FIRST Equity and Access Grant

We got our rejection letter from this, which was expected, but I’m curious about the demographics of the teams that received them. It wasn’t clear if it was for teams with under served / underrepresented groups, for teams that serve those teams (by mentoring, running events, etc.), or both. An email to the office administering the grant asking about that detail went unreturned, and there was no feedback indicating where we could have done better (now I know how FTC teams feel with their “no feedback allowed” judging system - hah!)

Basically, I’ve spent (along with the help of some really bright kids) a lot of time writing proposals for funding recently, and I’m trying to figure out if these types of proposals are worth spending our time on. If there is a realistic chance for funding, then we’ll keep trying (with the understanding that it’s a competition and we can definitely win or lose). If we are excluded by our team demographics, then I’d like to know that up-front, too, so we don’t waste precious time.

Does anyone have any ideas on how these were awarded? Maybe there will be a press release soon to explain things.

The info I found about the 2018 grant winners indicates that the target is organizations that reach a large number of students. Most seem to be either full school districts or other non profit organizations.

You may have had a better chance if you applied with a full district, or with other organizations who could be included in your impacted student numbers.

This PDF shows that the bigger emphasis seems to be on economically disadvantaged areas, less so emphasizing minorities and racial/ethnic inclusion.


Definitely worth it. We spend some significant effort on grant writing here as well, results are maybe 50/50 (The more you do, the easier and quicker each one is - you reuse a lot!). And we never get feedback on how to increase our chances the following year. Even so, we bring in a lot of money this way!

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This thread last year had some good info from @Nate_Laverdure about this grant. Id say the biggest emphasis is how many more FLL, FTC, and FRC teams you can start than racial /ethnic/economic factor’s. Its a good way to get a head start on your Chairmains award. :neutral_face:

Agreed here, the first few are the hardest but once you have all the info you need documented and saved, your process for applying to more becomes pretty streamlined.

The call for this grant was different than last year’s, and was $5K for one FRC team rather than a community-based effort. I don’t see it on the FIRST web site any more, but I copied the questions:

If you have a documented outreach plan, please upload it here. If you do not, please fill out the next 2 boxes.

  1. Briefly describe the goal for your Equity and Access Outreach.

  2. Explain how this additional funding will help your team increase Equity and Access to FIRST Programs in your area. Please be as specific as possible, as priority will be given to teams with concrete plans and ideas.

  3. Prior to filling out the application, please complete Module 1 of the Inspiring Success for All Training available here:

Please post your Goals from the Goal Setting Activities at the end of Module 1.

So it was really specific to FRC teams. I did not copy the description of the grant.

Then it asked for team-specific information:

How many team members describe their current gender identity as?:
How many team members do you have on your team?
How many of your team members have participated in FIRST LEGO League?
How many of your team members have participated in FIRST Tech Challenge?
Is your FIRST Robotics Competition team affiliated with a Title 1 school? (select one)
What percentage of young people in your community participate in the reduced/free lunch program?
What percentage of the young people on your team come from low income families?

Anyway, we just got our own shop (in the lat couple of weeks!) and it is right next to a school that is 100% economically disadvantaged. We have some big plans for the types of services we can provide to the local community and we have some great partners (local companies and professional sports teams) to help. Our kids brainstormed and helped write an outreach plan - they did a great job! So maybe we can actually show some significant progress in this community by next year and will have a chance at receiving the grant (we won the Judges Award at Detroit this year for their efforts, and our first Chairman’s – they are an incredible group of kids).

But it’s one of those things where if we are judged on the percentage of kids on our own team in the reduced/free lunch. program, then we shouldn’t bother writing a proposal again – though we will happily do the work. It’s exciting. We’re just trying to figure out how to fund everything.

Thanks – we are decent at grant-writing, too (I agree it is worth it overall!). Some grants call-for-proposals are very specific to tell you if you should apply – they are for a specific type of team or activity. This one, I couldn’t tell, or get an answer, about if it was for economically disadvantaged teams (and anyone covered by “equity and access”) or teams in general who help try to increase access. So just confused on my part, but it may just be me.

Interesting…Yeah I mean if that criteria for this grant has changed then they really should make it a little more transparent.

Maybe your team isn’t impacting enough students? I don’t know.

I’m pretty sure that and the equity and access are two different grants. 181 applied for the Equity and Access and was also rejected