1,000 Dreams Fund Announces New 5-Year Grant Program for Women in S.T.E.A.M. on Day of the Girl

I’m always excited about 1,000 Dreams Fund, especially when I read the stories of the inspiring young women we have funded so far. But here’s the truth: There’s no way I could be more thrilled than I am right now to announce the formation of a new and very special program: the “Paliwal Club of 100”! Over the next five years, starting in 2019, 100 young women across the country, all of whom are budding leaders in the arts and sciences or “S.T.E.A.M.” fields — science, tech, engineering, arts and math — will receive $1,000 micro-grants to put toward their futures.

So how did this all come together? Well, we’ve spent the past two years collaborating with global tech company HARMAN on new ways to advance girls in tech through our viral New Face of Tech Scholarship Program. More than $16,000 has been granted to young women in tech through our partnership. That work struck a major chord with the company’s CEO, Dinesh Paliwal, and his wife, Ila, who together created the Paliwal Foundation. And they made the decision to raise the stakes in an incredible way with the announcement of a personal commitment to advance women in an even bigger way.

Dinesh and Ila both couldn’t have said it better: “An absence of gender diversity in technical and creative fields is unacceptable, and it’s time leaders and companies take meaningful action to drive change for future generations,” they said, as we developed the Paliwal Club of 100. “Through our work with 1,000 Dreams Fund, we will create pathways to encourage and support the education, research, and career aspirations of high-potential female students that may otherwise not have the means to pursue their talents.”

The entire 1,000 Dreams Fund team was floored by the Paliwals’ announcement, and we’re more than confident about the potential for meaningful results. Right now, the stats aren’t great: Would you believe that women account for just 22 percent of the STEM workforce — and even after entering the field, they’re only granted 16 percent of patents? And in the creative world, an abysmal 5 percent of all artwork featured in major U.S. museums is made by women. I often hear from young women who have huge career aspirations but no financial support to truly pursue those goals to the fullest. That’s about to change.

When the application goes live this November, we’ll be looking for college and graduate female students in tech, whether the arts or sciences, whose careers are starting to take some real shape. We want to add fuel to your fire! Our intended Paliwal Club of 100 grantees are setting the standard in their respective fields and will be able to put their micro-grants towards life-changing opportunities like conference travel, tech devices, music and art equipment, ground-breaking projects — you name it.

When you advance women in the arts and sciences, you advance society. Let’s do this.

Christie Garton | Founder, 1000 Dreams Fund