Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education

We place an emphasis on programs and initiatives that improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to help students acquire the skills necessary for success in a global, knowledge-based economy and society. The programs we support are designed or selected for their ability to increase student interest, improve teacher quality and confidence, and ultimately improve student achievement and outcomes in STEM disciplines, with the ultimate goals of inspiring them to pursue post-secondary degrees or career and technical certifications – and ultimately careers – in mining and other STEM related industries.

Annually, we invest approximately $1.5 to $2 million in STEM education at the K-12 level (primarily in AZ, CO, NM and TX where our largest U.S. operations are primarily located). 

Some of our major efforts include:

STEM Innovation Grants are designed to support K-12 teachers and schools in their efforts to develop, improve or expand innovative instructional programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Since the program's inception in 2008, more than $680,000 has been invested in STEM projects benefitting K-12 schools in Freeport-McMoRan communities. Grants up to $5,000 are awarded to support projects in the eligible project categories. A school is eligible to receive up to two (2) STEM Innovation grants during each application period. Each applicant / teacher / classroom may receive one grant award per school year.

Who Can Apply – Applicants may be teachers, school administrators or parent volunteers/PTA officials at public and private schools located in or near communities where Freeport-McMoRan has a presence. K-12 schools are the only organizations eligible for this support. If you are interested in learning more about STEM Innovation grants that have been funded, click here to view previously funded STEM projects in schools.

Application Window: December 1 – March 15
Awards Announced:
May 1

CLICK HERE for a printable version of the application. This can be used as reference when completing the online application. We only accept applications submitted online. 

Discovery Education and Freeport-McMoRan have partnered to create an interactive program for grades 6-8 that uncovers the use of transition metals such as copper, gold and molybdenum in our everyday life, and provides students a deeper understanding of today’s hard rock mining industry. The initiative equips educators, students and families with dynamic resources - including a virtual field trip, interactive digital learning tools, and school-to-home connections with career exploration activities – designed to give students a front row seat to nature’s geological wonders and inspire further exploration of the world around them. For more about the program, please visit the Dig Into Mining website.

A multi-sector effort to prepare, deploy and support 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in the United States over the next 10 years. In 2011, we pledged $1.5 million over the next three years to support STEM teacher development programs in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. To learn more visit the
100Kin10 website. Arizona partners (in 100Kin10) include University of Arizona, ASU, American Modeling Teachers Association, and AZ STEM Network, as well as national organizations providing programing in Arizona such as Teach for America, Intel Math and Change the Equation. To date, we have committed to support the following 100Kin10 partners and their commitments to STEM teacher excellence.

      Teach for America Math & Science Education Initiative – To increase the number of STEM corps members in Arizona, and improve preparation and support to enhance the effectiveness of Teach for America STEM teachers.

      Arizona Rural Tri-County Education Innovation Initiative (ARTEII) – Math teacher professional development in Graham, Greenlee and Gila counties to Increase the mathematics content knowledge and instructional effectiveness of teachers and increase the capacity for students to be college and career ready in math.

A statewide, collective impact effort designed to connect schools with resources to improve student performance in STEM education and ensure all available resources are being invested in what works or has the greatest potential to work through ongoing engagement, monitoring and measurement, technology and logistical support. Since 2008, Freeport-McMoRan has been the leading financial supporter for the establishment of Science Foundation Arizona’s STEM initiative and the collective work leading to the launch of the new Arizona STEM Network, providing a total of $2.2 million. To learn more about this ambitious effort to improve STEM education across the state in schools and communities, visit the SFAz/STEM Network website.

A statewide resource for families, teachers and students, the Arizona Science Center (ASC) inspires interest and learning in STEM in an engaging, entertaining setting. In 2011, the Center for Teacher Success (now called the Center for Leadership in Learning) merged with ASC to combine their leadership in informal STEM education and teacher professional development to create a dynamic organization supporting STEM efforts in both the formal and informal arenas. Freeport-McMoRan’s support is directed to expand services provided by The Center for Leadership in Learning (CLL) for teachers, educational leaders, and parents/community members; continued development of the Teacher Network to include a distance learning component; development of a business plan outlining the long-term growth of CLL; and a redesign/update of the Freeport sponsored “
Arizona Rocks” outreach program to include mining kits for K-12 classrooms. To learn more about programs offered, including the Freeport-McMoRan Immersion Theater in the Forces of Nature Gallery, visit the Arizona Science Center (ASC)  website or the Center for Leadership in Learning website.

A nonprofit, nonpartisan, CEO-led initiative that is mobilizing the business community to improve the quality of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the United States. Since its launch in September 2010,
CTEq has helped its more than 100 members connect and align their philanthropic investment and advocacy efforts so that they add up to much more than the sum of their parts. 

Two programs through CTEq are the STEMworks database and iON FUTURE game.

    The STEMworks database is a repository of information on programs that deepen young people's learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The database aims to be a critical resource for funders, program developers and STEM advocates alike. Funders can find programs that maximize the return on their investment; those who develop STEM learning programs can benchmark their work against successful exemplars; and advocates can point to excellent programs as they make the case for quality.

     iON FUTURE is a STEM career exploration game that provides a platform for professionals in STEM careers to help people explore STEM careers and find the careers that best match the interests of the participant.

Freeport-McMoRan supports a range of activities that encourage learning through “trial and error”, hands on exploration and experimentation, as well as efforts that raise awareness about the importance of science and technology to our society and global economies, including the Southern AZ Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the AZ Science and Engineering Fair, the AZ SciTech Festival; and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Minerals Education Coalition.

Professional development for science teachers in Freeport-McMoRan operating communities. For more information, please visit:

With the understanding that different students learn in different ways and through varying media, Freeport-McMoRan has partnered with other organizations that have harnessed their core strengths to join in the effort to create STEM literate students such as the
Phoenix Symphony’s Mind Over Music program which uses music and musical instruments as a medium for teaching/learning STEM concepts.