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FIRST John Deere Team Grants - FIRST Robotic Competition (FRC)

Grants to USA Nonprofit Youth Organizations in
Multiple States to Participate in a Robotics Competition

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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FIRST, John Deere Inspire

Deadline Date:



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Grants to USA nonprofit youth organizations serving youth between the ages of 14 to 18 in multiple states to compete in a robotics competition. Funding is intended to help teams of participants design, build, and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. The grant covers costs normally paid to FIRST by teams, such as for registration, robot kits or parts, and field setup kits. Applicants are encouraged to support diversity within their team.

Teams must be located within a 40-mile (65-kilometer) driving distance from the nearest John Deere Facility (excludes John Deere Dealers) or have a John Deere employee committed to actively supporting their team for the 2020 - 2021 season in person or in light of COVID-19, virtually regardless of location.  In the U.S, this includes the John Deere Inspire home communities listed below:

  • California - Torrance (Must have John Deere confirmed mentor to apply)
  • Georgia - Augusta   
  • Illinois - Champaign & Quad Cities
  • Iowa - Des Moines, Dubuque, Paton, Ottumwa, Quad Cities, & Waterloo
  • Kansas - Coffeyville  
  • Louisiana - Thibodaux 
  • Missouri - Springfield
  • North Carolina - Raleigh-Durham  
  • North Dakota - Fargo & Valley City
  • Tennessee - Greeneville 
  • Wisconsin - Horicon

FIRST Robotics Competition gives high school students and their adult mentors the opportunity to work and create together to solve a common problem. Teams of students are challenged to design, build, and program robots and compete for awards, while they also create a team identity, raise funds, hone teamwork skills, and advance respect and appreciation for STEM within the local community.

Key criteria used for selecting and prioritizing grant requests:

  • John Deere Mentor or Coach supporting the team or requested (John Deere dealership employees are not eligible at this time) 
  • Students from economically disadvantaged schools or non-profits
  • Level of diversity - students from historically underrepresented and underserved communities in STEM including girls, young women, LBGTQ+, American Indian, Indigenous, Hispanic, Latinx, Black and African American students, and those with disabilities
  • Need or criticality of team grant
  • Supporting first-time FIRST participants
  • Returning teams that support community outreach including partnering with John Deere

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160576

Estimated Size of Grant:

For approved grants, funding levels will vary for new and returning teams based on team financial need and if the team has diversity ( females and/or people of color) participation.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Teams must be associated with a school (public or private) or 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (4-H, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc.) in order to be eligible.

Accepted FRC Teams:
- Each team must have at least one John Deere employee committed to actively supporting the team as a mentor in person for a minimum of 40 hours or more during the season. The best opportunity to receive a grant from John Deere is to a confirm a John Deere employee mentor before applying for grant. Otherwise, you can apply and John Deere will try to line up a mentor.
- As part of the approval process, a team requesting a grant from John Deere for the first time must give a brief presentation to the John Deere Inspire team in their community.
- Rookie teams must have a minimum of 10 members and returning teams must have a minimum of 15 members who will be active throughout the season. Members be age 14–18 as of January 1, 2020.
- Mentors must participate in a training session if a mentor training session is available.
- Team must participate in a minimum of one regional event.
- The mentor will be responsible for managing the team and must participate in a post-season evaluation.
- The John Deere name or logo must be included on the team shirts and robot, in the team pit, and on the team website or social media page (if they have one). Teams must use the logo art file provided and follow the guidelines for using the logo correctly.

Returning Teams:
- Team must participate in at least three community outreach activities throughout the year.
- Team must apply for either the Entrepreneurship or Chairman's Award at a regional event.
- Note: John Deere's recommendation is that FRC teams that have existed for 5 years or more should apply for the Chairman's Award.

Examples of costs that are not covered with the grants include registration for local FIRST events, travel costs, and team shirts.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline for applications is November 22, 2019

About the Competition (video):

Additional information:

How to start a team:

The competition:

Coaches & mentors must complete the three part, free, on-line FIRST Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training with this link and use the strategies for better recruitment and support:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

200 Bedford St.
Manchester, NH 03101
(800) 871-8326

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Torrance;   Georgia: Augusta;   Illinois: Champaign & Quad Cities;   Iowa: Des Moines, Dubuque, Paton, Ottumwa, Quad Cities, & Waterloo;   Kansas: Coffeyville ;   Louisiana: Thibodaux ;   Missouri: Springfield;   North Carolina: Raleigh-Durham ;   North Dakota: Fargo & Valley City;   Tennessee: Greeneville ;   Wisconsin: Horicon

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