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$1M in grants promoting women in STEM given to nonprofits

Eight nonprofits in Oregon and Washington received $125,000 each to support programs aimed at promoting women in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new grant will help young girls in Oregon and Washington get hands-on experience in STEM fields. Research shows that men vastly outnumber women in science, technology, engineering and math. 

According to the American Association of University Women, only 28% of people in STEM fields are women. To improve that percentage, work is being done to expose young women and girls to STEM-related activities.

Fifteen-year-old Maliyah Miller has been involved with the EmpowHER program and recently helped design and construct a healing garden for Alberta Abbey in Northeast Portland. That program is a part of ELSO Inc.

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“That [ELSO] stands for experience life science outdoors,” said Paulyna Santos, the storytelling and communications coordinator at ELSO Inc.

The nonprofit is aimed at connecting kids from underrepresented communities to the arts and activities related to STEM.

“We definitely elevate the voices of young girls, young women, non-identifying femme and trans LGBTQ,” Santos said.

ELSO Inc. is one of eight organizations in Oregon and Washington that recently received a grant from the Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation. The awards total a million dollars. Sally Bany is the co-founder of the foundation.

The grants were awarded in honor of Bany's grandmother and Columbia Sportswear co-founder, Marie Lamfrom.

“To celebrate my grandmother’s 125th birtheday, we decided what can we do and we all decided we would grant eight organizations $125,000 each to promote women in STEM,” said Bany.

“It's very encouraging and inspiring to hear that people are giving women more chances to show what we have to offer to the table,” said Maliyah.

While Maliyah is interested in science, she doesn't know exactly what she wants to do with her life just yet. But at 15, that's okay.

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