Community Investment Fund making it easier for middle school students across Kent County

 Pictured: Not-so-current photos of current Heart of West Michigan United Way employees. 

Pictured: Not-so-current photos of current Heart of West Michigan United Way employees. 

Between navigating friendships and getting braces, middle school is hard enough without falling behind in core subjects like math and science. Heart of West Michigan United Way’s Community Investment Fund is making it easier for middle school students across Kent County to stay on track and flourish in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In 2017, United Way researched current public, private, and government funding in Kent County and found that very little of our community’s resources are helping local middle schoolers. Students are especially in-need of intentional, academic learning and programming to increase STEM exposure and increase performance in math and science.

To fill this educational gap, United Way is using their Community Investment Fund to support programs like:

  • STEAM Ahead and Teachers in Industry: Two programs from the ELO Network and Kent ISD, respectively, that provide training to local educators that will increase their capacity to deliver hands-on, problem-based STEM learning experiences tied to technical, real-world industry problems.
  • Camp Blodgett STEM Academy & STEM Club: A 4-week residential summer program for middle school students that combines overnight camp with standards-based academic STEM programming.  STEM Clubs then meet weekly afterschool during the school year. 
  • Math Corps: A first-of-its-kind program piloted in five area school that provides supplemental, evidence-based math interventions to help students increase their proficiency, confidence, and performance.

Academic success is directly correlated with economic security. Your contribution, combined with the gifts of your friends, neighbors, and coworkers, makes it possible for United Way to help families rise out of poverty and thrive in our community.