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STEM NOLA Receives $1.25M to Seed 42,000 SF Innovation HUB and Expand Award-Winning STEM Programming

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Awards STEM NOLA Million Dollar Grant to Launch State-of-the-Art STEM Innovation Center and Extend Award-Winning Programming and Training

NEW ORLEANS STEM NOLA has been awarded a $1.25 million dollar grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (Kellogg Foundation). A portion of the grant will go towards transforming a local New Orleans East building into the first STEM NOLA Innovation center. The balance will support STEM NOLA’s award-winning programming that addresses early childhood STEM exposure and skill gaps among Black and Latinx youth with engagement tools to improve mathematics and science proficiency,­­­­ build confidence and performance in STEM-related subjects, and offer STEM-based professional development to childhood educators with STEM-based curriculum and materials. The grant will be distributed over a three-year period.

“We are grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for their generous gift of a million dollars,” said STEM NOLA Founder and CEO, Dr. Calvin Mackie. “This grant will support our innovative STEM educational ecosystem and kick off our plans to build the first STEM NOLA Innovation HUB, a hands-on, educational incubator, exposing and inspiring little boys and girls with STEM opportunities to cultivate their own STEM career dreams, with an emphasis on under-served students of color.”

The future STEM NOLA Innovation HUB will be located in the New Orleans East Opportunity Zone. It will feature a specialized STEM-exploration laboratory space, classrooms, meeting spaces and serve as the headquarters for STEM NOLA’s ongoing delivery and design of STEM programming. It will not only support a community with the city’s largest population of predominately African American, low-income students, but also meet the immediate needs of students and teachers across Southeast Louisiana, with a focus on under-resourced communities.

Since 2014, STEM NOLA has delivered high-quality culturally, environmentally and developmentally appropriate programs to more than 65,000 children, 10,000 families and 1,200 schools across the country and in four countries. Hundreds of early grade educators have benefited from its customized curriculum and professional development. Prior to COVID-19, STEM NOLA reached more than 300 New Orleans children on a monthly basis. Since May 2020, the non-profit is engaging more than 2,000 elementary school-age children each month through its virtual hands-on STEM project-based workshops and activities.

Founded by New Orleans native and former tenured Tulane Engineering professor, Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA ( is dedicated to exposing, inspiring and engaging communities in learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The award-winning programming designs and delivers activities, programs and events, with a focus on underserved communities. The non-profit organization is dedicated to developing future Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs through the exposure to 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking. Since 2014, STEM NOLA has engaged over 65,000 students – mostly under-served students of color – in hands-on STEM project-based learning.

Dr. Calvin Mackie ( is an award-winning mentor, inventor, author, former engineering professor, internationally renowned speaker, and successful entrepreneur. He completed his degree in Mathematics at Morehouse in 1990, graduating Magna Cum Laude and a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He was simultaneously awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, where he subsequently earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1996.

In 2018, Mackie was selected by Gov. John Bel Edwards to serve as one of three leading Louisiana advocates of STEM preparation to represent Louisiana at the inaugural State-Federal Science Technology Engineering and Math Summit to be hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Gov. Edwards appointed Mackie to the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council. The council coordinates and oversees STEM education programs, to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of STEM; to ensure the alignment of education and workforce needs, and to increase the number of women who graduate from a post-secondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.

Dr. Calvin Mackie received the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board’s Chair (CBCF) Phoenix Award. The Phoenix Award is the highest honor presented by CBCF. It recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally. In 2003, Dr Mackie received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring in a White House ceremony during the Bush Administration.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in MichiganMississippiNew Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit