At the IDP Foundation, Inc., we look for ways to maximize our social impact ensuring that any grant we give is thoughtful, deliberate and strategic.

While most of our grantmaking is done to support our keystone program, the IDP Rising Schools Program, and to promote advocacy efforts in global education, we also fund locally based organizations that share our same belief that education is a key component to conquering many of the world’s greatest challenges.

One such organization is Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), the largest science and technology museum in the Western Hemisphere. Since opening in 1933, MSI has become a Chicago staple and has welcomed 180 million visitors. MSI’s work helps children cultivate a lifelong appreciation for science and technology with the mission to “inspire the inventive genius in everyone.”

IDPF recently provided a grant to MSI in support of their Welcome to Science Initiative that creates learning experiences for children, inside and outside of the classroom, and removes any barriers that would exclude them from participating. We were drawn to this particular program because it advances our belief that everyone should have equal access to educational opportunities. The initiative offers a variety of programs to children across the city, reaching 500,000 students a year.

Families learning from the experienced MSI staff
Families learning from the experienced MSI staff

At a recent visit to the museum, we were lucky enough to attend a Live from the Heart session done in MSI’s Learning Labs in which school groups participate in focused, hands-on, multidisciplinary programs that align with the Next Generation Science Standards. These Learning Labs excite children with unique scientific opportunities and provide insight into STEM careers they may wish to pursue. During the Live from the Heart program, high school students can talk with a surgical team while watching a live open heart surgery via teleconference. It was so inspiring to see the students asking questions and learning directly from the experienced surgical staff. It provided them a dynamic experience that went beyond what is normally learned in the classroom and showed them what a career in medicine might look like.

We are so pleased that our support will continue opening doors for local students and will provide essential hands-on learning opportunities for many years to come!

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