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Soap Box Derby Receives Grant For STEM Education Programs in Akron Public Schools


The International Soap Box Derby (ISBD) announced it has received 3 grants totaling $14,250 from the GPD Employees Foundation, United Way, and Akron Community Foundation for the Derby’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Program to be placed at two Akron Public Schools, Sam Salem Elementary School and Innes Middle School. This grant will benefit 570 students.

Students in first through fourth grade at Sam Salem and students in sixth grade at Innes will participate in the Soap Box Derby Mini Soap Box Derby Car STEM Education Program. They will construct, test, and race 1/13 scale modes of Soap Box Derby cars. Students will participate in a multi-lesson Mini Soap Box Derby Car program where they will learn important STEM concepts (such as force, friction and gravity). These schools will receive Mini Soap Box Derby Car kits, student activity booklets, a six-inch ruler, and a certificate of completion.

"Our Community Response Fund for Nonprofits was established to help nonprofits engage, educate and support individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic," said John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation. "At-home educational support has certainly become a crucial need and huge challenge for students, parents and teachers alike as the impact of this health crisis persists, so we're thankful the International Soap Box Derby will be able to serve the students of Sam Salem and Innes thanks in part to this grant."

"United Way is working to make sure students’ graduate school with the skills they need, whether their next step is college or the workplace," said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. "Hands-on learning opportunities are key to preparing kids for success."

“We are thrilled to support The Soap Box Derby as they continue making positive impacts on the educational experience and well-being of children in our communities,” said Darrin Kotecki, president of GPD Group.

“We are excited to continue our momentum in providing programs for Akron Public School students at Sam Salem and Innes Schools. Thanks to the continued support from GPD Employees Foundation, Akron Community Foundation and United Way, we can reach the underserved community,” said Mark Gerberich, president and chief executive officer of ISBD. “This is great timing to provide these students in this difficult time with STEM programs that provide creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.”

Through the STEM education program, the International Soap Box Derby continues its mission to “educate and inspire youth.”  The Derby’s commitment to its mission has resulted in the development of several Soap Box Derby STEM education programs.