PROMISE Endowment Campaign

The Campaign for Access, Success and Diversity in STEM Education

Talent is everywhere. Opportunity is not. The key to accelerating discoveries in science and technology will be dependent on our ability to bring fresh perspectives to STEM fields. However, unnecessary barriers often limit who pursues, persists, and succeeds in STEM. A new endowment for the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) will scale the proven impact of the PROMISE Program and access to world-class STEM education for culturally, linguistically and economically diverse (CLED) students.

Our Academy for talented 10th-12th grades is backed largely by the State of Illinois; however, IMSA’s PROMISE Program is a STEM pipeline program for 5th-9th grades and unfunded by state appropriations. This, in addition to low or no cost access for qualifying individuals from underrepresented populations, means the program has relied on annual, philanthropic gifts from generous individuals and organizations for the past 27 years.

The PROMISE Endowment is critical to our path forward. It is particularly powerful because an endowment delivers a dependable, perpetual source of funding essential to sustaining and growing the PROMISE Program. An endowment gift designated for this purpose can perpetuate a donor’s values in the wake of social change; provide assurance that the PROMISE Program will survive allowing all students the opportunity to engage in rewarding and remunerative STEM careers; and honor those who have faced systemic injustice for generations, and who continue to face bias and discrimination in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Your help is truly needed. Please take a moment to review the milestones, successes and impact of the PROMISE Program. Our initial goal is to raise $5 million by 2025 to establish The PROMISE Endowment Fund. We hope you’ll join us in the change needed to broaden access, success, and diversity in STEM education. Together, we can make a lasting impact for generations to come.

History of PROMISE

PROMISE Program Awards

2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award

INSIGHT Into Diversity created the Inspiring Programs in STEM Award to recognize colleges, universities, and organizations for programs that are improving access to STEM fields for students from underrepresented groups.

Finalist in 2019 NCSSS Innovation Award for Student Programs

The National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) Innovation Awards Program recognizes the nation’s most innovative programs, teachers and partnerships.

What is the PROMISE Program?

PROMISE (Providing Opportunities for Math and Science Enrichment) is a proven model of success for realizing the vision of a highly diverse and creative STEM workforce. PROMISE is a STEM pipeline program aimed at gifted 5th through 9th grade culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse (CLED) students through year-round mathematics and science enrichment programming at low or no cost.

Its many offerings include residential summer camps, test preparation and tutoring assistance, and a plethora of hands-on learning experiences meant to spark curiosity and passion for STEM education. IMSA students who have previously participated in PROMISE often serve as mentors, tutors, and role models for students currently in the program. Programs include:

  • Leading Students 2 Success (LS2S): LS2S is a cross-age learning program for 7th-8th grades designed to expose students to STEM experiences and introduce them to inquiry and problem-based learning.
  • Summer Enrichment for Academics in Mathematics and Science (SEAMS): SEAMS serves students in the summer after their 8th grade year. This two-week residential experience is designed to improve math, science and English skills. It also prepares students interested in attending IMSA for the application process.
  • Early Involvement Program (EIP) – EIP serves students during the Fall semester of their 9th grade year. The program is designed to help students improve math, science and English skills. It also prepares students interested in attending IMSA for the application process.
  • PROMISE and Excel Extension Program (PEEP): PEEP is a support program for IMSA students who were PROMISE and/or EXCEL participants. The support comes in the form of academic (tutoring) and mentoring.

Jessica Forbes '18Jessica Forbes ‘18

Jessica Forbes ‘18 attended PROMISE Programs in 2014. She is currently a student at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). She is majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Business.

“I learned how to work well with others from different backgrounds. It was an effective learning experience to be around people with different thoughts, ideas, behaviors and personality. Each person is unique and we all respected one another and we all learned from each other along the way. IMSA is known for its diversity and so is PROMISE. I have learned to work with people of different socioeconomic, ethic, and cultural backgrounds. IMSA is a reflection of the real world where people are different but they need to co-exist and work for the common good.”