The Cross Charitable Foundation, located in West Yellowstone, Montana, has been a strong supporter of the SAE Foundation since 2012 donating $190,000 to the Western States AWIM Initiative. One of Cross’ focus areas is to provide education that actively engages youth and promotes them to become productive and contributing members of their communities. With the Cross Charitable Foundation’s support—we reach more than over 1,200 students each year—introducing STEM concepts to children as early as kindergarten.
With 64% of Montana’s population in rural and remote areas, Montana suffers from a shortage of teachers with strong backgrounds and teaching experience in math and science—particularly in rural and remote areas. The Western States Initiative provides educators with STEM knowledge and skills needed to teach STEM curriculum in order to develop and retain quality teachers. The Western States AWIM Initiative increases access to STEM education to include all students—with emphasis on closing opportunity gaps for rural, female and minority students. Improving students’ access to challenging STEM experiences boosts their learning outcomes and greatly improves students’ future college and career opportunities.