At YWCA Metro Phoenix, we’re building just, equitable Arizona communities that embrace and celebrate each person’s inherent value. That’s why YWCA is collaborating with communities who are seeking justice, working in partnership to build a more free, more peaceful world.  Together, we identify systemic racism and gender discrimination – and dismantle it.

As Arizona becomes the next tech hub, we have tremendous opportunity for our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) professionals to reflect the state’s workforce diversity. Addressing these gender and racial gaps will support Arizona’s economic growth by developing our next generation of STEAM innovators. 

In partnership with Intel Arizona, YWCA is leading the new Equity in STEAM Initiative to advance women and people of color across STEAM careers, to improve representation in STEAM statewide.

Grant Information

Nonprofits, public schools, and charter schools across Arizona may apply for this funding opportunity and participate in a YWCA learning community. Projects should be focused on enabling the following outcomes:

  • Exploring the world of STEAM and show how accessible, rewarding, and relevant these fields can be.
  • Introducing culturally relevant STEAM activities.
  • Growing interest in STEAM-related learning pathways and careers.

With this grant initiative, we are asking applicants to create or continue a project or program within their 501(c)3 to connect social equity to STEAM – whatever that looks like for their organization.

  • We are funding up to twenty grants of up to $2,500 each for nonprofit and educational organizations with a budget of $1M of less during your last fiscal year.
  • Grantees will be part of our first YWCA Equity Leadership Learning series. This series will include six Equity Workshops which will facilitate conversations and learnings exploring the intersection of social equity and STEAM.

Examples of possible uses of funds (this is not an exhaustive or prescriptive list):

  • Bring trainers/speakers/experts to your classroom/organization to support STEAM teaching and learning.
  • Purchase and implement new STEAM learning curriculum materials.
  • Pay for equipment and supplies to implement project-based STEAM learning.
  • Gain access to resources and professional development that can help to deepen students’ understanding of STEAM.
  • Implement student-conducted field studies and projects.

This initiative is geared towards grassroots nonprofits and educators working to inspire underrepresented students to consider STEAM careers.

  • September 22: Kick-off Event & Grant Announcement
  • September 22–November 30: Grant Applications Open
  • January 14: Grant Awards Announced

Q: Is my organization eligible for a grant?

A: To be eligible for a grant from the Equity in STEAM Initiative, your organization must be a nonprofit organization as determined by the IRS, with a budget of $1M or less during your last fiscal year, a public or charter school, or college within Arizona.

Q: What is the maximum amount my organization could receive?

A: For the Equity in STEAM Initiative, the maximum grant amount is $2,500.

Q: I have submitted my application, now what?

A: After submitting your application, stay tuned on the announcement date. A list of grant recipients will be posted on our website, ywcaaz.org/equityinsteam and an email will be sent to all that applied. The grant contact will receive an email whether they were selected for funding or not. If selected, your organization will receive follow up information within 10 days of the announcement date.

Q: Who should I reach out to with questions about the grant cycle?

A: Please email grants@ywcaaz.org and allow up to 72 hours for a response from the YWCA team.

Q: How long is the application open?

A: The 2021 application is open from September 22 to November 30 at 5 p.m. AZ time.

Q: Are existing programs given priority over new concepts that have yet to be implemented?

A: All programs that are submitted are evaluated for their overall impact on the applicant’s beneficiaries.

  • Applicants are a 501(c)3 organization or a public or charter school teacher
  • 501(c)3’s have a budget less than $1M
  • Grants for teachers will be distributed through their district’s foundation
  • Projects will support Arizona residents
  • Projects will begin anytime between February 1, 2023 through September 1, 2023

QualifiersPoint System
Application shows a clear understanding of YWCA mission and how the grant project alignsProject is aligned to the mission of eliminating racism and empowering women in a strong wayProject is aligned to one piece of YWCA missionNo alignment
Application describes the applicants understanding of social equity as it relates to their classroom or organizationThe social equity understanding is true and clear in the descriptionThere is some equity understandingApplication does not describe social equity
Project description aligns to STEAM and social equityProject contains qualifiers that align STEAM and social equityProject description allowed for some interpretation and the alignment is not clearProject does not align STEAM and social equity
Project description had midpoint and endpoint impact identifiersAll goals for the program are clearly outlined and a path to success is detailedSome goals for the program are clearly outlined and a path to success is detailedGoals were not aligned with project description

Voices in STEAM Storytelling Event

As the launch of the 2023 Equity in STEAM grant cycle, our storytelling event with STEAM professionals of color aims to help us recognize and create change in the sector. Watch as we hear stories from professionals in STEAM careers who are passionate like we are about eliminating the race and gender gap across the sector.

Esteemed Panelists

Johana Vallejo-Elias

Johana Vallejo-Elias, Ph.D. is a tenured Professor of Physiology at Midwestern University in Arizona and has worked for the institution for 15 years. She was born and raised in a small, underserved “barrio” in San Lorenzo, within the mountains of Puerto Rico. She always had an insatiable curiosity to understand how the natural world works, which led to her interest in research. As a first-generation college student in Puerto Rico, applying to Ph.D. programs in the U.S. was daunting due to social, financial, and language-related constraints. After having the opportunity to participate in a few STEM programs for underrepresented minorities on the island, Johana felt inspired to matriculate in the Physiology Ph.D. program at the University of Missouri, which offered her a graduate scholarship for underrepresented minorities (Gus T. Ridgel Fellowship).
During graduate school, Johana became a member of the American Physiological Society (APS) and profited from their robust STEM programs. Over the years Johana has enjoyed serving in diverse programs within Midwestern University, the American Physiological Society, and the community at large, as a way to give back to the next generation of minorities in STEM. 
Johana enjoys teaching medical professionals, continues to contribute to research endeavors, and is a blessed mother of two precious daughters, 2 and 7 years of age.  She is proudly married for 15-years now to Daniel Elias P.E., who she met during a SACNAS research conference in 1998.

This storytelling event is empowered by:

Watch the Exciting YWCA and Intel Announcement.

Each grantee received:

  • $2,500 to support a new/continuing project to inspire underrepresented students to consider STEAM careers
  • YWCA Equity Leadership Learning series which includes four Equity Workshops that allowed the grantees to explore tangible ways in which they can embed social equity into their STEAM work

arizona alliance of black school educators

AzABSE is working towards enhancing the quality of education in Arizona and closing the academic achievement gap. Their aim is to make sure that every child receives equitable education opportunities and achieves their fullest potential.

arizona college preparatory high school

The students enrolled in the VEX-Robotics program build Robots for VEX EDR competitions every year. The students spend time after school with their teammates gaining skills in building, coding, testing, and driving their robot according to the game rules and challenge.

arizona educational foundation

Arizona Educational Foundation’s program teachSTEM prepares middle and high school students to pursue post-secondary degrees in STEM-related fields, including education degrees that would allow them to become future STEM teachers.

arizona students recycling used technology

Women are underrepresented in the technology field and careers. AZ StRUT’s Techie Women Power Up project seeks to change that. Lead by two female instructors/coaches, Techie Women Power Up is a hands-on lab/classroom computer training experience.

Arizona Sustainability alliance

Food Tech for the Future (FTF) is an innovative program that addresses both the lack of healthy food and STEM education for K-12 students in the Phoenix Metro Area by bringing food computer digitized tabletop hydroponic greenhouses to low-income and Title I schools

arizona town hall

Youth will participate in a presentation designed to illuminate for Arizona Town Hall participants and board members the importance of power-sharing for meaningful engagement of youth and other marginalized groups.

basha High School

Basha High school is aiming at empowering women through coding. Through DevOps -CTSO they want to spread awareness about computer science (and related fields) education, create digital awareness and empower the community through knowledge.

Biltmore Preparatory academy

Biltmore Preparatory Academy is a Spanish Immersion, kindergarten through eighth grade school. Adding in opportunities and resources such as blocks and building materials, simple machines, and robotics will enhance the accessibility and learning opportunities for all students.

Boundless Brilliance

This grant will to increase organizational capacity, allowing more interactive & hands-on supplemental STEM educational services to students in Arizona. The project will target elementary students, particularly girls of color, who primarily attend Title I schools serving low-income communities.

Cholla Middle School

The project involves a semester of activities starting with engineering projects from different fields. Once students have gone through the different projects, students will take time to find and research an engineer with similarities to themselves in a field that most interests them through a type of mirror research project.

Education Empowers Inc

We help create after-school STEM clubs, Robotics clubs, Coding clubs, Drone clubs, Maker clubs, virtual robotics, coding & First Lego League / VEX robotics teams to promote year around STEM education for girls across Arizona.

Future For Kids

Discover Your Future helps at-risk youth engage in holistic learning and develop healthy outlets. The program meets once weekly for two-hour sessions for a total duration of 26 weeks each school year. Dedicated volunteer mentors lead small groups of youth through a fun, yet challenging, high-impact curriculum.

Future stars

7th Annual Hands-On STEM Fair is a fully planned event from students who have completed the eight-month Hands-On Workshop Program. The four-hour event celebrates student accomplishments with 15-20 tables of activities stewarded by the students

Girls innovation academy

STEAMpowered for the Present and Future plans to invite and include experts in the field to mentor, guide, facilitate, teach, support STEAM project-based teaching and learning, and gain access to professional development opportunities to further develop skills.

kyrene traditional acadmey

I STEAM Ahead will help students learn the foundations of STEAM, collaborate with teams, expose them to technology and machines, and walk away with empowering knowledge. At the end of our program, students will unite all that they have learned to create their own project.

Lights camera discover

Lights Camera Discover Entrepreneurial Workforce Readiness Program is designed to enhance youth’s knowledge, ability, and skills to motivate them and turn their dreams into reality. Our youth will participate in 24 week program that includes training, internships, and courses that focus on business development, problem solving, digital skills, and exploring one’s own passions.

live love

Live Love STEAMy Summer Fun would include partnering with women STEAM leaders in our community through job shadowing and science field trips, guest speakers in related STEAM fields, science toys and resources.

red mountain high school computer science

We intend to involve as many girls in our Robotics project as possible through our outreach at multiple levels. Our students will be provided with VEX robot kits and curriculum to support the first ever all-female VEX Robotics Team

saguaro high school

Sisters in STEM shows young girls the opportunity to see the benefits that STEM could provide for them. Our initiatives support these goals as they provide hands-on experiments participants can do both in-person and online in their own homes in live Zoom sessions utilizing common and inexpensive materials or household items

southern arizona research, science and engineering foundation

SARSEF works towards engaging underrepresented, low-income student populations in the fields of STEM. SARSEF plans to make all programs and services bilingual by involving bilingual staff, volunteers, translating materials, and adapting materials for cultural appropriateness.

There are many ways to get involved at YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix

Your voice matters as we stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. Whether you have time, talents, or treasures to contribute, learn how you can plug in to the YWCA community.