Robotics Education & Competition Foundation


“I can tell you the kids coming out of here are kids that can work at Google. They know how to work as a team. They know how to program and they know how to deal with failure.”

Shivakumar Venkartaraman, VP of Engineering, Google

Program Type

Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School

Target Audience

All Students


Black/African American


Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

American Indian/Alaskan Native

Low Socio-Economic Status




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

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation's mission is to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, affordable and sustainable robotics engineering programs.


Program Overview

The REC Foundation serves over 20,000 student-led teams from elementary school through college to engage them in educational robotics opportunities throughout the U.S. and across 50 countries.

The REC Foundation works in close partnership with VEX Robotics, Inc., creator of the robotics kits and educational tools used by students, educators and mentors. Each year, the two organizations unveil new engineering game challenges for the VEX IQ Challenge and the VEX Robotics Competition. Students, led by their teachers and mentors, form teams and design, build, and program a robot for competition. The REC Foundation supports the success of students and their teams with a vibrant competition experience that challenges their creativity, encourages teamwork and communication, and values hands-on engineering and programming experience. Creating a workforce prepared to solve our future problems depends on our ability to harness students’ natural curiosity, engage them in meaningful learning opportunities to incite passion and expand their interest in a variety of subjects. The VEX Competition experience provides just that type of environment, ensuring we have lifelong learners, excited to contribute to their future and ours.

Funders and Partners

Sponsors include the Northrop Grumman Foundation, Autodesk, DELL, Google, NASA, and Texas Instruments. Partners include BEST, PLTW, NSBE, ITEEA, and Great Minds in STEM.


Brad Lauer

Director of Global Development & Technology


Brent Gray

Corporate Program Manager


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.