Why Give?

Boy amazed by a live science show.

Science and technology are essential to cultivating young people’s curiosity, providing students with a solid academic foundation, and to helping adults understand critical issues so that they can make informed decisions. The Franklin Institute is committed to supporting resources that enable students, families, and adults to engage with science and technology in creative ways that resonate with all learners.


The Institute’s resources, including a range of educational programs, specifically target underserved youth. To maintain these programs and to reach as many students and their educators and families as possible, each gift is a significant contribution, and will enable the Institute to continue to engage children in the Greater Philadelphia region with science and technology education and culturally significant experiences.

  • The resources the Institute provides directly reach 1.2 million people annually, and help students from around the region who are simply not receiving the instruction or assistance that they need to succeed.
  • Only 32.2% of 9th graders in the Philadelphia School District enter college after graduation.
  • The opportunities for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are robust, and continue to grow, and a well-educated workforce is essential to a healthy society. The Franklin Institute is a critical part of achieving that goal. 

In addition to its renowned exhibits and daily live science shows at the museum, and its educational programs for underserved youth, The Franklin Institute offers programs across the city, the region, and nationally and internationally as well. From neighborhood astronomy nights to working to help teachers be more effective in the classroom to collaborations with diverse community partners, your gift will make a difference in people’s lives.

As you read the stories on this page and view the associated media, please know that The Franklin Institute could not provide these programs and experiences without your support. As you read the stories on this page and view the associated media, please know that The Franklin Institute could not provide these programs and experiences without your support. To learn more about a specific giving opportunity, or if you have any questions, please contact the Development Office at 215.448.1130.

Thank you for your generous support!

  • Daeshawn Rose’s love of flying started at the age of seven, when he first got on a plane to go to Disney World. He was amazed by the experience and immediately thought, “I want to do this.” From that point on, whenever he flew anywhere, Daeshawn would stay on the plane after the flight and chat with the pilots. His childhood ambition was reinforced by his experiences in the Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science (PACTS) program. Last summer, Daeshawn and other PACTS students traveled to US Airways for a special behind-the-scenes field trip. They got to go out on the tarmac and see a plane at wheel level, and they also visited the maintenance hangar and sat in the cockpit of an Airbus A319. They visited the air traffic control center and learned about the many jobs at the airport that require a strong background in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). Now a freshman at Delaware State University, Daeshawn is studying to become a commercial pilot, and is already getting flight experience in 4-seat Piper Warriors. Daeshawn explains, “My favorite thing about PACTS is that we got to do so many different things I had never done before. We built submarines, and real catapults. We made a model house. I love Delaware State because it’s a small campus and a small, personal school. I’m majoring in aviation, and all my experiences have made me excited to become a pilot.”

    In 2012–2013, 150 students took part in PACTS. Sixteen PACTS students serve as Explainers,  or junior staff members at The Franklin Institute, working directly with professional staff to support visitors’ learning. Since the program’s inception, 99% of PACTS seniors have graduated and gone on to college—a figure that is especially notable considering the Philadelphia school district’s graduation rate of only 61%. Over the past 20 years, PACTS has enabled thousands of underserved students to nurture their passion for learning.

  • Korah Lovelace is a senior at the Science Leadership Academy, and in her fourth year of STEM Scholars. She learned about the program from her engineering teacher, and joined as a freshman. As a STEM Scholar, Korah has had the opportunity to connect with scientists and engineers from many different places, including labs at Drexel University, the Wistar Institute, GSK, and the Philadelphia Police Forensics Lab. For her junior year summer internship, Korah spent eight weeks as an intern in Dr. Doug Epstein’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania. She was given her own lab station and conducted her own research testing the effects of alcohol on eye development in mice embryos by examining their DNA. Korah explains, “Before the internship I knew I wanted to do research, but I wasn’t sure in what field. Now I know I want to be a geneticist. Doing my own research in the lab was really interesting.” In addition to the internship opportunity, Korah appreciates the support of the people she meets through the program, and explains how it has helped her overall: “Knowing that people like Dr. Bertley [the Institute’s Vice President of Science] want you to succeed is very motivating. STEM Scholars adds to the knowledge I get in SLA classes by giving me hands-on ways to practice what I learn. The program also has done a wonderful job of supporting us through the college search process. The SAT prep classes were especially helpful, and thanks to them I raised my score by 300 points, which opened a new range of college possibilities for me. My top choices are the University of Pittsburgh and Drexel University. This program has strengthened my commitment to becoming a scientist.”

  • The Franklin Institute is among a very small number of leading science centers around the world that create high quality exhibitions for distribution worldwide. For example, working with a team of partners, the Institute produced Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times, which is currently touring nationally. Another Institute product is the new planetarium show To Space and Back. The Institute produced To Space and Back in 2012 by partnering with Sky-Skan, a leader in the planetarium field. Co-written by Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts, To Space and Back showcases stunning high-resolution video and sophisticated graphic animation, much shot specifically for this production in locations around the world. The film demonstrates how space exploration has directly influenced our lives today—satellite communications, observations, and data collection all affect the research and production of commonly used electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets.

    To Space and Back had its world premiere in the Fels Planetarium on March 18, 2013, before opening in other planetariums in locations as far-flung as Australia and South Korea. The film has won several prestigious awards, including Best Overall at the Imiloa Fulldome Film Festival in Hawaii, honorable mention at Zeiss Fulldome Film Festival in Germany, and first prize as the best of the fulldome shows presented at the First Russian Fulldome Festival. Sky-Skan is the industry leader in the fulldome planetarium field for high production values, and The Franklin Institute’s Fels Planetarium is a known brand for high quality astronomy content. To Space and Back is already being translated into five different languages, with a sixth—Russian—hopefully to come soon.

    To Space and Back plays regularly in the Fels Planetarium. See the current schedule.