FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MEDIA CONTACT:Dennis Garrigan, FIRST®Ph. 603-206-2454FIRST ®, The LEGO® Foundation and LEGO® Education Announce‘Graduation Grants’ Available To FIRST Robotics TeamsMANCHESTER, N.H., May 20, 2012 -- FIRST®(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, announced that Graduation Grants will be issued to FIRST robotics teams continuing their participation in theFIRST family of robotics programs. FIRST, in cooperation with The LEGO® Foundation and LEGO® Education, will provide a total of $250,000 in grants to fund newly formed FIRST®Tech Challenge (FTC®) teams that include graduates from FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) teams.The LEGO Foundation and LEGO Education will provide $150,000 towards the costs of robotic parts and materials for eligible teams, while FIRST will contribute $100,000 towards registration and additional costs for these newly formed teams. These grants were designed to encourage students to progress from one level in FIRST to the next. The grants are only available to U.S. teams on a first come, first served basis and are available immediately.“It’s clear that students who advance through our K-12 family of FIRST robotics programs have a competitive advantage, both in their skill sets and their opportunities for higher education,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corp. “In this time of graduations, we’re thrilled that FIRST and The LEGO Foundation have found the means to promote and reward students who continue their journey in science and technology through FIRST.”“The LEGO Foundation and LEGO Education are excited to continue supporting the growing efforts of the FIRST robotics programs,” said Stephan Turnipseed, president, LEGO Education North America. “Through strong collaboration with partners like FIRST, we are inspiring children through hands on learning to create the future problem solvers of tomorrow.”For more information on the two Graduation Grant programs, and the grant application process, please visit www.usfirst.org/ftc/grow.About The LEGO® FoundationThe LEGO® Foundation is a non-profit organization that holds 25% of the LEGO Group shares. In The LEGO Foundation, we believe that all children have the right to play and learn. Under the headline "We Care and Share" we make LEGO products accessible and applicable for less privileged children around the world through our donation programs such as LEGO Charity, Care for Education and Care for LEGO Local Communities. The work of The LEGO Foundation is based on the LEGO Brand Framework and like the LEGO Group, our mission is to “Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow”.About LEGO EducationSince 1980, LEGO Education (LEGOEducation.com) has delivered hands-on, curriculum-based resources for teachers and students worldwide. LEGO Education believes a hands-on, minds-on approach helps students actively take ownership of the learning process and develop 21st-century skills such as creative thinking and problem solving through real-life, engaging experiences.About FIRST®Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism®is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.
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