Giving to FIRST: Meet Kate and Sravan!

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, FIRST® relies on the generosity of donors like you to continue its mission of inspiring young people to become innovators and problem-solvers. Donating to FIRST will help students access resources, mentorship, and opportunities to learn and build esteem with STEAM skills. Hear more from two FIRST employees who give monthly to the FIRST mission.


Kate Sample

Education Specialist at FIRST, alum & volunteer


How long have you been involved with FIRST?

FIRST® Robotics Competition 1108 “Panther Robotics” started in my hometown in 2003. I have been around the program as a student, volunteer, mentor, coach, and staffer for close to 20 years!  


Why do you choose to give monthly to the FIRST mission?

The FIRST program changed my life. Being a student in the program, I gained so many skills both technical and holistic, and had the opportunity to be exposed to so many career paths. It is what led me to pursue a degree in education (after all the hours engaging with students and their families in the community – sharing about the amazing program and how STEM can be so impactful). Being a mentor and volunteer has allowed me to see the extreme dedication that so many individuals put into ensuring our students have such a phenomenal experience. 


What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropy?

When I donate, even a small amount each month, I know that I am helping to contribute to a great cause and that this money is ultimately providing students just like me with their own life-changing experience.   


What do you wish everyone knew about the FIRST mission?

FIRST is not like other nonprofits. The mission that we are setting out to accomplish is lofty. I am just one of thousands of alumni that look back on their experience and smile with fond memories. This program is having a positive impact, and it is seen every time you talk to someone who has been involved for even just a day: any student, parent, teacher, or event volunteer.    


Anything else you’d like to share?

Individual giving is like a rain drop in a bucket. If everyone who has ever been impacted by FIRST gives just a small amount each month or even once a year, we could easily exceed our goal.  




Sravan Suryadevara

Senior Applications Software Developer at FIRST, alum, coach & volunteer



How long have you been involved with FIRST?

I've been involved with FIRST for 17 years. The first FIRST Robotics Competition event I attended as a student was during the 2006 Ramp Riot season.

Why do you choose to give monthly to the FIRST  mission?

FIRST provides the necessary skills to young people for them to grow to be leaders. Knowing calculus, being well-read, or memorizing lessons is not enough to face challenges of our current and future world. The mission of FIRST is to ensure that young people are educated and qualified while also gaining critical skills for them to solve our world's problems. 

What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropy? 

Help FIRST to sustain existing programs and to reach every corner of the world. 

What do you wish everyone knew about the FIRST mission?

FIRST is not just about STEM nor is it just an educational organization, it is so much more. It can alter a young person's trajectory and bring hope to an entire community. The many great things alumni of FIRST will achieve are not because FIRST made them amazing people, but because FIRST provided them the opportunity to recognize that potential. All the while instilling in them important Core Values that will help build a just, peaceful, and equitable world. 

Anything else you’d like to share?

If you have not interacted or seen a FIRST program, you will immediately begin to understand once you have. If you cannot contribute financially, consider giving back through volunteerism or mentorship. Young people often just want to belong somewhere. With your time, your most valuable resource, and through FIRST, you can provide that for them while preparing them for our world's challenges.