The Biogen Foundation and Community Lab Celebrates 20 Years of Serving our Communities
- The Biogen Foundation has granted $70 million to help underserved communities in advancing science education, health equity, and food security
- More than 61,000 students have benefitted from Biogen’s free hands-on science education program through its pioneering Community Labs in Massachusetts and North Carolina
- Plans to reach a total of 90,000 students by 2025 through enhancement of its curriculum, global expansion and continuing engagement of underrepresented students
- In celebration of 20 years of caring deeply, a Community Lab alumnus will throw out the first pitch at Friday’s Red Sox game
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) is celebrating 20 years of caring deeply with the 20th anniversary of the Biogen Foundation and the Biogen Community Lab. The Biogen Foundation was established in 2002 and has since provided $70 million to help underserved communities in advancing science education, health equity, and food security. In 2002, Biogen also established the first-ever corporate Community Lab in Cambridge, Mass., a free science education program for students in middle and high school. Since then, the Company also opened a second Community Lab in North Carolina, and together more than 61,000 students have participated in the program. The Community Lab aims to inspire the next generation of science leaders in collaboration with teachers and local non-profit collaborators.
In looking to the future, the Company plans for a Biogen Community Lab 2.0, which will include an enhanced neuroscience curriculum, a newly founded alumni network, and expanded global reach. Biogen has set a goal to engage a total of nearly 90,000 students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education by 2025, focusing on populations historically underrepresented in science.
“At Biogen, we are committed to advancing neuroscience to transform the lives of patients and to positively impact our communities where we live and work. We know that advancing health equity requires a multi-pronged approach including building the next generation of scientific leaders,” said Michel Vounatsos, CEO, Biogen. “We aim to further build on our Foundation legacy by expanding our efforts in the U.S. and around the world, and enhancing our Community Lab to address the gaps we are facing in STEM education, especially for underserved communities and those who are underrepresented in our field.”
Biogen will officially kick off this 20th anniversary together with the Red Sox Foundation, which the Biogen Foundation has supported since 2016. Biogen Community Lab graduate and Red Sox Scholar Armany Peguero will throw out the first pitch at the Red Sox game on Friday, June 17, 2022. Peguero is a rising junior at Northeastern University studying electrical and computer engineering.
“STEM education enables students like Armany to gain the strong foundation needed to succeed in college and the workforce,” said Kate Dawson, Head of Therapeutics Development Unit and Chair, Biogen Foundation. “For more than 20 years, Biogen and the Biogen Foundation have supported educational programs like the Red Sox Scholars and visionary initiatives like the Biogen Community Lab, one of the first and longest-running hands-on corporate science programs.”
Biogen anniversary events will continue throughout 2022, including:
- The launch of a new Biogen Community Lab Alumni Network to connect and engage students over the long term
- STEM week events to advance the dialogue and action on STEM education
- A recognition and appreciation event for Biogen collaborators and Foundation grantees
- Expanded Biogen annual volunteer Care Deeply program to include a 20-day period of hands-on service and giving opportunities in our communities
Biogen Foundation Quick Facts
- Jointly developed the first-of-its-kind Youth Neurology Education and Research Program, deeply engaging students – more than 86% from underrepresented groups — with leading neurologists and neuroscientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), increasing student interest in pursuing neuroscience careers from 54% to 100%
- Fostered a STEM education ecosystem in Mass., engaging more than 500 teachers and 3,000 students in its $10 million Student, Teacher support, Access & Readiness (STAR) initiative
- Founding supporter of the North Carolina Science Festival and Technorama in Switzerland, reaching millions of people since the programs began
- Advanced food security, through collaborations with the Greater Boston Food Bank and Food For Free. In 2021 alone, the Biogen Foundation helped serve more than 130,000 meals, supporting Food For Free’s Just Eats program and donating 500 square feet of in-kind space in Biogen’s headquarters. For 20 years, the Biogen Foundation also has supported the Greater Boston Food Bank with efforts ranging from out of school time programs to Hunger Free Holidays.
- Engaged Biogen employees in more than 100,000 volunteer hours since 2011
- Matched 100% of Biogen employee contributions to nonprofits, totalling more than $11 million since 2016, and donated $10 to nonprofits for every hour Biogen employees volunteer
Biogen Community Lab Quick Facts
- Established the first-ever corporate Community Lab in Cambridge, Mass. in 2002, and a second Community Lab site in North Carolina in 2014
- Developed a high school curriculum with the American Public Health Association focused on climate and health
- Brought science education to more than 61,000 students
- Pivoted to meet educational needs during the pandemic via virtual instruction, reaching more than 3,600 students in 19 countries
- Students set to participate in the 2022 class include 40% low-income students and 70% from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM
Read more in Biogen’s 2021 Year in Review.
As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Sir Kenneth Murray, and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today, Biogen has a leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and developed the first and only approved treatment to address a defining pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen is also commercializing biosimilars and focusing on advancing one of the industry’s most diversified pipelines in neuroscience that will transform the standard of care for patients in several areas of high unmet need.
In 2020, Biogen launched a bold 20-year, $250 million initiative to address the deeply interrelated issues of climate, health, and equity. Healthy Climate, Healthy Lives™ aims to eliminate fossil fuels across the company’s operations, build collaborations with renowned institutions to advance the science to improve human health outcomes, and support underserved communities.
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About the Biogen Foundation
The Biogen Foundation supports access to science education and to essential human services for children and their families in the communities in which Biogen facilities are located. The Biogen Foundation is committed to sparking a passion for science and discovery, supporting effective science education initiatives and strengthening efforts to make science education and science careers accessible to diverse populations.
About the Biogen Community Lab
The Biogen Community Lab program is a signature example of the company’s commitment to science education. The mission of the Lab is to excite more young people about science and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders. With locations at Biogen’s world headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and in Research Triangle Park (RTP), North Carolina, the Community Lab is a state-of-the-art laboratory classroom where local middle and high school students engage in hands-on biotechnology experiments and interact with scientists and other biotech professionals. It offers free daylong, interactive science activities, rigorous summer programs and teacher professional development. The Cambridge facility started in 2002 and is the longest-running, hands-on corporate science lab in the nation. The Community Lab in North Carolina opened in 2014. Collectively, the Labs have served more than 61,100 students to date.
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