Since 2006, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) and Burton D. Morgan Foundation have partnered to help children across the country develop entrepreneurial and innovation skills. As both of our organizations champion the importance of entrepreneurship and problem solving, our collaboration throughout the years has been profound. Read below to learn more about how this partnership has provided children with the tools and mindset to innovate.
Burton D. Morgan Foundation believes that all students deserve access to innovation programs that will inspire their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. Because of this, they generously provide scholarship funds for underserved children in Akron, Wooster and Mahoning County, Ohio to attend Camp Invention® and Invention Project® at no cost. Additionally, the organization has funded other initiatives, including the 2020 Inventor Logs, an iconic staple for young inventors attending Camp Invention every year, as well as the Design Thinking portfolio used in this year’s Design Thinking Project™ module. The Foundation has also supported the creation of the Innovation Force® avatars — comic book superhero versions of our inspiring NIHF Inductees!
According to Emily Bean, Program Officer at Burton D. Morgan Foundation, creating entrepreneurial learning environments goes far beyond giving students the opportunity to practice business skills. “It’s about equipping students with the skills they need to not only navigate an uncertain future but also figure out how to thrive in ambiguous environments,” Bean said.
In an interview with NIHF, Bean said education programs that promote entrepreneurship are not simply “nice-to-have,” but essential.
“Without the ability to think critically, develop creative solutions to difficult problems, work within a team and communicate solutions, students will be at a disadvantage,” Bean said. “In our eyes, it is as essential as literacy and mathematics, and even helps students master ‘core’ content through hands-on exploration.”
Obtaining program evaluations from professional independent evaluators to measure objectives is a high priority for NIHF. In 2017, with the Foundation’s financial support, NIHF’s Camp Invention program was evaluated in a two-year study conducted by Dr. John Falk, founding Director of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Research Center at Oregon State University. The study sought to determine which Camp Invention variables had a long-term impact on creative problem solving and interest in entrepreneurship.
The data showed that participating in just one week of Camp Invention resulted in statistically significant improvements in creativity, STEM interest and the ability to use and apply problem-solving techniques. For students who attended multiple sessions of Camp Invention over a four-year period, these gains were even more pronounced.
“We learned about the importance of differentiated learning and providing supplemental resources for youth to develop their skills,” Bean said. “Rather than looking at [educational] programs as competing for resources, we instead view them as complementing and reinforcing one another’s work.”
Promoting Role Models
Burton D. Morgan Foundation has been particularly supportive of NIHF’s commitment to developing brand-new curriculum for each year’s Camp Invention program, and using lessons and stories from many of our Inductees to develop all of our education programming. Because these innovators are both subject matter experts and leaders in their respective fields, their integration ensures that our program participants receive an authentic and transformational education.
The Foundation champions diversity in entrepreneurship and the STEM fields and joins NIHF in amplifying the stories of pioneering women scientists. In helping fund the creation of the Innovation Force avatars, they have helped promote many of our diverse Inductees and helped make them both fun and relatable. The generosity of Burton D. Morgan Foundation allows us to continue positioning NIHF Inductees as powerful role models, inspiring the next generation to follow their lead.
A Special Thanks
We would like to sincerely thank Burton D. Morgan Foundation for their ongoing partnership and support of our mission to recognize inventors and invention, promote creativity and advance the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. To learn more about the foundation’s transformative work, we invite you to visit their website.