Giving Compass' Take:

• Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is an Indianapolis-based nonprofit that publishes STEM curricula with the support of philanthropic partners.

• PLTW serves five million students across the U.S. How can donors help elevate this STEM project and others like it? What STEM programs are available in your community?

•  Check out the donor guide on how to support STEM education.

Almost half of American public secondary schools use an active project- and problem-based approach to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education that shows learners how knowledge and skills may be applied in everyday life.

The popular curriculum doesn’t come from one of the big publishers. It’s from an Indianapolis nonprofit with a unique name: Project Lead The Way, now widely known simply as PLTW.

What was a high school engineering program has become three PreK-12 pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. Under Bertram’s leadership, PLTW has grown from serving around 300,000 students in 2011 to about five million students–and the organization is growing by over a million students per year with a sustainable business model.

Corporate and philanthropic partners have been important to PLTW success. The Kern Family Foundation began supporting PLTW in 2004 and to date has invested almost $34 million.

PLTW has become America’s number one provider of professional development of STEM teachers, training roughly 12,000 teachers annually through its core training programs. Increasingly, major corporations such as Toyota, Chevron, John Deere, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, and many others are partnering with PLTW to address their future STEM workforce needs.

Read the full article about a nonprofit that transformed American STEM education by Tom Vander Ark at Getting Smart.