United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley



Students get hands-on STEM experience at Vertex’s Apprentice Learning event.


The Innovation economy is growing in our own backyard while our youths’ education scores are not aligning with future needs. One of Boston’s most innovative educational programs in the 21st century is changing all that.

Boston Public schools is quickly becoming one of the most diverse school districts in the country: over 57,000 students reflect Boston’s vibrant blend of cultures, representing 140 countries and speaking 80 languages. 86 percent of students identify as African American, Latino or Asian. Unfortunately, students in the Boston schools are struggling in STEM subjects.  In the 2017 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) standardized achievement test, 87 percent of Boston Public School 8th graders DID NOT score “proficient” in Science, Technology, and Engineering.

bostemBoSTEM – Opportunity for Success

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley, in collaboration with Boston After School & Beyond and Boston Public Schools (BPS), has designed a STEM program – BoSTEM – that’s engaging, educational and fun. BoSTEM provides hands-on, high-quality learning opportunities, in partnership with out-of-school time programs and corporate volunteers, which give students the chance to apply STEM skills in exciting, real-world contexts.

2017 BoSTEM Student Impact:

  • Average of 106 hours, out-of-school time programming per student
  • 77% of all students reported positive gains in STEM Interest overall
  • 80% of students reported positive change in social and emotional skills


Our goal is to present STEM opportunities to 10,000 Boston middle school students by 2022. We aim to increase STEM interest, academic success, and 21st Century skills by providing hands-on, experiential learning opportunities with STEM industry professionals and aligning curriculum/instruction across school and out-of-school time.

With your help, we can achieve our goals. Here are some ways you can support the future of our youth:

  • Host students at your workplace for STEM design challenges
  • Volunteer at one of our agency sites
  • Support BoSTEM to refine and scale the program

United Way was recently awarded the Education, Innovation and Research grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which will allow us to sustain and more rigorously evaluate BoSTEM over the next five years. But we need your support now more than ever as we strive to refine and scale our program beyond Boston, and to engage local youth in 21st century STEM education.

Change can’t happen without you!

United Way receives Grant to expand stem in the boston public schools

United Way of Massachusetts Bay was recently awarded 5-year, $3.9 million grant from the U. S. Department of Education’s Education, Innovation and Research program to fuel the expansion of BoSTEM in the Boston Public Schools.  The grant aims to increase student interest in STEM and STEM-related careers, as well as refine, scale and evaluate BoSTEM as a best practice for quality STEM education and college/career readiness.   Read more about the work that the grant will fund here.

Find out More

For more information about corporate engagement and sponsorship of our STEM work, contact Ilana Smith, Director, Corporate Relations at ismith@supportunitedway.org or (617)624-8203.

For program information, contact Joe Rosenbaum, Project Director, BoSTEM at jrosenbaum@supportunitedway.org or (617)624-8108.