Who We Are

Founded in San Jose in 1994, RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) is a nonprofit providing educators with engaging hands-on learning resources aligned to national content standards.

RAFT’s mission is to help parents and educators transform a child’s learning experience through hands-on education. We help bridge the education gap for students and communities by offering engaging STEAM resources to encourage the next generation of innovators, problem solvers, and creators. RAFT does this by providing STEAM Project Kits, Maker Mobile van visits and makerspace builds, STEAM summer camps, tailored educator workshops, and free online learning activity sheets. RAFT’s unique Found Engineering process repurposes donated materials that would have otherwise been sent to the landfill into accessible, low-cost, STEAM Project Kits and assembled by volunteers. Educators, and now parents, can become RAFT members and shop at the warehouse store facility for affordable items devoted to hands-on learning.

Our History

Mary Simon, a local teacher, founded RAFT after realizing that recycled materials could be used in the classroom. She convinced many Bay Area companies to donate surplus items otherwise destined for landfills. RAFT developed a sustainable model by innovatively repurposing these materials into activities tied to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Over the years, RAFT has enabled thousands of PreK-12 educators to effectively implement hands-on learning techniques that improve STEAM education.

Our Mission

RAFT’s mission is to help educators transform a child’s learning experience through hands-on education to one that inspires the joy and discovery of learning.

Our Vision

RAFT’s vision is to inspire the next generation of innovators, problem solvers, and creators, by providing educators with STEAM learning resources.

Our Values

  • Integrity: RAFT serves the education community and strives to do it with integrity, accountability, honesty, ethics, and fairness.
  • Community: RAFT brings together educators, volunteers, corporations, and donors to accelerate teaching and hands-on learning.
  • Global Impact: RAFT’s innovative management of recycled materials has a positive impact on the local and global environment.
  • Creativity: RAFT’s unique approach to hands-on learning inspires creativity and joy to foster curiosity, exploration, and innovation.

Your Support Helps Educators

We provide recycled and low-cost STEAM learning materials, makerspace support, and professional development workshops for over 8,000 educators and their 150,000 students in the Bay Area and nationwide.