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Sponsorship opportunity for a local FIRST Robotics Team

POSTED 10/03/2013

FIRST RoboticsThe Association for Advancing Automation (A3) is requesting that its Michigan-based member organizations consider supporting a FIRST Robotics team in their local community, so that they can claim eligibility for up to $18,000 in state grants.

The Michigan Department of Education has appropriated $3 million in competitive grants for the 2013-14 school year to expand opportunities in mathematics, science, and technology skills by participating in events hosted by the FIRST Robotics Competition.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) inspires young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of a varsity sport with hands-on training in science and technology to help high school students discover how rewarding a career in engineering or technology can be.

Students on FIRST teams learn from and play with the "pros" - professional engineers who donate their time to work side-by-side with students to help design and build the sophisticated competition robots. This gives FIRST students an insider's view of a career in science, engineering and technology not possible in a normal classroom setting.

In order for new FIRST teams to be eligible for the grant, they must partner with at least one sponsor and raise a minimum of $3,000 in matching funds. In return, the teams become eligible for:

• Up to $7,500 for new FIRST Robotics teams or $5,000 for existing teams to cover registration fees, including the standard parts kit and participation in two events;
• $1,500 for a coach stipend;
• Up to $4,000 to cover registration fees to the Michigan State Championships, for those teams who qualify; and
• Up to $5,000 to cover registration fees for the FIRST Championships in St. Louis, MO, for those teams who qualify.

Sponsorships and corporate partnerships are a vital part of making FIRST a success. If your organization has ever considered sponsoring a local FIRST team, this is the perfect opportunity to start. A $3,000 sponsorship to a local FIRST team would make them eligible for up to $9,000 in initial grant funds and up to $18,000 total if the team qualifies for the FIRST Championships. In addition to monetary donations, teams also benefit from having industry professionals volunteer their time as mentors.

Teams will apply for the grant between October 15 and November 7, so if you are interested, now is the time to act! If you are interested in sponsoring or mentoring a FIRST Robotics team or would like more information, please contact Gail Alpert of FIRST In Michigan (FIM) or Pat Davison at A3 headquarters.

Additional information on the State of Michigan Grant can be found online. For more information on US FIRST, visit their website. Also visit FIRST In Michigan.