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Tech Collective Receives Robotics Grant from the Champlin Foundations

$16,000+ grant to purchase FIRST Robotics Tech Challenge kits for local area high schools and career and tech centers.

Providence, RI, December 25, 2008 --( Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s Industry Partner for Information Technology and Biosciences, today announces it has received a $16,200 grant from the Champlin Foundations. The grant will fund the purchase and shipping and handling of 17 newly regulated US FIRST Robotics Tech Challenge (FTC) kits and 39 extended “bonus packs” of extra hardware and controllers. The new kits will provide students with enhanced materials and creative opportunities to better align with real-world engineering challenges.

The FTC Challenge is a high school-level robotics competition allowing teams of up ten students to design, build and operate robots in statewide and national competition. The program engages students to explore technology pathways, develop social skills and build a stage for future teamwork and success. The new FTC kits are mandatory for competition and cost $950 each. Realizing reduced school budgets, FIRST has waived 50% of the kit costs. The Champlin Foundations grant will finance the remaining expenses.

Last year, 36 high school teams competed in the FTC Challenge, with four earning their way to the World Championship competition in Atlanta. This year’s event is expected to host 39 teams in the competition.

“The FTC Challenge is a dynamic opportunity to engage students in critical collaboration, technical and soft skill development,” says Jo Ann Johnson, manager of youth and education programs for the Tech Collective. “These are the skills our children need to succeed in the workforces of today and tomorrow. For example, today’s IT industry is suffering from a lack of talented workers with the soft and technical skills employers are looking for. Part of that is due to decreased awareness of the industry and also misconceptions of it. In reality, the IT industry is one of the fastest growing and highest paying in Rhode Island and the nation. These are the types of opportunities the FTC Challenge looks to offer our students, and we are grateful to the Champlin Foundations, especially in harsh economic times, for their generous support.”

Tech Collective, along with the New England Institute of Technology, is the FTC affiliate partner, coordinating fundraising, mentorship and logistical efforts around the annual event. For more information about the Champlin Foundations grant, to register your school for the FIRST US Robotics Tech Challenge, or to become a mentor or volunteer for a local team, contact Jo Ann Johnson at (401) 521-7805 x103 or

About the Champlin Foundations:
The Champlin Foundations are private foundations which make direct grants to tax exempt organizations, substantially all in Rhode Island, mostly for capital needs. Capital needs may consist of equipment, construction, renovations, the purchase of real property and reduction of mortgage indebtedness.

One important goal is to fund tax exempt organizations within Rhode Island that will have the greatest impact on the broadest possible segment of the population. Another important goal is to provide "hands on" equipment and facilities for those being served by these tax-exempt organizations. To learn more about the Foundations, visit

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 the support of many of the world's most well‐known companies, the not‐for‐profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high‐school students, the FIRST LEGO(R) League for children 9‐14 years old, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to

About Tech Collective:
Tech Collective is the technology industry association of Rhode Island. Focusing on Community Building and Workforce Development, we are driving technology growth, innovation and prosperity by uniting industry, government and education. Tech Collective builds and strengthens community by creating partnerships, offering thought-provoking forums and organizing state-wide participation in events like Forward Thinking, Bio Ed, GRRL Tech and Technology Laureate’s Night. In promoting and developing a highly-skilled Rhode Island workforce, Tech Collective drives technology-based education and training programs for students in grades K-16 as well as for incumbent and transitioning workers. For more information about Tech Collective initiatives and events, visit

Giselle LaFrance
Communications Specialist
Tech Collective

Contact Information
Tech Collective
Giselle LaFrance, Communications Specialist
(401) 829-8321

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