New Digital Resource Library from Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ IF/THEN Initiative Promotes Women in STEM

The IF/THEN Collection aims to inspire girls to become scientists and engineers because they are 'exciting, relevant, and cool.'

As part of the project's kickoff, IF/THEN will offer a $1 million matching fund for teachers and a $650,000 grant program for science and technology centers and museums.

Inspiring the next generation of women scientists and engineers is the goal of a new campaign just launched by Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

The IF/THEN Collection is the world’s first free digital resource library containing thousands of images and videos of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, according to a statement. The collection will be available to families, schools, museums, nonprofits, and media.

The project is part of the broader IF/THEN initiative from Lyda Hill Philanthropies, which seeks to further advance women in STEM careers through funding and elevating them as role models; partnering with leaders in culture, business, and academia to elevate the profile of women in STEM; and inspiring girls with better portrayals of women in STEM, both in media and education.

According to a 2018 study from the National Science Foundation, women make up half of the workforce, but only 28 percent of scientists and engineers.

“The IF/THEN Collection offers unlimited opportunity to influence the visual world around us, because we know, ‘IF she can see it, THEN she can be it,’” Nicole Small, CEO of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and co-founder of the IF/THEN Initiative, said in a statement. “Our goal is for girls everywhere to see STEM as exciting, relevant, and cool, and seeding the visual landscape with images of relatable and diverse women is key to making this happen.”

MIT biomedical engineer Ritu Raman is featured in a #SheCanSTEM video on the If/Then Collective website. [Screenshot: If/Then Collective]

As part of the project’s kickoff, the nonprofit crowdfunding site DonorsChoose will run the IF/THEN Collection Innovation Challenge, which will use a $1 million matching fund from IF/THEN to help teachers with classroom resources.

Teachers are encouraged to submit classroom projects and the ten most innovative projects will receive $5,000 in DonorsChoose credits to use toward their next request. Winning teachers are expected to share details on their projects so others can adapt them to their own classrooms.

Program officials will also distribute 50,000 free classroom posters featuring images from the IF/THEN Collection.

In addition to the classroom resources, IF/THEN is funding nearly $1.25 million for Girl Scouts of the USA and Teach for America to supplement content using the IF/THEN Collection. The materials will enhance Girl Scout’s STEM programming for girls and Teach for America’s STEM curriculum.

IF/THEN is also partnering with the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and its network of science and technology centers and museums to offer a $650,000 grant program. Through the program, ASTC-member museums will be able to highlight more women in their exhibits, displays, and materials, including by using the IF/THEN Collection’s assets.

The IF/THEN initiative is just one part of Lyda Hill Philanthropies’ efforts to fund advances in science and nature, empower nonprofit organizations, and help improve communities in Texas and Colorado.

Founded by Dallas entrepreneur Lyda Hill, Lyda Hill Philanthropies initiates or participates in dozens of projects in its areas of focus. Locally, the organization is involved with the Water Cooler at Pegasus Park to assist social impact groups, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute in Dallas, the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, and the Better Together Fund helping nonprofits maximize impact.

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