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STEMS on the VINES Receives Rumphius Foundation Grant
Ohio Ag Connection - 10/28/2022

The Rumphius Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening community, promoting education and protecting the environment, is proud to announce that it has awarded grants to STEMS on the VINES in Kansas City, Focus Learning Academy of Northern Columbus and Girl + Environment in Georgia. These three non-profits are dedicated to creative projects that invest in our next generation.

"Our 2022 grant recipients stand out for their efforts to provide developmental needs for a diverse group of students and young women," said Rumphius Foundation Director Candace Schuller. "From empowering students to become scientists, to enabling young women of color to uncover confidence and opportunity in nature, to creating a place for refugee children to play, all of their projects are providing our youth with tools and experiences to help them grow into successful humans."

The Rumphius grant awarded to The Focus Learning Academy of Northern Columbus (FLANC) provided funds for a play area for their kindergarten through second grade students, who are mostly Somali-American refugees. FLANC is a BIPOC-led public community charter school that serves approximately 700 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Most of their refugee students have never been in a school environment before starting at FLANC. The staff works hard to help the students make tremendous academic progress from one year to the next. They are also dedicated to supporting their social-emotional growth and well-being by seeking outlets for exercise and play. However, as the school did not have a playground, the only space for the children to play was on a small blacktop area. The Rumphius Foundation's grant funded an obstacle course and mats for tumbling. The new fitness course facilitates the development of balance and gross motor skills; as well as provides a variety of challenges for students to learn how to handle stress in productive ways.

"As we close out our ninth year, I am in awe and inspired," said Candace. "When my husband Mike had the idea of founding a non-profit organization to leave his mark on this world by making the world a little more beautiful, we never imagined the impact we would have. I am so proud of the connections we have made and financial support we have provided to so many deserving non-profits. I look forward to our tenth year and helping many more projects and communities as we grow."

To commemorate The Rumphius Foundation's 10th anniversary in 2023, the foundation will be revisiting grant recipients from the beginning of their journey as a non-profit. Instead of seeking new applicants, past grant recipients will be celebrated. Founder Mike Schuller gave "Kudos" granola bars to his team members that successfully completed projects. The foundation will carry on that legacy with "kudos grants" to deserving past Rumphius Foundation grant recipients in 2023 to further their impact.

Established in 2013 by the late Michael C. Schuller, The Rumphius Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing support to communities and educators to strengthen the future of our youth and the environment. Named after the children's book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, in which the central character seeks to make the world a little more beautiful, the women-led foundation provides grants to non-profit projects that promote community, education and sustainability. Through these projects, the foundation strives to remind the next generation to leave the world more beautiful than they found it.

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