A Donor’s Perspective…The Innovation Fund
“Our Scouts face insurmountable opportunities,” Mike says with a grin. “And we are inspiring our future innovators by exposing them to thousands of career opportunities, both college bound and career bound.”
Mike LoPresti and his wife, Bonnie, provided the lead gift to create the Innovation Fund at the BSA Foundation. The goal: to provide Scouts with experiential learning resources to use STEM in their lives and careers.
The Innovation Fund is the engine to develop, secure, and coordinate the resources and relationships for Scouting to remain a relevant platform for positive youth development. Science, engineering, and technology occupations are crucial for future economic competitiveness in our globalized world. Even industries not traditionally classified as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are now dominated by the software and other mathematical models that facilitate them. Mike knows, “it is crucial for the future that our labor force has sufficient exposure to, and training in, STEM skill sets.”
In true Scouting tradition, the Innovation Fund not only improves STEM literacy and teaches life skills, but also develops positive qualities of character, citizenship, leadership, and fitness in young people. Mike has combined his thirty-eight year history in Scouting with his life-long passion for innovation and his belief that STEM holds the key to relevance and impact for the Scouting movement.
Mike’s work through the fund has engaged companies around Chicago and the United States that have a vested interest in training the next generation of employees. Abbott Labs is one of the private companies partnering with the Innovation Fund and has a 20 year history of supporting Scouting inside its laboratories. Abbott uses Scouting as a feeder system for new talent, invests significant staff and financial resources, and has hired many former participating Scouts.