UW-Stout: Matching donations by 3M, employees boost STEPS program

Employees at the 3M manufacturing plant in Menomonie have stepped up to help more girls learn about careers in science-related fields.

Recently a 3M employee, Kim Porter, volunteered to match fellow employees’ donations, up to $500, to support the annual STEPS for Girls program at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

STEPS stands for Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer program. Four week long programs are held, beginning July 5, for girls who will be in seventh grade in the fall. One of the goals is to help girls explore careers in traditionally male-dominated fields.

As a result of Porter’s challenge, $3,450 was raised.

“These funds will be used to support program operations, which include providing scholarships to girls who are financially disadvantaged,” said Jo Hopp, interim STEPS for Girls director and an associate professor of physics at UW-Stout.

In addition to donations from employees, the Menomonie 3M plant also has supported STEPS for Girls this year with a $5,000 3M Corporate Giving Grant.

How did Porter’s $500 challenge become $3,450? Nine employees donated $775. That total was matched by 3M, bringing the total with Porter’s gift to $2,050. Then, 3M matched another $400 because three of the spouses of donors also work at the company.

Finally, $1,000 was added when 3M matched Porter’s initial $500 and added another $500 because Porter’s spouse, Jerry, also works at 3M.

The 3M employees who contributed are Vickie Brown, Jim and Ann Fay, Carey Johnson, Laura Moulder, Jeff Nelson, Elizabeth Serratore, Lynette Smith, Megan White and John Zbornik.
The matching grants for spouses of donors were for Bob Brown, Chris Moulder and John Lawson, husband of Serratore.

“Jerry and I are so pleased to be able to help foster this type of financial support for STEPS. It is such a great program in so many ways,” Kim Porter said. “Science, technology, engineering and math enable many career opportunities. When I tell people about the (STEPS) program, it just sells itself. We are so thrilled that our co-workers stepped up with such a huge show of support.”

Kim Porter is a resident systems engineering specialist at 3M.

The Porters issued a similar challenge in 2014, and $1,840 was raised for STEPS for Girls.
Individuals, businesses and corporations fund about 40 percent of STEPS for Girls, with tuition covering 40 percent and UW-Stout 20 percent.

Approximately 3,000 girls have participated in STEPS for Girls since it began in 1997.