The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), a 25,000-member professional association dedicated to K-12 computer science education worldwide, will receive $2 million in funding over the next three years from Microsoft Philanthropies, the tech company announced Monday.
The investment will act as “seed money” for the 14-year-old association, said Jane Broom, Microsoft’s senior director of philanthropies in Washington state. CSTA has subsisted on corporate donations and volunteer efforts to build out its regional chapters, Broom said, but in order to empower computer science educators in the same way that other associations support teachers in other subjects — such as K-12 social studies and English/language arts — foundational funding is necessary.
“It’s an effort to help them really build out the foundation they need, whether that’s hiring new staff, building a more robust infrastructure in communications or membership databases, bolstering their events,” Broom said. “It’s really more of a trusted partnership with CSTA, and we’ll work with them over the three years as to how those dollars get used.”
The investment will likely lead to a Microsoft representative sitting on the board of directors for CSTA, which welcomes all computer science stakeholders, not just teachers, in its membership ranks. Broom compared the partnership to Microsoft’s previous and ongoing support of the nonprofit Code.org, in terms of offering leadership and counsel when requested.
Microsoft officials said they’ll continue to encourage other companies to support the association as they have in the past, and that they don’t have a concrete timeline for the money distribution over the three-year period.
“We hope that some of the dollars we’re putting into the central organization will find their way to support some of those local chapters so they can do more programming at the local level,” Broom said.