondary degrees that prepare students for careers yielding family-sustaining incomes.
“Generous funding from Monsanto paved the way for an intensive summer academic program for College Bound students on the campus of St. Louis University,” Lisa Orden Zarin, Founder and CEO, College Bound, said. “This year, students raised their math competencies in Algebra II and Geometry by 40%. A Critical Thinking course integrating science-based curriculum doubled students’ competencies. Math pods and tutoring extend through the school year and combine with 21st century workforce skills so that students can succeed in STEM degrees and become assets to our workforce.”
Promoting higher education for young men from low-income families and residing in high risk areas is what Loyola Academy is all about. Loyola Academy affords these young men the opportunity to achieve their full potential both academically and socially.
“Monsanto Fund’s support for Loyola Academy started five years ago with a $150,000 commitment to the science laboratory,” Faith Barnes, Development Director, Loyola Academy, said. ”And Monsanto Fund has sustained that commitment over the past three years by providing funding to support a certified science teacher and enrichment activities for the students. The addition of the certified science teacher has inspired and nurtured students’ interest in science, increased students’ standardized test scores by more than 13% and increased student overall academic performance in the area of science.” Science is a big part of the Power of Plants contest.
With a generous grant of $50,000 from the Monsanto Fund for 2010-2011, the Missouri Botanical Garden successfully conducted this contest open to groups of two to five students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Groups were challenged to pick a plant that does great things and tell its tale through a physical or digital creation. Given the important need to increase public awareness of and appreciation for plants, entries were judged on how creatively, effectively and broadly they were shared with wider audiences, in addition to their botanical accuracy and quality.
“Plants form the basis of life as we know it, and provide a host of benefits for the planet and its inhabitants: oxygen, food, medicine, fuel, beauty and more,” Sheila Voss, Vice President, Education for the Garden, said. “Contest participants were asked to select one such plant that does great things for people, and tell its story.”
Empowering Teachers to Excite Students about Science (St. Louis)
Teachers and students from 10 under-resourced Catholic elementary schools are using kids’ natural tendencies toward curiosity and inquisitiveness to develop a better understanding of and love for inquiry-based science through the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation’s St. Louis City Science Investigations (CSI) Project.
The three-year CSI project, supported by a $425,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund, is made up of three components designed to change the dynamics of science education in urban schools — intensive summer and ongoing professional development in inquiry-based learning methods for teachers, summer science camp for students, and classroom practice. The program gives teachers greater confidence in their ability to teach the subject, and students a chance to explore science through their natural curiosity. With a focus on kindergarten through third grade, 821 students benefited from the CSI project in 2009-2010.
Broadening Students' Tastes Through School Gardens (California)
First-grade students in Chico, California — considered picky eaters by their parents — literally ran to eat bok choy (a Chinese cabbage) after planting and growing the vegetable as part of a school garden program.
The Western Growers Foundation supported 20 school gardens throughout California with $30,000 from the Monsanto Fund. Each garden site received $1,500 plus a drip irrigation kit and a box of educational resources to help teachers transform gardens into outdoor classrooms. Teaching students about agriculture and nutrition gives them the foundation to make lifelong healthy food choices.