Medical Affairs, Americas Bolsters Funding for Next Generation of Scientists

Aug 13, 2018 12:45 PM ET

Stellar Girls™, an after-school science program offered to more than 600 girls from 25 Chicago-area schools, was the recipient of an $8,570 check raised from voluntary contributions by employees of Astellas Medical Affairs, Americas (MAA) with a match from the Astellas Matching Gifts program. The donation, earmarked for program supply kits, augments funding provided by the Astellas USA Foundation and the One Astellas Spirit Run fundraiser sponsored by the Womens Employee Resource Group (Stellar Women) during the US National Sales Forum.

“This level of generosity speaks to the giving-back culture embedded at Astellas,” said Shontelle Dodson, senior vice president, MAA. “I can’t think of a better way than to encourage pursuit of STEM education and careers, a path that has been meaningful to everyone in our Medical Affairs organization.”

The fund-raising was part of a long-standing tradition of choosing a beneficiary organization tied to the community in which the annual forum of the MAA organization takes place. In 2018, the location selected was Chicago, home to Astellas Americas headquarters. The beneficiary was Stellar Girls, a program designed by non-profit iBIO Institute’s EDUCATE Center with funding provided by the Astellas USA Foundation. 

The Stellar Girls program includes a 20-week after-school STEM program offering hands-on activities that help girls in grades three through eight explore how science, technology, engineering and mathematics are applied to solve real-world problems. Additionally, Stellar Girls provides STEMgirls Summer Camps in high-needs communities, offering two five-day summer camps for 200 students. Programming consists of interactive activities with STEM professionals and field trips, and a family day on the last day of camp, during which students showcase and celebrate their STEM exploration. Through both the after-school program and summer camps, young girls are empowered to consider careers in STEM to ultimately help close the gender gap in these fields. 

Stellar Girls seeks to diversify the STEM pipeline by focusing recruitment on high-need schools and districts. Since the program’s inception in 2011, over 1,800 girls have participated in the after-school programs. School data shows 68 percent of Stellar Girls after-school program participants are minority and 64 percent are from low-income homes. 

Employees across the Astellas organization have volunteered their time to the after-school and summer camp programs for several years. Hear what they have to say about their experiences, the importance of STEM education and the culture of giving back through volunteerism at Astellas. The 2018 combined donations in support of STEM education from Astellas USA Foundation, from employees and from the Astellas Matching Gifts Program is $115,950. 

As part of the company’s commitment to giving back, Astellas encourages full-time employees to take time to volunteer through the ‘Take A Day’ program, which provides up to five paid days off to volunteer  at charitable organizations that are important to them.

About Corporate Citizenship at Astellas
Living SMART® is the Astellas approach to preparing communities today for what can happen tomorrow. The Living SMART® framework brings together the strength of the charitable Astellas USA Foundation and our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work to find the areas where we can make the most impact to improve lives. Astellas USA Foundation and Astellas CSR collaborate to create a positive impact on society through three overarching focus areas: health and well-being; Science WoRx® (STEM education); and disaster response. To read more about Living SMART, see the Astellas Americas Corporate Social Responsibility Report Card.

Stellar Girls is a trademark of iBIO Institute.