Thanks to his belief in the Manifezt Foundation mission, we are pleased to announce the addition of Interim Program Director of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Chris Caines, to our board. Chris has been with the Knight Foundation for the past two years, where he worked closely with Matt Haggman as a program associate and has been an instrumental part of their investment into the community since joining. In October last year, the Knight Foundation invested $1.25M to launch venture-building and corporate innovation programs within The LAB, helping cement their position as the cornerstone of the tech renaissance currently being experienced in Miami. Since their initial investment in The LAB, the Knight Foundation has made donations, and given grants, to over 200 local organizations, events, and projects, ranging from $20,000 to $2M.
Additionally, we are excited to inform you that we have also added Dr. Chery Brewster – Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, FIU – to our board to accelerate the growth towards one of our goals, of getting minority students from local universities involved in our program as volunteers. We share the same goal of increasing diversity in STEM, so there was a natural alignment in our missions making the merging of our efforts even smoother. Along with the of our existing board, including: Christine Johnson of the Beacon Council, Greg Link of Magic Leap, Michael McDearmaid of Greenspoon Marder Law, Fred Seraphin (a Miami-Dade County Elected Judge), Dr. Cheryl Holder of FIU, Kelsey Glover of The German Marshall Fund and Erdina Francillon of Microsoft; Chris and Cheryl look forward to coordinating their efforts to help guide us in our quest to improve STEM education in underprivileged communities.
Over the past few months we have been able to secure several additional locations to roll out our new Science in the City program, including The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science where we will have the pleasure of making use of their state of the art planetarium for our Space Cadet pipeline. The program shows how different STEM classes apply to a specific career, in contrast to our STEM Saturday program (which will continue) that shows students the different career possibilities in a specific STEM field. Both programs continue to use project based lessons that engage children and capture their interest to ensure their Saturdays with us are both educational and entertaining.