PITTSFIELD, Mass. – November 2, 2017 – The Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center and Berkshire Gas, an operating subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified energy and utility company, jointly announced support of new programming for young women interested in STEM education and careers in Berkshire County.
Under the partnership agreement, The Avangrid Foundation will be providing a $25,000 challenge grant. The grant will be used to attract additional start-up support from interested corporate and private underwriters for this first-of-its-kind offering in Berkshire County known as “EUREKA!”
The pilot program is expected to begin January 2018 with a group of 20 girls. Girls Inc. continues to explore additional funding sources and will begin a local fundraising campaign shortly.
Berkshire Gas President Karen Zink noted, “We are thrilled to be investing in such a timely and important opportunity for young women in our region. It is exciting to be part of making a difference and contributing to the future of tomorrow’s young leaders and the local workforce.”
EUREKA! is a component of the Operation SMART program designed by the national Girls Inc. organization. Operation SMART uses a research-based curriculum to develop skills and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The program incorporates hands-on activities and interactions with women and men pursuing STEM careers. Specifically, EUREKA! is a multi-year effort that begins with rising 8th graders and
combines sports and personal development activities with an intensive experience on a college campus for four weeks each summer of the first and second years. Girls will regularly participate in educational and experiential activities related to what they learned over the summer throughout the school year. Girls will participate in paid internships in STEM related professions the third summer.
“Girls Inc. has been working for quite some time to bring the EUREKA! program to the Berkshires and we are thrilled that Avangrid Foundation has chosen to support the effort,” said Kelly Marion, CEO of the Brigham Center. “So often girls are given the message that they aren’t good in math and science. This program will give local girls exposure to STEM related activities to spark their curiosity, support their education and show them opportunities for their future.”
Girls Inc. plans to build on the success of the program over the first three years, to develop regular funding that will enable new groups to begin each year and extend the program to five years to support girls, as they explore future educational and career opportunities throughout high school. Marion also noted, “Ultimately, our goal is to begin new groups each year enabling up to 100 area girls to be a part of Girls Inc. EUREKA! annually.”
Girls Inc. is a core program of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center. The Center serves children, youth and their families throughout the Berkshires providing school age enrichment programs, early childhood education, youth empowerment services, aquatics programs and summer camp at Camps Stevenson-Witawentin. Learn more at www.brighamcenter.org.
A History of Support
The Avangrid Foundation, Inc. is the principal philanthropic arm of AVANGRID, Inc. and its subsidiary companies, focusing on funding activities that promote environmental sustainability and improve the well-being of the communities served by our utility affiliates, which include NYSEG and RG&E (NY); Central Maine Power Company and Maine Natural Gas (Maine); United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas Company, and Connecticut Natural Gas (CT); and Berkshire Gas Company (MA). AVANGRID, Inc. is also the corporate parent of Avangrid Renewables, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
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