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How 3M Advances Racial Equity in STEM Education for Minnesota Students through DonorsChoose

3M and DonorsChoose are empowering Minnesota educators to cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers!


Imagine a classroom now a bustling hub of scientific discovery. Solar panel engineering. Local animal life investigations. And a future generation turned into lifelong passionate STEM learners. 

Thanks to an incredible partnership between 3M and DonorsChoose, this vision has become a reality for more than 500 classrooms in St. Paul, North St. Paul, and Maplewood! Since 2021, 3M's generous $800,000 contribution has fueled countless innovative STEM projects, empowering teachers and igniting a passion for science and technology among students who might not have thought STEM was for them. With three years of this important teamwork to celebrate, we wanted to take a moment to recognize all we’ve done together. 

“We’re so grateful for 3M’s dedication to expanding STEM education access for Minnesota’s public school students,” said Alix Guerrier, DonorsChoose CEO. “This sustained support from 3M reflects a deep investment in the local community and has inspired students across the state to fall in love with STEM.”

3M, STEM, and Equitable Access to Learning Opportunities

3M, a global leader in innovation, is deeply committed to advancing racial equity in STEM education. Through​​ investments in educational organizations and programs, 3M aims to create 5 million STEM and skilled trades learning experiences by 2025. They understand the transformative power of these fields and the economic opportunities they unlock, which is why 3M is particularly committed to supporting young people interested in the field, especially those from historically underrepresented groups. 

“3M is pleased to partner with DonorsChoose to help teachers better engage students with STEM coursework”, said Jacqueline Berry, Sr. Manager 3M Community Relations.  “These projects are helping to promote innovation, foster creativity and are helping to prepare the next generation of STEM leaders.”

To achieve this, they’re investing in organizations and programs that improve academic outcomes and provide transformational opportunities for the next generation’s scientists and engineers — organizations like DonorsChoose. Researchers have found that funded DonorsChoose resources boost student achievement, likely because they tap teachers’ frontline knowledge of their students’ unique interests and needs. And because a majority of the teachers who use DonorsChoose are from Equity Focus Schools, it’s easy to get funding into classrooms that support students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM fields.

Joining Forces around St. Paul

3M first started supporting DonorsChoose in 2014, so when 3M announced their focus on the St. Paul community, we saw a natural connection to team up around empowering students in STEM. Not only is DonorsChoose dedicated to connecting teachers and students with the resources they need to thrive, we also have strong ties where 3M is headquartered — St. Paul — where we work closely with local public schools in the area through our District Partnership Program. So for the past three years, 3M and DonorsChoose have joined forces to deliver critical STEM resources to schools in St. Paul, Maplewood, and North Saint Paul — particularly during the crucial back-to-school season. 

The Results (and Teachers!) Speak for Themselves

Our initiative in the St. Paul region with 3M has demonstrably boosted project submissions, a testament to the enthusiasm it ignites among educators. Through our partnership, we’ve achieved the following impact: 

Over 564 teachers
118 schools, 
1,459 projects 

And together, we’ve created over 15,000 student learning experiences for underrepresented students in STEM!

But these projects are not just numbers to “ooh” and “aah” at, either. They represent real stories from local students and classrooms, as science is brought to life in ways only possible through this support. 

Adventures span from the wonders of astronomy, like Ms. Harris’ “Under the Stars — Astronomy for Kids,” where funding brought telescopes and other resources to make aerospace learning possible for students and even for family nights brought to the community. 

“Students were so excited to learn about telescopes and use them to find objects in the sky … Thank you so, so much for this opportunity to bring a connection to our world and careers.”

Classes are harnessing the power of the sun to power tiny houses and teach sustainability living in urban settings like in Mr. Thuante’s "Solar Generation at School" project.

“Students can apply this learning to the urban living experience that they are having. My hope is that we are instilling a sense of pride through the experience of sustainable living ... Thank you again for providing the opportunity for my students to learn through their natural curiosity while exploring real world problems.”

And they even delve into the fascinating world of local sea life, like in Ms. Katie’s "STEM Project That Explores the Health of MN Native Mussels

“As we delved into this classroom project, students not only explored the anatomy and functions of the mussels but also connected this knowledge to broader environmental issues … Your belief in education's transformative power was evident, and we are truly grateful for your support.”

These are just a few examples of the countless ways 3M and DonorsChoose are empowering Minnesota educators to cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers. 

A heartfelt thank you to 3M for their incredible partnership, to the dedicated schools of St. Paul, and of course to all the passionate teachers in Minnesota and across the country who make these transformative learning experiences possible

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