World-First Sponsor X Returns to United States Grand Prix with STEM-Focused Organization, Girlstart
Back for the second time in Austin, TX, with the McLaren Formula 1 Team, the Smartsheet initiative will spotlight how Girlstart is unlocking a world of possibilities for young girls through STEM education
BELLEVUE, Wash., October 10, 2023 - In partnership with McLaren Formula 1 Team, Smartsheet (NYSE:SMAR), the enterprise work management platform, today announced it will highlight national women-led nonprofit, Girlstart, as the next Sponsor X taking the place of the Smartsheet logo on McLaren’s F1 race cars at the United States Grand Prix on October 20-22, 2023.
Inspiring the next generation of women in STEM
Smartsheet and Girlstart believe that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will help solve the biggest challenges of today and tomorrow, yet half of the world’s potential idea makers—women and girls—are often discouraged from developing vital STEM skills.
Founded in 1997, Girlstart is on a mission to inspire girls to be world-changers by increasing their interest and engagement in STEM through a variety of innovative year-round programs for elementary girls with a special focus on grades 4-8—a critical age where stereotyping and external biases start to take hold and interest in subjects like math and science starts to fade. Each program is rooted in real-world, non-intimidating curriculums that help foster and develop skills across the full STEM spectrum, provide an understanding of the importance of STEM, and boost girls’ self-confidence and interest in STEM classes, majors, and careers.
“At Girlstart, we teach girls that they can be whatever they want when they grow up. We ignite a spark in them about STEM and give them the confidence they need to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math,” said Shane Woods, executive director at Girlstart. “The opportunity that Sponsor X presents to shine a light on the girls that we empower through STEM education is invaluable because we believe everyone belongs in STEM.”
Ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Girlstart, Smartsheet, and McLaren will host two special days of programming for a select group of local Austin Girlstart girls where they will hear directly from women in STEM, including MIT engineer and the host of Netflix series Emily's Wonder Lab host, Emily Calandrelli, and a McLaren STEM ambassador. Students will also learn how to code robots to compete in a Formula 1-inspired race, meet McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris, and receive a special behind-the-scenes tour of the McLaren garage at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack.
“At McLaren Racing, we are passionate about promoting STEM and making pathways ever-more accessible and aspirational. The Smartsheet Sponsor X initiative has enabled us to connect with inspiring, STEM-related nonprofits at key race events and provide our team’s support,” said Louise McEwen, executive director, brand and marketing at McLaren Racing. "We’re excited to meet Girlstart at this year’s United States Grand Prix, an incredible organisation which empowers young women to embrace and pursue STEM careers, and hope they have an unforgettable experience being introduced to the world of Formula 1.”
Reimagining what a sponsorship can do
Sponsor X puts the Smartsheet mission into action by elevating people and organizations that are doing work that truly matters. Launched in 2022, the first-of-its-kind initiative has raised awareness for STEM nonprofits across the world, including Australia-based DeadlyScience, Oakland. CA–based The Hidden Genius Project, UK-based STEAM Co., and now Austin, TX–based Girlstart.
“When we launched Sponsor X, we had one simple mission: to elevate deserving nonprofit organizations by putting them front and center in the world of Formula 1. The community it has built and the impact we have seen is beyond what we could have imagined,” said Andrew Bennett, chief marketing officer at Smartsheet. “After two years and three races around the world, I’m proud that we have raised awareness about the importance of STEM education, creating a connected community amongst our Sponsor X nonprofits, and most importantly, helping inspire the next generation of technologists, innovators, engineers, and more.”
Learn more about Sponsor X and the missions of each nonprofit organization the initiative has highlighted here.
Girlstart is a national women-led organization, offering year-round out-of-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programming for girls in grades 4-8 in Texas, California, Massachusetts, and other locations across the country. Girlstart's comprehensive programs are designed to engage, increase confidence, and introduce STEM careers to girls who have been historically marginalized by providing meaningful, hands-on STEM programming through after school, summer camps, and other community events. To learn more, visit www.girlstart.org, or follow us on social: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR) is the enterprise work management platform. The foundation for managing projects, programs, and processes for millions of global customers, Smartsheet empowers everyone to work better, at scale. Visit www.smartsheet.com to learn more.