T.D. Jakes Foundation Weekly Updates – May 10, 2021

May 10, 2021

We want to serve as a resource.  To keep you abreast of critical issues dominating the national discourse—including diversity, equity and inclusion; the digital divide; STEAM education; entrepreneurship and small business—we’re compiling timely news and information in one place because the first step to fixing a problem is understanding it.

T.D. Jakes Foundation in Action

Did you participate in this year’s International Leadership Summit (ILS) Virtual Experience? If so, don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year, when ILS will return in person at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 31-April 2, 2022! Click here to register early!

This year, the T.D. Jakes Foundation was proud to sponsor the Texas Women’s Foundation Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration, which honored female leaders and trailblazers making a difference in their communities through the Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards. Check out the recap of the event in case you missed it!

Today, in the United States, there are approximately 2.6 million Black-owned businesses—a number has risen by more than 30 percent in the past decade. Click here to visit the T.D. Jakes Foundation’s helpful resource guide to learn how to support Black-owned businesses.

STEAM Updates

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $17.3 million for college internships, research opportunities, and research projects that connect talented science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and faculty with the world-class resources at DOE’s National Laboratories. Awardees represent academic institutions from across America—including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Find out more about here.

The school year is coming to an end, but the fun of discovery doesn’t have to stop when the final bell rings and summer begins. NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) is dedicated to inspiring the next generation to explore STEM fields, opportunities and careers. OSTEM provides schools, teachers and parents with resources to inspire the students in their lives, prioritizing serving students through out-of-school enrichment activities. Click here to learn more.

Believe it or not, before babies can say STEM, they’re observing, making inferences, learning cause and effect, solving simple problems and even reasoning about the probability of events. Children learn through play and while it may look like “all fun and games,” the learning opportunities that exist in games can be invaluable. Click here for a list of games that have been carefully selected based on their ability to foster early STEM skills as well as communication, language and vocabulary.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The United States Mint (Mint) has announced the names of the first two women to be honored on coins issued under the American Women Quarters Program. Famed writer Maya Angelou and trailblazing astronaut Dr. Sally Ride will be the first distinguished American women celebrated on the reverse of the program’s circulating quarters. Learn more here.

In a column for Forbes, Patricia Lenkov writes that no matter the implicit bias training and commitment to recruit more diverse employees, to be fully effective and authentic, diversity must begin at the top. Diversity cannot be some extraneous initiative, it must be embedded into the existing fabric, values and culture of the organization. And the best and perhaps only place to initiate this is at the apex of the organization, the board of directors.

DiversityInc announced the nation’s top companies that hire, retain, and promote women, minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and veterans at their 20th annual event held virtually last week. Launched in 2001, the survey is the most comprehensive, data-driven, D&I analysis of some of the largest U.S. employers. The assessment collects data across six key areas: leadership accountability, human capital diversity metrics, talent programs, workforce practices, supplier diversity, and philanthropy. Check out this year’s list here.

Education Updates

In West Dallas, a new Pre-K-8 STEM school is set to open this August beginning with students in the 7th and 8th grades.  The West Dallas STEM School, a Dallas Independent School District Transformation and Innovation School, is the result of more than three years of collaboration between the District, the Toyota USA Foundation, SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the West Dallas community. Find out more here.

A Reuters survey earlier this year of U.S. school districts serving more than 2.2 million students found that a majority reported multiple indicators of increased mental-health stresses among students. Those concerns have led to a flood of new funding and initiatives aimed at helping schools navigate the pandemic’s aftermath. Read more here.

Up, Up and Away

SpaceX launched and successfully landed its futuristic Starship last week, finally nailing a test flight of the rocket that Elon Musk intends to use to land astronauts on the moon and send people to Mars. Learn more about this incredible milestone.


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