The Swaliga Foundation is Ready to STEAM into 2021 and Here is Why!
The Swaliga Foundation was no exception to the challenging year our world faced. Despite setbacks, three highlights from the year leave us optimistic about our future:
- A resilient executive director
- A major grant
- A revitalized board of directors
A Resilient Executive Director
When the pandemic hit and schools closed, our founder and executive director, Lemond "IMAG" Brown, pivoted quickly to continue delivering educational programming to our youth. Swaliga was already working on a virtual platform for our work. Due to the pandemic, we accelerated our move to this medium. Here are a few ways we successfully engaged with our students thanks to Lemond’s resilience:
- In Spring, we launched #STEAMtheBlock Live, a weekly STEAM series that engaged students through scientific experiments and educational information live streamed through Facebook and Instagram.
- In Summer, we ran the Swaliga & Arise Virtual Summer Camp, a hybrid summer camp consisting of four days virtual and one day in-person, outdoors instruction.
- In Fall, we held our annual #STEAMtheblock Party virtually, which offered interactive science and arts demonstrations to youth and families in DC and around the world.
Despite the closure, Swaliga indirectly impacted 6,000 youth and provided more than 850 hours of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) programming.
A Major Grant
The great efforts and generosity of those meeting this moment gave Swaliga the vitality it needed to not only survive this year but position itself to thrive in the future. We received the Cultural Institution Grant Award, our largest grant to date at $150,000 from Events DC. This grant was awarded to non-profit cultural institutions that engage in the conservation, interpretation, and dissemination of cultural and artistic knowledge and offer and promote activities meant to inform, educate, and attract residents and visitors alike to the District of Columbia. It was an honor to be recognized as a cultural institution. These funds will be used to build a mobile maker space in Washington, DC, where Swaliga is headquartered. We believe the STEAM educational resources we provide internationally, online as well as after-school and through cultural exchange programs are worth supporting. Many thanks to Guerilla Arts Ink, a collaborator of the grant, for their help to make this opportunity possible. We cannot wait to share with you what we have planned.
A Revitalized Board of Directors
Along with major funding, Swaliga’s board of directors welcomed four outstanding individuals - Christine Jiang, Katherine Johnson, Tony Small; and Dr. Heather Snell, PhD. Check out their bios at the end of this message. Our board can now address development, finance, and communications matters much better than before. With their expertise, Swaliga is better equipped to address these fundamental areas of a non-profit organization. In the few months they have been with us, Swaliga has already witnessed greater structure and effectiveness in its board and the organization. We are truly on our way to reaching the next evolutionary step of a board, becoming a governing board, which will help us further our mission of cultivating learning globally and inspiring young people to connect their passion to successful careers.
Christine started her career in public accounting at a Big 4, serving different industries, including Financial Services, Private Equity and Hi-Tech. Christine's curiosity for how businesses forecast and make strategic decisions led her to various roles in Finance, Program/Project Management and Process Improvement around the Bay Area. To further hone these skills, Christine pursued a MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Today, she’s able to combine her financial and business experiences with her passion for creativity at Pixar Animation Studios.
Katherine has worked in the Information Technology field for over 20 years. Her career started in the U.S. NAVY as an Information Technician Specialist (IT). After 8 years of military service she continued her career working in both public and private sectors. Katherine holds a MS in Information Technology and currently works as a System Engineer for an engineering consulting firm with over 200 engineers from various disciplines. She’s also a Certified Professional Coach, mentor, writer and speaker. Katherine is passionate about empowering women and young girls to excel and thrive. She brings a unique combination of skills and expertise paralleled with a passion to provide youth with education and tools that set them up for impactful careers and meaningful work.
Dr. Heather Snell, PhD
Dr. Heather Snell is a postdoctoral fellow at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she investigates the role of the cerebellum in motor and non-motor disorders. Her passion for science, however, isn't limited to the bench, as she is active in multiple outreach organizations. She is also on the Board of Directors of KnowScience, which seeks to combat the rampant misinformation by holding seminars and talks open to scientists and non-scientists alike, and is a co-founder of UNITY!, which provides networking, peer-mentoring groups, and social events for the BIPOC community.
Join our Giving Campaign - The STEAM into the Future Initiative
Although there is still some time before the pandemic ends, Swaliga has positioned itself to not only survive but to thrive next year. This means we will continue to serve our youth and communities by delivering critical educational programs and events.
As this year closes, we are launching a giving campaign to keep our momentum going into 2021. We call it the “STEAM into the Future Initiative”! Please consider making a year-end donation to help us provide our engaging STEAM education programs to more underserved populations in Washington, DC and worldwide. No donation is too small! For reference, the amounts below show what your donation can help us afford:
- $25 will sponsor one student’s supplies for our after-school program
- $50 will help subsidize one student’s enrollment in our after-school program
- $100 will sponsor a week of summer camp for one student
- $250 will sponsor a STEAM workshop for 15 students
Thank you for joining our end-of-the-year giving campaign efforts. We are deeply grateful to our community, grantors, and staff for their continued support. Your support is invaluable in helping us deliver our mission to cultivate learning globally and inspire youth to connect their passion to successful careers.
About The Swaliga Foundation
The Swaliga Foundation's mission is to cultivate learning globally and inspire young people to connect their passion to successful careers.