Giving to FIRST: Meet Mike!

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 Mike Rudder, Sr. Project Engineer (PlantPAx Engineering Team) at Rockwell Automation and FIRST mentor who gives monthly to the FIRST mission.


How long have you been involved with FIRST?

Since 2009 (14 years) 
Why do you choose to participate in your employer’s matching gift program to benefit the FIRST mission?

FIRST gives students the opportunity to learn and grow outside of the classroom. It challenges students and gives them the opportunity to do things they may not have thought possible. 


What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropy?

The youth are our future. Investing in youth is investing in our future. I believe FIRST is changing the world by giving students the tools and experiences they need to work together and do great things. FIRST is making the world a better place. 
What do you wish everyone knew about the FIRST mission?

FIRST is a life changing experience for students as well as coaches, mentors, and volunteers.  FIRST has made me a better person and has made my life better.
Anything else you’d like to share?

Being a FIRST® LEGO League and FIRST® Tech Challenge coach has allowed me to watch students grow from timid sixth graders to confident, responsible adults. Yes, a lot of that is just naturally maturity, but I can see the changes brought on by participating in FIRST. It’s magic!