STEM Funders Network STEM Learning Ecosystems RFQ

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 12.28.42 PMThe STEM Learning Ecosystems RFQ was released on June 10, 2015. A group of ecosystem stakeholders joined a call to learn more. The RFQ was by invitation only (one invitation per city), and will culminate in a cohort of 25 cities nationwide, each of which is at various stages of cultivating their own STEM Learning Ecosystem. Information about the RFQ may be found here, and you may view the RFQ document here.

The RFQ entails:

  • An application – the application requires that we condense information about Chicago’s learning ecosystem into brief responses
  • A lead organization – this is the organization that will organize the RFQ process and submit the RFQ itself (currently Project Exploration)
  • A minimum of four partner agencies – these are organizations that will meet regularly throughout the year to ensure that the vision and mission of the ecosystem are being met appropriately
  • Letters of support – a minimum of four, but any STEM education stakeholder is welcome and encouraged to submit a letter
  • Self-Assessment – Partner Agencies MUST complete the self-assessment, any other STEM ecosystems stakeholder is welcome to do so
  • A separate application for a $10,000 award to support the ecosystem’s development (must be matched 2:1)

If we are awarded the ecosystems group membership, we will receive the following:

  • Attendance for two people at the ecosystems kickoff meeting at the White House in November 2015
  • We join a cohort of 24 other cities, whose ecosystems are at various stages of development, in a community of practice that nurtures peer-support for our ecosystem development
  • Technical assistance throughout the year from researchers who have led ecosystem development in other cities
  • An Americorps volunteer to support the work
  • A $10,000 grant to support the work – this has already been matched 2:1 in Chicago, and funders have committed funds to the work

Additionally, the RFQ completion process promises to:

  • Galvanize Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem around developing and envisioning our next generation ecosystem
  • Move the work of developing the STEM Learning Ecosystem forward, with Chicago STEM Pathways Cooperative as a vehicle and leader, regardless of whether the RFQ is awarded or not
  • Capture and convey the voices of all STEM education stakeholders in Chicago

To participate, here are steps you can take:

  1. Please complete our pre-survey to capture your perspective on Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem
  2. Consider becoming a Partner Agency for the work
  3. Join our meetings every Friday – email Stephanie Levi for information (
  4. Provide a letter of support for this work

As we begin this phase of the work and respond to the RFQ, we want to emphasize that this group maintains an open door policy, and ALL are welcome to participate!  Inclusivity is our most important value.  We rely on our partners to help spread the word and ensure that everyone within our ecosystem is connecting, since there are likely many organizations doing great work that we’re not aware of.  So, please share this information far and wide, and join us to help shape Chicago’s STEM Learning Ecosystem!

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