Challenge grant of $25,000 matched by the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools

FCPS Foundation LogoThe Community Foundation recently made a challenge grant of $25,000 to the Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools, the philanthropic arm of the school system, to launch Cyber Patriot – an afterschool cybersecurity program – in FCPS middle schools.  Funding will support programs in ten middle schools in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years, with the goal of giving students earlier exposure to cybersecurity. FCPS is interested in encouraging more students to make room in their high school schedules for Cyber IT courses in order to gain exposure to these 21st Century Learning skills.

The Community Foundation’s Innovation Fund, a discretionary fund that invests in inventiveness, creativity and new design across Northern Virginia, issued this grant thanks to a gift from the Chin Family Charitable Fund, a donor advised fund at the Community Foundation that supports education, children’s health and children’s medical care.

The Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools secured the matching $25,000 to launch the program from a variety of sources, including the Fairfax Economic Forum, Apple Federal Credit Union and Oracle.  “We are delighted to be able to work with the Community Foundation on this endeavor for our students. FCPS is a Cyber Patriot Center of Excellence, and to expand the program into middle schools is exactly the kind of work that the Foundation was established to do. Our goals are to excite more students into pursuing higher level cyber courses and perhaps a career in this growing field,” said the Executive Director of the Foundation for FCPS, Elizabeth Murphy.

As Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said recently, one of the most important catalysts for long-term economic growth in Virginia will come from the burgeoning cybersecurity sector.  Enabling students to learn more about this growing field at an earlier age will assist workforce development efforts in the county and the state.  The funds will be used to purchase the curriculum kit, necessary computer equipment, and provide teacher training and stipends for their work with this afterschool activity.

Last year, the Community Foundation made a similar challenge grant to launch a cybersecurity program in Prince William County Public Schools.  “By strategically investing in such programs in our local schools, the Community Foundation is taking a long-term view to address the diversification of the local economy,” said Eileen Ellsworth, President of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  “Through public-private partnerships such as this, we are working to launch promising, innovative programs and initiatives that have the potential to transform our region.”