STEM schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are getting a helping hand from one of the country’s largest philanthropic organizations. 

Announced July 23, the $200,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation will be used to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs in low-income communities, with funding for equipment, curriculum, and professional development for teachers and STEM leaders.

“The Foundation’s commitment to encouraging a love for science among our young people will make a lasting difference in their lives and in the future of our community,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. 

Students at Divine Saviour School in Los Angeles show off their STEM gear. (Cynthia Garcia)

The STEM Network currently operates at five schools in the archdiocese: Divine Saviour, Holy Spirit STEM Academy, St. Turibius, Immaculate Conception STEM Academy, and San Gabriel Mission K-8. With the Foundation’s grant, the STEM Network will expand into two additional schools in the 2021-2022 school year. 

“The STEM Network is so incredibly honored and blessed,” said Leslie De Leonardis, STEM Network Director for the Department of Catholic Schools. “This grant propels us to continue to address not only achievement gaps related to math and science learning, but also opportunity gaps students may experience in accessing hands-on, rigorous STEM education.”