Earlier this year, Connexion, an electrical distributor based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., launched a community outreach program called Science Connexion. The program's focus is on providing logistical support to transfer unused school science equipment from more advantaged schools to schools that are more budget challenged.
The project began after a trip to Ghana in 2007, where Brandon Tucker, a science teacher at Glenbrook South High School, visited classrooms.
“I saw that students were learning about science and reading about science, but they didn't do actual science through experiments because they didn't have equipment like microscopes and slides,” he said in a story in the local Buffalo Grove Patch. Inspired to make a difference, Tucker contacted two of his colleagues when he returned to the U.S. and arranged to ship 14 boxes of used science equipment to Ghana.
During that time, Tucker realized the equipment also could be sent to schools in the Chicago area that didn't have the resources to purchase new microscopes or textbooks.
“Schools will sometimes get rid of equipment because everything has a useful lifespan. To fix a broken piece of equipment might be more expensive than replacing it,” Tucker told the Patch. There were schools that needed that equipment, but there wasn't a way to connect the schools to make a donation.
Tucker's father, Dan Dobski, director of sales and marketing for Connexion, realized that the company's president, David Rosenstein, was looking for ways for Connexion to give back to the community. The company created a nonprofit subsidiary, Science Connexion, to facilitates donations of equipment such as microscopes, test tubes and textbooks between donor schools and recipient schools. The company set up a website that could serve as a portal for teachers to request or donate equipment. Connexion's fleet of trucks picks up and delivers equipment, all at no charge to the donors or recipients.
“Connexion focuses on energy savings and sustainability, so Science Connexion is a logical extension of the company,” Dobski said.