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NASA Ignores An Immense Space STEM Education Donation

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
July 15, 2021
Filed under

Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, selects 19 space-based charities to each receive a $1 million grant
“Today, Blue Origin’s foundation, Club for the Future, announced 19 non-profit charitable organizations will each be offered a $1 million grant to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM and help invent the future of life in space. The funds are made possible by the recent auction for the first paid seat on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.”
Smithsonian To Receive Historic $200 Million Donation From Jeff Bezos
“The Smithsonian will receive a $200 million donation from Jeff Bezos, founder and executive chair of Amazon, and founder of aerospace and space flight company Blue Origin. The donation is the largest gift to the Smithsonian since the Institution’s founding gift from James Smithson in 1846. A $70 million portion of the donation will support the renovation of the National Air and Space Museum and $130 million will launch a new education center at the museum. The education center will be housed in a new facility to be constructed on the east side of the museum’s plaza at its flagship location on the National Mall. It will feature programs and activities that inspire students to pursue innovation and explore careers in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields, and it will help teachers better utilize the Smithsonian’s collections.”
Keith’s note: NASA’s FY 2002 budget request includes a $27 million increase in STEM education budget. Blue Origin just donated $19 million to 19 non-profit groups for the express purpose of STEM education – after you consider other things that the agency is on the hook for, the gift is of approximately equal value. An hour later Blue Origin made another, immense donation to the Smithsonian – $130 million of which goes to the Air & Space Museum to support STEM education. You’d think that NASA’s STEM Engagement Office would wake up and take notice or at least tweet something nice and say thank you. NASA is the largest donor of exhibits to the Smithsonian and these various organizations work to support space exploration. NASA has agreements with Blue Origin and the Smithsonian, so their social media and PR policies permit them to say “thank you”. But the STEM Engagement Office and NASA Public Affairs folks simply don’t really care to make note.
Keith’s update: I heard from Mike Kincaid, the NASA AA for the Office of STEM Engagement. He is “excited” about this donation but is not going to say anything publicly. Neither is NASA PAO. But Kincaid did offer to read through some Powerpoint slides with me. Seriously. Powerpoint.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.

6 responses to “NASA Ignores An Immense Space STEM Education Donation”

  1. robert_law says:

    presumably because it was Blue origin and not NASA that made the donation . Think it is fantastic the Travis close out uniform is on display.

    • kcowing says:

      And yet NASA can wish Ringo Starr happy birthday while someone donates $200 million to a museum for sale STEM education – a museum where most of the artifacts come from NASA?

  2. richard_schumacher says:

    That’s nice, but if Bezos were serious about supporting education, science, and space development he’d donate billions to elect Democrats in all state and federal offices.