As we embrace our exciting new theme “FIRST RISE℠” across all FIRST programs for the 2019/2020 season, we are especially grateful for our sponsors who share our common goal of “working together and creating a place where collaboration and collective wisdom can elevate new ideas and foster growth.”   One sponsor in particular that we’d like to give special thanks to for their international commitment plus deep involvement in FIRST California is Qualcomm. Their dynamic sponsorship and unwavering commitment to FIRST is a shining example of a strategic collaboration that helps to elevate all who are involved. They truly understand and model the meaning of “Together, We Rise” Their involvement with FIRST began 13 years ago when their Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer began volunteering as a judge at the San Diego Regional and immediately saw the power of FIRST and how mutually supportive a partnership could be.
Their local commitment quickly grew into a International Strategic Partnership that today looks like: EVENT SPONSORSHIP: FIRST Championship events sponsor since 2013 with the last 6 years as the Presenting Sponsor, FIRST events sponsor across programs in San Diego for 13 years, plus event sponsor at a number of other FIRST events nationally and internationally. MASSIVE TEAM SUPPORT: For the 2018-2019 season, Qualcomm supported more than 70 teams in California and hundreds more throughout the U.S and internationally, with Qualcomm employees acting as coaches, mentors, and event volunteers. INCREASED ACCESS: Through financial investment and outreach they’ve increased access to FIRST programs in 9 countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, China, Korea, Israel, Ireland, India and the UK. They also focused on engaging underserved and underrepresented students. TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION: Provided more than 180,000 students from over 25 countries, hands-on experience with our Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ mobile technology platform through integration in the FIRST Tech Challenge control system. 10,000+ EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEER HOURS: More than 10,000 hours of volunteer time with students across the globe. In 2018 they saw an 85 percent increase in the number of employees mentoring FIRST teams from the year before.
A more in-depth look into their involvement with FIRST and their additional corporate responsibility initiatives can be found in their recent Sustainability Report. In the report they illustrate how their focus is on “bringing innovation, collaboration and increased access to STEM for students around the globe” and “giving today’s students the foundation they need to invent the future”.  They also highlight how “STEM education is a sustainability priority for Qualcomm focusing on increasing the talent pipeline within STEM-related careers and nurturing the next generation of inventors.

A Perfect Match!

It’s amazing to see how perfectly matched their STEM related efforts are with FIRST’s Core Values of Innovation, Impact, Inclusion, Teamwork, Fun and Discovery.  It’s no accident that in 2014 Qualcomm earned the “Founders Award” presented each year by FIRST to one organization or individual for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST! What makes their support so dynamic and stand-out is that they go above and beyond generous financial and time investments. They also put personal action behind their words to show that they truly care.

See how Qualcomm puts FIRST Core Values into Play!

INNOVATION: We use creativity and persistence to solve problems.

  • WELCOME TO THE INVENTION AGE: “Welcome to the Invention Age” is their ethos and they creatively brought it to life by visiting California teams at FIRST Championship and asking them to complete this sentence “This is the age where I can invent_______________” and then sharing their response on Instagram.
They also visited teams to find out “what the phrase “Invention Age” means to them“. Hear what they had to say in the video below. To see more of Qualcomm’s amazing coverage of  FIRST Championship, see their Instagram Stories Highlight.
  •  QUALCOMM INNOVATION AWARD: They provide the $10,000 Qualcomm Innovation Award for the past 4 years at San Diego Regional.

IMPACT:  We apply what we learn to improve our world.

  • EXPANSIVE REACH: Through their Strategic Partnership with FIRST it is estimated that they have helped inspire nearly 500,000 people in science and technology over past year alone!
  • “MAKING FIRST WORK FOR YOU” PANEL MEMBER: Courtney Lach, Talent Acquisition Manager, was panel member for the “Making FIRST Work for You” event at FIRST Championship in Houston.

INCLUSION: We respect each other and embrace our differences.

  • “EQUITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION” PANEL MEMBER: Natalie Dusi, Corporate Responsibility Program Manager at Qualcomm, was a panel member at the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion town hall meeting at the FIRST Championship. #allin
  • ENCOURAGING TEAM DIVERSITY: Vanitha Kumar, VP of Engineering at Qualcomm, was the Opening Ceremonies speaker at the San Diego Regional this year and her homework to attendees was to “Take a good look at your FIRST team to make sure it has the same level (or more) of diversity that is represented at your school.”
  • #FIRSTLIKEAGIRL: Qualcomm actively uses and engages with the #FIRSTlikeagirl hashtag on all channels of social media.

FUN: We enjoy and celebrate what we do!

The Qualcomm team excels at FUN! We have to give Garrett and Natalie, our key contacts here in California, special recognition for the true enthusiasm and joy they both have for FIRST.  They love what they do and it shows.
  • CHAMPIONSHIP PIZZA PARTY: They helped kick off this year’s FIRST Championship in Houston by hosting an extravagant pizza party with great swag plus raffle prizes for over 800 attendees.
  • DIGITAL TRADING CARDS AT CHAMPIONSHIP:  They created clever Digital Trading Cards based on a number of California FIRST teams and shared via Instagram at FIRST Championship.
  • T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY: They distributed thousands of Qualcomm t-shirts at the San Diego Regional that were a hit and so much fun!

TEAMWORK: We are stronger when we work together.

DISCOVERY: We explore new skills and ideas.

  • QUALCOMM EMPLOYEE BREAKFAST: They host a Qualcomm Employee Family Breakfast at the San Diego Regional allowing their employees and their families to discover the fun, excitement and value of FIRST Robotics.
  • FUNDING FIRST REQUESTS ON DONOR CHOOSE: On 4/8/19 along with Bosch, Qualcomm fully funded every request for FIRST resources on DonorChoose!

We feel so fortunate to have such a perfectly-matched sponsor with a shared vision and lots of fun-fueled action to back it up!