Know Your Nonprofit: Sierra Economics and Science Foundation | TheUnion.com

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Know Your Nonprofit: Sierra Economics and Science Foundation

At an annual TechTest Survivors breakfast, the organization learned a young woman did not plan to attend college. Board members decided to mentor this student, providing a paid internship while she attended Sierra College. She graduated from Sacramento State with a Civil Engineering Degree several years ago and is employed by a concrete pipe company.

More info

Sierra Economics and Science Foundation

Phone: 530-263-0135

Website: sesfoundation.org

Facebook: SESFoundation TechTest

What is your mission statement?

The mission of the Sierra Economics and Science Foundation (SESF) is to bring reason and clarity to critical issues facing Nevada County. One of these critical needs is to prepare more of our students to continue their post-secondary education and pursue careers in the various STEM fields. SESF has and will continue to support these mission critical programs for Nevada County students.

Briefly, when and how did your nonprofit start?

SESF launched in 1997 as the Sierra Environmental Studies Foundation, a 501(c) 3 Corporation. Our name was changed to Sierra Economics and Science Foundation in 2012 to reflect our mission more clearly.

What are the primary sources of funding?

We depend on board and community donations for our merit scholarship fund.

How many employees does the organization have?

We do not have any paid employees. All of our board members and executive staff are volunteers.

Who is your primary audience, the people who benefit the most from your organization?

Nevada County students who are considering a career in science, technology, engineering, and math.

What is your primary service area?

Nevada County is our primary service area, with a focus on K-12 students, their parents, and teachers.

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit's history (up to three).

The first year we administered the TechTest, a young lady scored very highly on the exam. At our TechTest Survivors breakfast, we learned she did not plan to attend college. Board members decided to mentor this student, providing a paid internship while she attended Sierra College. She graduated from Sacramento State with a Civil Engineering Degree several years ago and is employed by a concrete pipe company.

In 2011 SESF held a technology forum, sponsoring a Senior CISCO Vice President in Innovation, who described a future we now call the Internet of Things. An engineer attending declared it to be "one of the best forums I have ever attended."

Recently SESF's Director of Research mentored the team leader of a winning high school robotics team, providing valuable insight into autonomous robotic operations.

List the biggest challenges you face:

The first challenge is fundraising.

The second challenge is community recognition that Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is vital to our local economy and the economies of the state and nation.

The third challenge is reforming education to include math as an essential element at every level.

What is your primary goal for the next year?

We want to raise community recognition about the importance of solid math and science courses as vital to student success in a digital workplace.

What is your primary goal for the next three to five years?

Expand TechTest, raising more funds to increase merit scholarships, and enable the expansion of incentives at all education levels.

What are your major fundraisers and the dates for these events in 2017

Fundraising is an ongoing activity by board members.

How can someone become involved with your organization?

We have an ongoing need for mentors who can help students with math and science challenges and projects.

What kind of skills are you looking for from volunteers?

Volunteers need to have a working knowledge of science, technology, engineering or math and time to share that knowledge with interested students.

The Center for Nonprofit Leadership provides the weekly Know Your Nonprofit feature. You can learn more about CNL online at http://CNLSierra.org. The Center is on Facebook http://facebook.com/NevadaCountyNon ProfitLeadership and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.