Why We Do It

By providing scholarships and mentoring, we help BIPOC students bridge the gap between representation and access to education and transition into Arts & STEM professionals.

Illustrative photo treatment of Samuel J. Ashe
Samuel J. Ashe II, Founder linkedin logo

Our History & Beginings

The spark that ignited Ignite Arts & STEM first lit in Harlem in 2008. As a college student, Samuel J. Ashe II recognized a deficit in his community's educational resources, particularly in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Inspired by this gap, he started a club aimed at boosting minority representation in STEM-related careers. In 2018, a shared passion for education led Samuel, along with his dedicated family and friends, to bring the Ashe Arts & STEM Academy to life, laying the foundation for the vibrant Ignite Arts & STEM we know today.
 
Ignite Arts & STEM is now guided by a distinguished board of professionals, bringing extensive expertise in technology, education, finance, hospitality, advertising, branding, and the arts. Their diverse perspectives fuel the organization's growth and ensure impactful programs for our students.
 
Join us in igniting the future of talented young minds!

2008: An idea was born.

As a college student, Samuel J. Ashe II looked around his community, and he saw a deficit in educational resources specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, & science. In response to this, he began a club geared towards minority representation in Arts & STEM-based careers.

2018: Ashe Arts & STEM Academy is founded.

A shared passion for education led Samuel, along with his dedicated family and friends, to bring the Ashe Arts & STEM Academy to life.

2024: A reimagining.

The organization was rebranded as Ignite Arts & STEM in January 2024, and is now guided by a distinguished board of professionals, bringing extensive expertise in technology, education, finance, hospitality, advertising, branding, and the arts. Their diverse perspectives fuel the organization's growth and ensure impactful programs for our students.

From family roots to sparking futures

We strive to improve the academic careers of our scholars by providing a variety of programs for BIPOC students pursuing The Arts & Stem fields. Through our programs, we’re doing our part to create an inclusive and accessible future. We expose BIPOC students to professionals in positions they may not dare dream of and open doorways to their true potential. Our programs reveal paths to self-discovery and growth.

Natasha Ashe, Samuel Ashe, and Crystal Ashe
Natasha Ashe, Samuel Ashe, and Crystal Ashe
The Samuel Ashe Founders award is given to community leaders who ignite and empower our youth for a brighter future!
Celebrating James Christian, founder of Teach 1 Reach 1,
for championing foster care children from underserved communities!
(Samuel Ashe Founders Award recipient, December 2023)

Industry Statistics

An investment in Ignite Arts & STEM is a game changer for these talented students who can expect to earn $71,000 as an average starting salary with top salaries of over $100,000.

 

Study after study has shown that the people who hold leadership positions in the arts remain disproportionately white.

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BIPOC people own 9% of all “arts, entertainment, & recreation” businesses

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Students participating in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, to participate in a math and science fair or to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

Occupations such as Curators, Archivists, Writers/Authors, Music Directors are some of the least diverse in the Arts field with only 14-18% of the workforce is comprised of Black or Hispanic workers

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BIPOC people own 11% of performing arts companies

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Students of low socioeconomic status who have high exposure to the arts have better academic outcomes, set higher career goals, and become more civically engaged. They are three times more likely to earn a bachelor's degree than their peers who receive little or no access to the arts.

Barriers remaining to achieve an inclusive Arts & STEM workforce are a direct result of:

  • Requiring a "brand-name" college education obtained by attending elite private or public institutions.
  • Entry level Arts & STEM-related jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree & ignoring workers who may have equivalent experience & knowledge from a qualified certification program.
  • Lack of access to referrals from powerful alumni & familial networks or industry connections.
  • Inadequate support systems providing encouragement & guidance through high school, post secondary education & beyond.
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in STEM occupations is projected to increase 10.5% from 2020 to 2030

Our Accomplishments

We had a very successful back-to-school event in August, and with the support of donors and sponsors were able to give away nearly 250 backpacks to children from the Greater Los Angeles area.

Backpacks donated to children from the Greater Los Angeles area.