2022 marks the 10th year of support from the Cross Charitable Foundation to advance STEM education in the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah through the SAE A World In Motion® (AWIM ®) program.
During the past decade, The Cross Foundation has gifted nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the western states AWIM initiatives.
Through the generosity and continuous support of the Cross Charitable Foundation and others, over 85,000 PreK-12 students have benefited from the AWIM learning experience.
This mission aligns with Cross’ primary focus area of providing an education that actively engages minority, rural youth and promotes them to become productive and contributing members of their communities. The western states AWIM initiative increases access to STEM education to include all students—with emphasis on closing opportunity gaps for rural and underrepresented populations. The Cross Foundation looks to highlight these opportunity gaps to inspire all students, particularly Native American students, to be inspired and pursue STEM.
According to to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current total population of Native Americans in the United States in 2022 is 6.79 million, which is about 2.09% of the entire population. Of the four states the Cross Charitable Foundation works with, Montana ranks the highest at 7.94% with Wyoming at 3.62%, Idaho at 2.22% and Utah at 1.65%. Providing AWIM kits to these students not only boosts their confidence, but gives the students freedom of expression when collaborating and building an idea that is not only tangible, but unique to their culture and identity.
Despite continued growth of the population in Western states over the past decade, there is still a struggle with a shortage of teachers with strong backgrounds and teaching experience in math and science particularly in rural and remote areas. Through their support, the Cross Charitable Foundation helps train educators to build confidence and skills facilitating meaningful STEM learning experiences.