Lyda Hill Philanthropies, the charitable giving organization of founder Lyda Hill, announced it is committing $25 million to support women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the new initiative IF/THEN. The announcement was made at the American Museum of Natural History in New York earlier this week where more than 200 thought leaders attended.
The IF/THEN coalition unites preeminent science institutions with some of the largest popular culture brands with a shared goal of inspiring girls to consider STEM careers. This will be done by funding and elevating women in STEM as role models.
“Our organization has always believed science is the answer to many of life’s problems. And, now more than ever, it’s important to showcase the women in STEM who are helping make our world a better place,” said Lyda Hill, the founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and Giving Pledge member. “IF/THEN’s mission is to empower leading women STEM innovators to inspire the next generation of pioneers so that we can all build a better future.”
Lyda Hill is an investor and philanthropist. Hill is a granddaughter of oil magnate H.L. Hunt. Hill was one of the first women in the Young Presidents’ Organization and she also served as a charitable volunteer and a venture capital investor.
Women currently constitute about half of the college-educated workforce in the U.S., but just a quarter of STEM professionals are female. The lack of funding and visibility has caused female STEM professionals to receive much less credit for their work. And the gender gap has impacted perceptions of women in STEM and trickles down to younger generations.
“Together with our coalition members, we believe that having diverse opinions around the table is key to building a more innovative future, and we want to truly shift our culture to encourage future generations of world-changers,” added Lyda Hill Philanthropies president and IF/THEN co-founder Nicole Small.
Some of IF/THEN’s coalition members include The Ad Council, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geosciences Institute, Association of Science-Technology Centers, Conservation International, Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media, Girl Scouts of the USA, GoldieBlox, The Hockaday School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Magical Elves, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, National Geographic, National Girls Collaborative Project, The Nature Conservancy, Nepris, NRF Foundation, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, The Science & Entertainment Exchange, SheIS, Steadman Philippon Research Institute, Teach For America, U.S. Soccer, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund.