Calabasas, Calif. — The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival has received a grant from the PPG Foundation to provide math festival grants to Pittsburgh schools. The grant will allow 8 Title 1 schools in Pittsburgh to each receive $3,000 worth of play-based math resources to host their own math festivals during the 2022-2023 school year.

“Play-based math is more important than ever, and we are thrilled to partner with the PPG Foundation to bring math festivals to low-income schools in Pittsburgh,” says JRMF executive director Daniel Kline. “Math festivals are proven to increase students’ confidence and joy in math — two indicators that keep kids interested in the subject as they grow.”

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 62.7% of Pennsylvania students did not meet math standards in 2021. Almost all of the 30-fastest growing occupations in the next decade will require some background in STEM*, meaning low math scores may have a negative long-term financial and economic impact on individuals and communities.

“Because of the PPG Foundation, hundreds if not thousands of students in Pittsburgh will discover a new form of math, full of beauty, wonder, and creativity,” Kline says.

“Like JRMF, the PPG Foundation is acutely focused on supporting hands-on activities that enable young students to learn and understand how STEM concepts relate to our daily lives,” said Malesia Dunn, executive director, PPG Foundation and corporate global social responsibility. “Math is at the foundation of STEM learning and a launching point for future careers and possibilities. We’re thrilled to join JRMF’s efforts to support educators and students in Pittsburgh and inspire math learning.”

Title 1 schools can apply for one of the 8 seed grants here. Each seed grant includes:

  • A “math festival in a box” full of JRMF games and puzzles
  • A $500 event support stipend
  • A $500 teacher stipend
  • Training by JRMF staff on play-based math

Because educators often lack the time and resources to take on extracurricular activities for their schools, the seed grants include $1,000 to go directly toward event expenses and the festival host’s time.

“Because of the PPG Foundation, hundreds if not thousands of students in Pittsburgh will discover a new form of math, full of beauty, wonder, and creativity.”

“We often hear from teachers who love the idea of hosting a math festival for their students, but they are working under too many constraints. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our schools in the last few years. These seed grants are a way for JRMF to fully support our educators and help them incorporate play-based math into their students’ experience,” says Kline.

JRMF also hopes these seed grants act more like start-up funds for math festivals by inspiring schools to host annual math festivals. The games and puzzles are reusable and transferrable, providing resources that school districts can enjoy for years to come.

“The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival wants to make math festivals as ubiquitous in American schools as science fairs,” Kline says. “I’m confident we can make it happen with the help of our incredible corporate partners like the PPG Foundation.”

About Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival

The Julia Robinson Mathematics Festival (JRMF) is a nonprofit on a mission to empower communities to create magical math moments. Programming includes engaging educators and students through math festivals and other play-based math events, supporting underserved and underrepresented communities, and creating high-quality, accessible math puzzles. Since JRMF’s first math festival in 2007, more than 500 events have engaged K–12 students and their teachers. More than 50,000 people have created magical math moments across 30 states, 20 countries, and 6 continents.

*Curriculum Associates, 2021