Rural Teams - Sustainability

Hi - I work with a team in its second year, and we are rural - really, really rural. I’d love to get some discussions on this board about sustanting rural teams that have no real industry to support them. Donor fatigue is a problem for us. If anyone has ideas - would like to hear them. Thanks

I would say contact team 103- Cybersonics for the best help.

Thanks Akash!

We are a rural team also, but definately not as rural as you are. We have some minor manufacturing industries that sponsor us as well as a few large manufacturing companies.

Now I have been to Jackson Hole, and I completely understand what you mean. I was going to recommended applying for a NASA grant, but it looks like you guys already do that, which is excellent. There are a few other large companies that do a similar system, but some require an inside source (Such as Lockheed Martin). Could I possibly have some further information on some fundraisers you do? PM me if you would like to continue talking.

After doing a quick Google maps search on manufacturing, I see you have an extensometer company (Epsilon) right out of town. I do not know the size of the company, but they claim to be the, “World’s largest extensometer manufacturer.” Have you contacted them, invited them to your, “Build area,” or had any contact with them?

I am very happy to see that there is a thread to talk about funding rural teams. My name is Greg Shaw and I am the Lead mentor for team 3601. We are a rookie team from Webberville Michigan and we were funded by a jc penney grant this year. This is a rookie year only grant and we are now looking for new sponsors. I have had no luck approaching companies–but we will keep trying. I am currently looking into federal education grants from the Department of Education. Once I find aout about possible federal grants I will post info on this thread. Also, I am leaving for St. Louis tonight and I am hoping to get some leads during the trip. It is VERY important that we find away to help rural teams survive and trhive in FIRST. Thank you for getting the converstaion started!

Hello All,

I mentored Wentzville team 1706, they are 45 minutes from St. Louis, and we are on the “perimeter” of what you call “rural”. I think everyone would agree that Silex (town 10 minutes from us), where they have a school but no supermarket that is really rural…

I recommend looking into 4-H, they have a very strong presence in rural communities and along with JC-Penney they have sponsored many teams.

Checkout this site :

For any teams in Missouri that needs help, let me know. Although I work in St. Louis, I have mentored a team last year all the way in Carbondale, IL. I visited the team 3 times, and the rest was thru virtual communication, I have also done a couple youtube videos for them where I give them some thoughts on their robot design.

I believe that finance/mentor support might be a challenge, but I believe that it can be done in a sustainable way. The focus should be on the process the first 4 years : brainstorming, trade studies, prototyping and testing…not only in engineering but also in fundraising…

INCOSE MG sponsored four teams in 2007, 4 years later the Wentzville team has went all the way to quarter-finals at 2011 FIRST Robotics Championship.

If your team is within 3 hours of St. Louis and would like some assistance, let
me know. I would be happy to come over and make a presentation.

International Council of Systems Engineering Midwest Gateway Chapter
INCOSE MG - 2008 President. :smiley:

We’re in the same boat as you, Kath. We haven’t contacted 4-H at all, but that seems like a really great idea. I’ll be sure we do that sometime this summer. :smiley:

We are a Rural 4-H team as well (#3746 Neco Robo Knights) and we were initially funded by a 4-H grant in 2010 and this year a FRC team was started with a JC Penny grant, since 2011 we drew up a Sponsor letter and canvassed the local area and did pretty well with it, we had various sponsor levels to allow companies to choose how much advertising on banner,robot and engineering notebook they liked, some places really get behind projects and others just give little amounts, but it all adds up! Our 4-h handles the monies and thru the leadership advisary committee, sometimes the fees associated with the competition are paid for us, since it’s a new area of 4-H and they like to help get it going,they have added a competition for the state fair here, it keeps the kids interested and learning during the summer!

Team 316 totally gets where you all are coming from. We are located in a rural part of southern NJ. All of our students are given an amount which they are responsible to raise to support the team’s budget.

We have been able to get major sponsorships from some larger corporations within an hour of us, but the majority of our budget is funded by community sponsors (local banks and businesses, family, friends, etc). We send out a lot of letters asking for support and offering businesses advertising options based on their level of giving.

We also have an affinity credit card. When someone opens an account we get a donation and then we get a percentage from all the dollars spent on the card.

We run fundraisers all year including: Bottles for Benefits through CocaCola, the Flapjack Fundraiser that runs through a local Applebee’s restaurant, coin drops, Yankee Candle sales, etc. Another good fundraiser to do is with stadium cushions. PM me for details. I do this for a living and don’t want to promote myself in the forum but I can help you with that fundraiser.

Ask everyone everywhere for support. It all adds up.

I hope this helps. We want us all to succeed!

We have some documents that we can share with you folks.
The same ones we presented at CMP last year.

We are pretty rural to say the least, with very little industry here, and stuck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I’d guess that 50% of the population here in Hawaii has never been to Waialua, seriously.

Cost for items are very expensive too.

Just send me a PM with your email address and I’ll send it asap.