At its third annual Community Night on October 23, United Way of Greater Portland’s Brick & Beam Society announced $75,000 of investments in two initiatives that provide STEM programming for children in Portland, South Portland, and Westbrook, and align with the Greater Portland community’s Thrive2027 Goals.
LearningWorks and Side X Side, Afterschool STEAM Collaboration: $50,000
Brick & Beam Society’s $50,000 investment allows LearningWorks and Side x Side—two organizations dedicated to the academic, social and emotional wellness of students across the socio-economic spectrum—to partner on an innovative STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) afterschool program. The pilot program is designed to boost academic outcomes for elementary school students by giving students and educators an alternative approach to learning an academic curriculum through proven arts integration strategies, integrating creativity and the arts with science, technology, and math. The STEAM Afterschool Collaboration will be piloted in eight Portland and South Portland elementary schools in Portland and South Portland, reaching approximately 350 students.
Intercultural Community Center, Brick & Beam Computer Lab: $25,000
Intercultural Community Center’s (ICC) Power School provides summer and afterschool programs that target language acquisition, reading and listening skills, writing, grammar, math, social concepts, and science. Utilizing the help of teachers and mentors, they serve children grades 3-8 and reach approximately 135 children in the Westbrook school system. Brick & Beam Society’s $25,000 investment will provide for new computers and computer lab furniture to support online language tools and provide students access to computer science, robotics, and engineering programming.
Brick & Beam Society
This pair of investments was the result of a year of work by Brick & Beam’s volunteer Impact Investment Committee (IIC), their sixth round of funding since forming in 2016. Brick & Beam Society investments are funded through member donations and decided on by member volunteers.
Brick & Beam Society thoughtfully selects and explores an area of focus, and then tackles it holistically. Their current focus is aligned with Thrive2027 and supports early childhood education with a specific interest in STEM programming for under-served kids in Cumberland County. In addition to monetary donations, Brick & Beam Society’s holistic approach often involves volunteer projects and in-kind donation drives, including their Annual Mitten Mob on December 5, 2018. The event has collected 2,523 hats and mittens for local children over the last four years.