UrbanFUTURE has received a $25,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund for their STEM-Focused Learning Initiative. The grant funds will supply hands-on learning tools and other critical support to further STEM-related career exploration and academic learning of underexposed middle school students in the St. Louis Public School District, and help get them on a “pipeline” to careers in STEM fields.  


As a result of UrbanFUTURE programs, 200 students in the 6th – 8th grades at Fanning and Busch Middle Schools, and another 65 at various SLPS high schools, will benefit from a deeper connection made between their classroom and their future careers. STEM-related career speakers, field trips to businesses and colleges, as well as the chance to earn technology-based incentives will be provided to students to connect them to careers and to further their interest in pursing higher education and jobs in STEM-related areas. 


“The support of the Monsanto Fund has become a critical component of our STEM programming,” says UrbanFUTURE Program Director, Anthony Lemons. “With their ongoing support, this year we can ensure that our students will continue to make positive gains and leap past their peers in terms of STEM literacy and career readiness.”


UrbanFUTURE students typically raise their grades and Lexile levels (a literacy measurement) at a higher rate than their peers, and show more growth in math and reading standardized assessments. Parents typically attend parent-teacher conferences at up to three times the rate of other parents at the schools. UrbanFUTURE students have typically shown growth on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) 2.5 times that of peers in communication arts and 7 times in mathematics.


On Thursday, January 28th at T-Rex (911 Washington Ave, 5th Floor), UrbanFUTURE held its inaugural UrbanFUTURE Shark Bowl: A Young Entrepreneur Showdown, where middle and high school student teams competed for prizes before a panel of St. Louis “Sharks,” including Deborah Patterson, President of the Monsanto Fund. Along with Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Dave Spence, and Mark Lewis, Ms. Patterson provided valuable feedback and asked thoughtful questions to our student teams, who presented their original business ideas to the panel and an audience of 175 guests.


“I was honored to witness first-hand the great work UrbanFUTURE is doing with our young people in St. Louis,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund President. “Similar to what we witnessed during the entrepreneurship program, we’re hopeful that our most recent grant to UrbanFUTURE for hands-on learning tools and resources for teachers will inspire student interest in STEM careers and empower students to see themselves as problem solvers in STEM fields.” 


To view pictures from the event, click here.


Monsanto Fund

The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company. It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farm families and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at to learn more.


If you would like more information about this topic contact Eleanor Borelli at


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St. Louis, MO 63103

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