A view of the SDG&E building. Courtesy of NBC San Diego broadcast.

In honor of Pi Day and in support of local teachers, San Diego Gas & Electric is launching a $314,159 matching grant program to enable K-12 public schools in the region to provide more classroom learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in math to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Accordingly, SDG&E has set aside a donation amount reflecting the infinite number.  Shareholder funds (not utility rates) are used to fund the charitable initiative.

 “Innovation and economic prosperity in our region are powered by breakthroughs in science, technology, engineering and math,” said SDG&E Chief Operating Officer Caroline Winn, an outspoken STEM champion. “Teachers play a critical role in inspiring future innovators, so it is important for us to support classroom-based STEM learning opportunities.”

This is the second year SDG&E is providing matching grants to support local STEM teachers in partnership with DonorsChoose.org –  an online platform that enables public school teachers to crowdfund materials, projects, and field trips for their students. This year SDG&E aims to support 500 teachers at 300 local schools, through 600 STEM projects that could reach 40,000 students. Last year, SDG&E helped 208 teachers at 135 schools and reached nearly 20,000 students through 286 STEM projects.  Sixty-four percent of these schools were in disadvantaged communities.

With mathematics being a key pillar of STEM education, Pi Day is the perfect time to kickstart the crowdfunding initiative as math enthusiasts all over the world recite the infinite digits of Pi, talk to their friends about math, and eat pie.

Teachers at public schools located in San Diego and South Orange counties that are served by SDG&E are eligible to receive matching funds for STEM projects that cost $1,000 or less. For every dollar they raise via DonorsChoose, SDG&E will provide a $1 match.  For teachers whose schools are located in disadvantaged communities, as defined by the state’s CalEnviroScreen as being most vulnerable to environmental pollution, SDG&E will offer a $2 match for every $1 raised by teachers, making public contributions even more impactful.

“Teachers across San Diego County do extraordinary work every day to cultivate students’ interest in STEM,” said Dr. Paul Gothold, superintendent of the San Diego County Office of Education. “The support of individual donors and SDG&E for STEM education in the classroom makes a real difference, especially in fostering innovation and in creating greater equity across students, schools, and communities.”

Teachers are encouraged to create project requests through DonorsChoose.org/teachers. To donate to a project that SDG&E is matching, visit DonorsChoose.org/SDGE.


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