STEM Nasdaq tomThe Community Foundation was honored last month at the STEM Education Leadership Awards presented by Nasdaq and EverFi at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York City.  The award recognizes the Community Foundation’s significant efforts to improve Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) education and career readiness for students throughout Northwest Mississippi.

Sixteen honorees were selected based on criteria that included the scale and educational impact of their STEM education initiatives as well as unique employee volunteering activities that supplement their programs.

“Our country faces a growing shortage of employees who are skilled in STEM,” said EverFi Founder and CEO Tom Davidson. “The organizations we’re recognizing here today are committed to igniting student interest in these critical topics and exposing students to the jobs of the 21st century.”

The Community Foundation has education as a top priority. It is committed to providing students with the skills and knowledge needed to use technology responsibly and to preparing them to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The Community Foundation has partnered with EverFi to bring the Community Digital Scholar Program to local students at no cost to schools or taxpayers and has reached over 51,300 students since 2009. It offers two web-based programs to enhance STEM—Radius and Ignition—and both use the latest in simulation and gaming technologies to build STEM skills and highlight the career possibilities that a STEM education can unlock.

“The Community Foundation has its roots in education technology, starting with a communitywide initiative in 2000 to place an Internet-accessible computer in every DeSoto County public school classroom. We succeeded and then worked with the governor to make Mississippi the first state with a computer in every public school classroom,” said Community Foundation President Tom Pittman. “Thanks to an anonymous donor, we continue that tradition by using EverFi’s innovative technology to provide our children and young people a better education for their future.”

Other honorees included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army, National Guard Youth Foundation and the NHL Players Association.

Administered by teachers in a classroom setting, the web-based Ignition course offers over four hours of programming to empower students with the skill set to leverage technology safely and effectively. The course informs students on both “nuts and bolts” of how technology works and an introduction to STEM careers. It places them in virtual environments to tackle issues including privacy, security, cyberbullying, digital relationships, and the viral nature of the web. The platform uniquely tracks the progress and performance of every student. After taking Ignition, students increased their assessment scores by an average of 70 percent.

The web-based Radius course is also administered by teachers in a classroom setting and offers over 16 modules covering STEM focused topics ranging from the real world application of algebra to basic computer science in a secret agent-themed course.  Engaging, interactive lessons focus on skill building and highlighting the career possibilities that a STEM education could unlock. The platform uniquely tracks the progress and performance of every student. After taking Radius, student reported more interest in pursuing technology and engineering jobs with 32 percent more interested in working at a company like Facebook or Twitter and 20 percent more interested in a job designing buildings or bridges.


About the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi

The Community Foundation manages 217 donor-established funds and has distributed $16.7 million to support more than 420 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the foundation.  Established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501.c.3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties.  A board of 19 volunteer civic leaders governs the Community Foundation.  Learn more about the Community Foundation at or call 662.449.5002.


About Nasdaq

Nasdaq (Nasdaq:NDAQ) is a leading provider of trading, clearing, exchange technology, listing, information and public company services across six continents. Through its diverse portfolio of solutions, Nasdaq enables customers to plan, optimize and execute their business vision with confidence, using proven technologies that provide transparency and insight for navigating today’s global capital markets. As the creator of the world’s first electronic stock market, its technology powers more than 70 marketplaces in 50 countries, and 1 in 10 of the world’s securities transactions. Nasdaq is home to more than 3,700 listed companies with a market value of approximately $9.3 trillion and nearly 17,000 corporate clients. To learn more, visit: or


About EverFi

EverFi, Inc. is the leading education technology company focused on teaching, assessing, and certifying K-12 and college students in the critical skills they need for life. The company teams with major corporations and foundations to provide the programs at no cost to K-12 schools. Some of America’s leading CEOs and venture capital firms are EverFi investors including Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Twitter founder Evan Williams, and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.  Learn more at