Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT)


“RAFT has so much to offer!  As a teacher I am constantly looking for new ideas to help my students interact with the concepts we’re learning.  Science is very hands-on, but often times the equipment needed to be hands-on can be challenging to find on a budget.  RAFT always has materials that work perfectly for whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish.”

-- Kristen Johnson, Teacher

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Teacher Development/Training
Hands on/Project-Based

Target Audience

All Students


San Jose


Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8
Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Since opening in 2009, RAFT Colorado has grown to nearly 3,000 teacher members, with over 200,000 students in formal and informal educational settings across 28 counties receiving the benefit of RAFT’s hands-on STEM activities.  

Teachers participating in our professional development opportunities leave RAFT with significant increases in comfort and readiness to teach STEM content, as well as to incorporate grade-level academic content standards.   


Program Overview

RAFT provides educators—and through them, students—with challenging, affordable, and fun STEM hands-on activities.

RAFT collaborates with Colorado businesses, community members, and educators to provide resources, leadership, and support for inspiring the next generation of thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers, and creators. RAFT provides:

Innovative Materials.  Local corporations donate a variety of items to RAFT, then RAFT’s talented education team works with teachers to develop engaging ways to use the donated materials to teach STEM concepts to students of all ages.  These content-rich projects allow teachers to provide quality hands-on STEM opportunities for students on any budget.

Quality Educational Content.   RAFT has over 500 STEM idea sheets and over 50 STEM activity kits available at our resource center, and are continually creating more.  These projects are aligned to the Colorado Academic Standards and provide a list of materials, a step-by-step breakdown of the activity, the relevant content, and links for further study. 

Inspirational Learning Experiences.  RAFT’s formal and informal professional development programs challenge teachers at all grade levels to think outside the box to create a more effective, learner-focused classroom. 

How To Get Involved

RAFT’s business model offers unique opportunities for corporate involvement.  Since RAFT Colorado’s inception, businesses have donated tons (literally!) of materials such as, manufacturing surplus, medical and lab equipment, hardware supplies, office supplies, fabric, containers, and art supplies.  They’ve also logged thousands of volunteer hours to innovatively transform and adapt everyday materials into educational STEM activities that help kids learn STEM concepts and acquire 21st century skills. 

Corporate supporters also have the opportunity to donate $1,000 to serve a minimum of 1,000 students with 100 activity kits, each with 10 separate activities. Sponsored kits include an “Assembled with love by [insert company name or logo]” label. 

Funders and Partners

Our major 2015 funding partners are The Morgridge Family Foundation, The Anschutz Foundation, The Reiman Foundation, and the Rose Community Foundation.

Thanks to strategic program partnerships with STEM organizations, qualified staff members and volunteers, and its affiliation with RAFT San Jose, RAFT Colorado’s STEM programs have been supporting thousands of teachers in both formal and informal educational settings with affordable resources that enable them to effectively teach STEM using hands-on projects.


Stephanie Welsh, Executive Director

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.