The Applied Materials Foundation Generation Girl Initiative Celebrates Five Years of Impact and Looks Ahead to the Future

by Julie Lata
Oct 24, 2023 4:10 PM ET
Girl working on a project

In 2018, the Applied Materials Foundation launched a new initiative focused on inspiring girls to pursue their dreams. At the time, a study by Reboot Representation found that “despite many leaders’ stated desire to bring more women into the sector, most companies do not invest significantly in improving the gender diversity in tech through their philanthropy. In 2017, only 5 percent ($26 million) of companies’ philanthropic giving went to programs with an explicit focus on women and girls in tech.” Report authors warned that without deliberate funding for girls and women, we would not move the needle on gender inequity.

Using that information, as well as research conducted by National Girls Collaborative Project, the Foundation identified three evidence-based funding priorities to guide its work:

  1. Going beyond STEM by funding organizations and programs that work to improve girls’ confidence and leadership skills. Believing you can overcome difficulty and achieve your dreams is key, regardless of what field you choose to enter.
  2. Expanding access to high-quality STEM programs by prioritizing programs that serve girls from low-income backgrounds and girls who identify as Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color (BIPOC), helping ensure that all girls have the opportunity to develop STEM skills and a STEM identity.
  3. Strengthening the field by convening Community of Practice meetings to facilitate learning and strengthen connections among the grant recipients, often bringing in external experts to guide collective learning.

Since 2018, over 50,000 girls across the United States have participated in Generation Girl-funded programs, the majority of whom come from low-income families and/or identify as BIPOC. Thanks to the hard work of Foundation grantees, girls have participated in leadership development programs, afterschool robotics and summer STEM camps. They have testified in state capitals on issues affecting girls today and have won regional coding championships. And, through a global pandemic and subsequent recovery efforts, they have redefined what it means to be successful in the face of adversity.

The last five years have shown that the Foundation’s three-pronged approach (empowerment, STEM access and capacity building) is successful. Thus, I am pleased to share that due to the astounding impact of our nonprofit grantees, the Applied Materials Foundation Board of Directors has approved a $3 million, three-year extension of the Generation Girl initiative. We have already started turning this opportunity into action, awarding twenty-two nonprofit organizations with grants to support their efforts in 2023 and beyond. These nonprofits have evidence-based strategies that work; our goal for the next three years is to encourage their growth to reach even more girls.

In addition to funding, we remain committed to fueling collaboration and innovation through Community of Practice meetings among nonprofit leaders to promote shared learning and development conversations. Applied Materials employees will also continue to lend their voices and expertise, volunteering at local community events, summer camps and afterschool programs as role models and mentors.

What began as a three-year pilot initiative has grown into an eight-year commitment in communities across the U.S. We are humbled by the efforts of our nonprofit grantees and Applied Materials employees to support this new generation of women innovators. We can’t wait to see all they collectively accomplish in the years to come!

Generation Girl is an initiative of the Applied Materials Foundation, inspiring girls to pursue their dreams. To see a complete list of the nonprofit grantees, visit our website