A coalition of seven federal agencies provided seed funding in 2001 to launch BEST, a non-profit organization, to broaden the participation of women and historically under-represented minorities in STEM.
Following the submission of three reports to Congress on the nation’s most effective STEM diversity programs, the Office of the Secretary of Defense selected BEST in 2005 as its principal contractor support for developing a K-12 portfolio of STEM outreach activities.
BEST was awarded more than $35 million in grants from 2006 through 2018 to support the National Defense Education Program (NDEP) in the areas of strategic planning, management of external partnerships, community engagement, DoD laboratory outreach, communications, and evaluation.
In 2019, BEST became a member of the management team of the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) under the leadership of the Research Triangle Institute. In this capacity, BEST monitors, coordinates, and supports the work of diverse strategic outreach partners that account for 80% of DSEC’s five-year $75 million budget.