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Soap Box Derby Receives Grant From Huntington-Akron Foundation


The International Soap Box Derby (ISBD) announced it has received a grant from the Huntington-Akron Foundation for the ISBD After-School STEM Neighborhood Initiative.

This grant will provide opportunities for racing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education with community youth groups such as Urban Vision, Launch Kenmore, Akron Urban League, and Akron Public Schools through the Akron Children’s Museum. This will provide meaningful experiences through fair and honest racing competitions and STEM curriculums, which is part of the Derby mission.

The ISBD has worked with these established organizations in the past and will further develop programs with their participants. The Mini-Car Soap Box Derby STEM Education Program will impact 330 youth in the 3rd to 5th grades in the neighborhoods of Kenmore, Edgewood, and North Hill. Children from the Akron Public Schools who are lower- to middle- income (LMI) will be selected to participate in a specially designed Soap Box Derby STEM program that will be held at the Akron Children’s Museum.

The ISBD selected these organizations because they are strong and well- respected in the community and children already gather there for after-school programs. The ISBD After-School STEM Neighborhood Initiative enhances programs already offered at these organizations. The Soap Box Derby’s unique STEM Program reinforces math and science concepts to younger children and gives them an opportunity for hands-on activities that will deepen their understanding of these STEM principles.

The Mini-Car Soap Box Derby STEM Education Program consists of scale models from each of the three divisions of race cars. Within each of the six activities in this program are tasks that take the learner on a journey where they will get to race their Mini Car. This grant will ensure that each of the community youth groups will have the required materials so that they can participate in the Mini-Car Soap Box Derby STEM Education Program. These materials will include instructions for the teachers, workbooks for the students, as well as the scale model cars.

“We are excited to work with Huntington Bank to collaborate in the Akron neighborhoods to provide educational learning experiences to the four partners in this grant opportunity,” said Mark Gerberich president and chief executive officer of ISBD. “The funds will help impact these students, expand the Soap Box Derby’s STEM education programs, and grow participation in Soap Box Derby programs.”

“The Huntington-Akron Foundation is committed to helping people lead better lives and strengthening the neighborhoods within the City of Akron,” says Nick Browning, president of the Huntington-Akron Foundation. “We deeply appreciate the opportunity to work with the dedicated team at the International Soap Box Derby and we are pleased to support the Mini-Car Soap Box Derby STEM Education Program.”

The Huntington-Akron grant will continue the Derby’s momentum of having an impact on community partners and schools, as the Derby has been successful at implementing programsrecently with Salvation Army, Emmanuel Christian Academy, Green Intermediate School, Manchester Middle School, and O.H. Sommers Elementary School.