Ashley & the Charitable Foundation contribute to FIRST Robotics

Photo By Ashley Furniture via LinkedIn

Ashley Furniture Industries (Ashley) and Ashley Charitable Foundation (ACF) have made contributions in support of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics initiatives for the 2023-2024 school year.

Annually, the funds provide students with hands-on robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. Since 2017, the organizations’ donations toward FIRST initiatives have benefitted over 1,250 students in North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In addition to a monetary donation, Ashley provides ongoing support to the Trempealeau County Robotics (TC Robotics) team who compete head-to-head with robots they have designed, built, and programmed throughout the year. TC Robotics is made up of high school students from Arcadia, Cochrane-Fountain City, and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Wisconsin. The team has been mentored and coached for the past seven years by Ashley employees. The team ended their season as the number one team in Wisconsin and 80th worldwide.

In North Carolina, ACF supported the Queen City Robotics Alliance (QRCA). This organization provides students with mentorship and programs that focus on skill-based learning and technology. The donated funds will grow the local FIRST Robotics team and give area students an opportunity for competitive learning experiences.

"Education is the catalyst that propels us towards a brighter future. By investing in initiatives like FIRST Robotics and providing hands-on STEM education, we are equipping the next generation with the skills they need to succeed in an ever-evolving workforce,” stated Todd Wanek, president and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries. “We believe in the power of education to unlock limitless potential, and we are proud to support programs that inspire and empower young minds."

The mission of FIRST is to provide robotics programs that give young people skills, confidence, and resilience to build a better world. FIRST prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 that can be facilitated in school or in structured after-school programs.

"In today's rapidly advancing and highly competitive landscape, STEM education is more important than ever. It is the foundation where innovation, growth, and success are built,” stated Ron Wanek, founder and chairman of Ashley Furniture Industries. “We recognize the critical role that STEM plays in preparing individuals for the workforce of tomorrow. STEM education initiatives like FIRST Robotics hone the talent and passion of the next generation.”


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user dakotasmith
About the author
Dakota Smith | Editorial Intern

Dakota Smith is an undergraduate student at New Jersey City University studying English and Creative Writing. He is a writer at heart, and a cook by trade. His career goal is to become an author. At Woodworking Network, Dakota is an editorial intern, ready to dive into the world of woods and words.