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OtterBox protects what matters most — future generations — through the OtterCares Foundation. Using innovative education, OtterCares inspires youth entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Because one inspired kid really can change the world!

Congratulations to our 2018 Impact and Inspiration Grant Recipients!

By Jessica Dieken

In order to create change in the world, you need a little help. We know that in order to inspire students to become entrepreneurs and philanthropists, we can’t do it alone! That is why we’re proud to partner with schools and organizations that share our vision of inspiring young people to be makers, doers and givers who will really change our world in incredible ways!

One way we forge strong partnerships is through our grants programs. Our Impact and Inspiration Funds were created to support projects and programs that advance philanthropic and/or entrepreneurial education for K-12 students in Northern Colorado and San Diego.

The schools and organizations that the Grant Review Committee selects to receive funds are intentionally creating environments and learning opportunities that help foster and nurture an entrepreneurial mindset and encourage students to pursue their philanthropic passions to be change-makers. Through a competitive review process, our Grant Review Committee meticulously reviews each grant application, looking for commonalities in vision and mission, a strong and clear vision of what the program or project will look like and a clearly defined plan of implementation and impact. It takes time, but so does creating change!

Since 2013, we have been proud to create new relationships and deepen existing partnerships with schools and organizations that are inspiring students to be entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Please help us congratulate our 2018 Impact and Inspiration Fund grant recipients!

  • Junior Achievement Colorado and their “JA Entrepreneurial Impact” programs. These programs for middle and high school students will help spark students’ interest in entrepreneurship and the possibilities that come with being your own boss.\


  • Ferguson High School in Loveland, Colo., and their business program. This program creates a new business pathway to compliment the school’s existing student-ran business, a small coffee shop located in the high school. Their new business pathway will focus on designing, making and selling school spirit gear.


  • Colorado Early Colleges in Fort Collins, Colo., and their plastics recycling business program. This student-led business includes building the machinery required to recycle plastics, the development and implementation of a sustainable business plan, the innovation of products to market and sell with recycled plastic material and identify opportunities to give back with some of proceeds of their business.


  • Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colo., and their robotics program. The robotics program at Ridgeview Classical provides an environment for students to develop entrepreneurial skill sets such as problem solving, collaboration, perseverance and innovation. Additionally, the robotics program asks students who participate in the program to give back through service projects and mentoring.


  • Fred Tjardes School of Innovation in Greeley, Colo., and their online store program. This program focused on the development of a student-led online store. Their 4th-8th grade students would create and refine products to be sold online or at local markets. Students will learn the basics of business through hands-on experiences with marketing, branding, pricing, manufacturing, and customer service. After establishing the initial online store, they will be responsible for responding to customer feedback, managing supply and demand, and adjusting products and pricing to maximize sales and satisfaction.


  • Kids at Heart in Fort Collins, Colo., and their After School Teens Program. This program is designed for foster and adoptive teens ages 14-17 to teach them how to persevere and take risks through different activities, characteristics fundamental in entrepreneurship. Students will also work towards philanthropic goals together in each session. Through research and developing a plan, students will address a goal (need or cause) in their community. According to Kids at Heart, “We have integrated philanthropy and entrepreneurship together in this program plan, because they are not separate goals for us, but rather intrinsically designed to work together. In order to achieve a philanthropic goal, one has to be bold and take risks in the same way an entrepreneur would.”


  • Albatross XE at Loveland High School in Loveland, Colo. This program is entirely student-driven. From the grant application to the development of the program, 9th-12th grade students have taken the lead on all aspects of the Albatross XE program under the guidance and supervision of their teacher. Students are creating a long-distance remote controlled aircraft and drone system that can be used for emergency response delivery needs. The development of this system teaches students not only the design and innovation process but also fundamental business skills needed to create a start-up company such as market/competitive analysis of similar products. marketing, sales and budgeting.


  • Resource Area For Teachers (RAFT) and their RAFT-on-Wheels Professional Learning program. RAFT provides resources and training for teachers interested in learning how to apply STEM and innovation in their classrooms. With the RAFT warehouse located in Denver, not every teacher in Northern Colorado has the opportunity to travel to their site to purchase kits or receiving training. Their RAFT-on-Wheels program brings the resources and learning to them! Providing teachers with these resources to facilitate hands-on learning in their classroom creates an environment where entrepreneurial mindset and skills are developed.


  • Junior Achievement San Diego in San Diego, Calif., and their JA Company Program. The JA Company Program teaches students how to launch a business venture from the ground up. It allows students to start and manage their own business with the help of community volunteers. Students not only learn and experience how business functions but also about financial responsibility, work readiness skills and the real meaning of entrepreneurship. Students participate in the Entrepreneurs Showcase and Competition held as the culminating portion of the program. During the Showcase, students present their business plans, pitch their products/services and compete to be named “Student Company of the Year.”


  • Young Americans Center for Financial Education in Colorado and their AmeriTowne On the Road program. This programs provides 5th grade students in Northern Colorado with the opportunity to learn how to spend, save, share and invest wisely. AmeriTowne On the Road provides students with real, hands-on lessons in free enterprise where they learn how to manage money, business, economics, civics and philanthropy. Students learn about philanthropy as they experience the roles of business, government and charities in a thriving community. Foundational understanding of entrepreneurship is taught through teaching students how people produce, distribute and consume goods and services as well as gain foundational understanding of economics and investments.


  • National Inventors Hall of Fame and their Camp Invention program in Northern Colorado. Camp Invention is a week-long summer program with curricula specifically designed around hands-on approaches to learning, emphasizing scientific inquiry, engineering design, creative problem solving, cooperation, and collaboration through STEM content. Camp Invention incorporates history, arts, and entrepreneurship along with collaboration and teamwork – learning skills essential to success in the global workforce of the 21st century. From designing a start-up and exploring the art of prototyping to protecting the intellectual property of their ideas, pitching the idea to investors, and marketing the product and/or service, students at Camp Invention experience what it really means to be an entrepreneur. Our support will provide 100 students in Northern Colorado to attend this year’s Camp!


  • Loveland Youth Gardeners in Loveland, Colo., and their Youth Education Programs. Loveland Youth Gardeners provides three programs for at-risk/special needs students that are focused on education, job/life skills, environmental and service. Students participate in graduated programs that focus on developing entrepreneurial skills while fostering a giving spirit. Students start the program by growing produce for themselves and for donation to the local food bank. They then move on to learn how grow food to sell to local restaurants and donating produce to families in need. Students that complete both levels can apply to participate in the third level of the program where they develop and run a business.


  • Larimer County Foundation in Fort Collins, Colo., and their Young Entrepreneur Tournament. The Young Entrepreneur Tournament (YET) engages and prepares youth 18 years and younger in the principles of small business ownership. The program designed to teach youth the fundamental principles of entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Students learn how to set goals, find their unique passion and how they can impact the world around them. Students participate in activities that teach idea generation, problem-solving, and finding your fit. Participants will learn how to assess the marketplace, how to identify your customers and knowing their needs/expectations. Students also learn how to find additional funding for their business and are taught the art of storytelling and how to pitch their ideas to others.


  • Habitat for Humanity in Berthoud, Colo., and their partnership with Thompson School District’s Geometry in Construction Programs. Our funding provides material support for students enrolled in the Geometry in Construction programs at Loveland High School and Thompson Valley High School. These students learn how to apply math in a real-world application by building a home for Berthoud Habitat for Humanity. Students complete all aspects of building the home including framing, plumbing, electrical, roofing, drywall, finish trim, etc. During the 9 months that they are building the home, the geometry students are applying their geometry daily and are involved with service learning by giving of their time to Habitat for Humanity. Geometry in Construction started at Loveland High School and has now expanded to nearly 500 schools across the United States.


  • Global Leaders in Fort Collins, Colo., and their Work & Earn program. Global Leaders develops and trains young people to become leaders in their communities through conceptualizing, planning and implementing positive and systemic change through service, both locally and globally. Through the Work & Earn program, students in need of financial assistance participate in a “work-study” model by interning in the Global Leaders office. Students in the Work & Earn program learn how to develop service learning programs, grant writing, website design, social media outreach, fundraising and public speaking.


  • Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., and their College of Business Global Academy program. This two-week immersive experience for students aged 15-18 teaches students about entrepreneurship and how business can create a better world. Students learn about entrepreneurship, international business, sustainability, financial literacy, ethical decision making, and leadership.


  • Coal Ridge Middle School in Firestone, Colo., and their RaDLab. The Coal Ridge Middle School RaD Lab fuses student growth with teacher growth. This is a space where innovation, design thinking, inventing and problem solving happen in a fun and hands-on environment. The RaDLab will allow students to look at issues that are facing their community and larger world and will promote student problem solving by designing solutions and implementing these solutions. The RaD Lab will align with our goal of teachers creating learning opportunities for students that have either external significance (real-world implications) or internal significance (student aspirations).


Do you have a project idea that fosters an entrepreneurial mindset OR teaches students how to give back and make a difference? We want to help! Visit our grants page to learn more about our grant application process and requirements. Want to talk about your idea first? We LOVE brainstorming! Contact us and we’ll connect with you!