Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Google, and W. James (Jim) McNerney, Jr., chairman, president and CEO, The Boeing Company, have been elected to the board of directors of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen. FIRST currently serves nearly 300,000 youth worldwide through the commitment of over 100,000 adult Volunteers.
Google has provided funding for FIRST teams and FIRST Mentors since 2006. Google’s support has grown significantly, including funding regional robotics events, and providing a significant $3 million grant to fund the FIRST Green e-watt saver, a program where FIRST students raise funds to help support their teams by selling energy-efficient LED light bulbs.
Boeing has supported FIRST since 2001, including a recent multi-million dollar grant extending over four years. Over the years, Boeing has provided FIRST scholarships, and many employees have volunteered as mentors to guide students through building a robot. This year, Boeing supported nearly 200 teams that participated in robotics competitions across the country. Boeing also sponsored the FIRST Finale at the annual Championship in St. Louis, Mo.
The FIRST Founder’s Award is presented annually for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST; Google received the award in 2012 and Boeing received the award in 2011.
In the 2011/2012 season, FIRST had more than 22,000 robotics teams across the globe.