FIRST to invest $25,000 AMP NH Award in Manchester STEAM Ahead school program

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First of Manchester was chosen as winner of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire’s AMP NH Award Competition. Pictured here, from left to right, TK Kuegler, EFNH member and co-founder and general partner of Wasabi Ventures; Dan Hughes, First volunteer; Michelle Pierson, EFNH member; and John Gargasz, EFNH member and partner at 10X Venture Partners.
FIRST of Manchester was chosen as winner of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire’s AMP NH Award Competition. Pictured here, from left, TK Kuegler, EFNH member and co-founder and general partner of Wasabi Ventures; Dan Hughes, First volunteer; Michelle Pierson, EFNH member; and John Gargasz, EFNH member and partner at 10X Venture Partners.

MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester schools will be the beneficiary of a $25,000 grant awarded Tuesday night to FIRST as part of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of New Hampshire AMP NH Award Competition.

The high-stakes event took place at Dyn in Manchester, and on the line was the $25,000 grant. Judges evaluated five nonprofit organizations, which made their final three-minute pitches to members and guests, who then voted for which nonprofit project they felt would have the most “amplified benefits” for the organizations and communities they serve.

FIRST, an acronym for For Inspiration and Recognition of Technology, will expand its FIRST Jr. STEAM Ahead program to seven Manchester elementary schools in an effort to increase interest in STEM education and careers. The program partners students with mentors from local businesses and introduces them to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks. Currently, U.S. First offers the program to 250 fourth graders in Manchester’s Beech, Jewett and Green Acres Elementary Schools. Over the next two years, FIRST hopes to serve all 14 Manchester elementary schools, reaching more than 1,000 students.

“This program is all about providing access to opportunity,” said Dan Hughes, a FIRST volunteer and technical advisor for this Manchester pilot project. “Through these activities, through the connections with mentors, these kids are opening their minds to possibilities. It gets them thinking ‘Maybe I want to do this when I’m older.’”

EFNH, an initiative of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, channels the expertise, energy and passion of the state’s leading entrepreneurs to strengthen New Hampshire communities through innovative philanthropy.

“I love that we are showcasing a different way to do philanthropy,” said Mary Jo Brown, president of Brown & Company Design and an EFNH member. “The shared learning that happens between the nonprofits and the entrepreneurs is good for New Hampshire. We are building connections between those two sectors in a meaningful way that will be long-lasting.”

Since 2011, 63 nonprofit organizations have participated in pitch camps and AMP Awards Competitions with EFNH. When the three grants are awarded this spring, 13 organizations will have received grants from EFNH totaling $210,000.

To prepare for the AMP NH Award competitions, finalists were paired with EFNH mentors, who worked one-on-one with nonprofits to help craft engaging and persuasive pitches. Finalists took part in “pitch camps” prior to the final event to help put the finishing touches on their pitches.

“This really is a unique event that brings nonprofits and thought leaders from the private sector and philanthropic circles together,” said Evan Karatzas, a pitch camp mentor and founder of Proximity Lab.  “There is no other event that delivers so much value to participants in such a concentrated and efficient way.”

Along with FIRST, finalists and their projects included:

  • Ascentria Care Alliance (Manchester, NH) will expand its Language Bank program, which offers language interpretation services provided by refugees and immigrants, by using video remote interpreting.
  • Moore Center Services (Manchester, NH) will create programs to prevent or defer nursing home placements and help seniors stay in their communities.
  • More than Wheels (Manchester, NH) will create a fee-based concierge car-buying service to help consumers of any income level negotiate a car purchase. The proceeds will be used to support MTW’s car-buying and financial education program for qualified low-income families.
  • NH Interscholastic Athletic Association (Concord, NH) will pilot a regional student leadership skill-building program for southern NH high school athletes so they are better equipped to manage their social lives and responsibilities through high school, college and into the workforce.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

Established in 1962, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is driven by a vision for a stronger, more just, and resilient Granite State. In pursuit of this vision, the Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; connects donors to effective organizations, ideas and people; and leads and collaborates on important public issues. Annually, the Foundation awards nearly 5,000 grants and scholarships totaling $30 million. Based in Concord, the Foundation roots itself in communities across the state through its staff, board of directors, and eight regional advisory boards. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.


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About Carol Robidoux 5553 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.