About STEMpower


STEMpower carries on the vision of the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust (the “GFCT“), founded in the 1990’s by USA citizen Mark Gelfand.

During his childhood near Cleveland Ohio, Mark enjoyed creating his own STEM projects.  Later, during his career in mathematics, engineering, and computers, he established after-school technical programs at the local schools.

In the 1990’s, Mark formed the GFCT to reach more students who could benefit from early exposure to science and engineering.  The GFCT mission became:  To imbue a love of STEM in underserved capable students, who might otherwise miss the opportunity to lead a productive technical life.


The GFCT motto:

“Inside every child is a scientist.”


The GFCT implemented successful intiatives at the US universities CMU in Pittsburgh and CWRU in Cleveland.  Also implemented were successful initiatives across Massachusetts, e.g, the state-wide science fair, and STEM labs in challenged cities, e.g., Lawrence.

Then the GFCT jumped across the Atlantic Ocean, and began initiatives in Israel.

At the Yemin Orde Youth Village (“YOYV”) in Israel, the GFCT made the connection to Ethiopia.  YOYV may be a last resort for at-risk students.  At the time of GFCT involvement, nearly half of the resident students were Ethiopian immigrants.

In 2004, the GFCT established the YOYV Science Center, a modern technical facility that provided the student residents with STEM enrichment opportunities.  Some courageous Ethiopian immigrant students chose to participate in the international FIRST Robotics Competition, a very serious and competitive international engineering challenge.  The YOYV robotics team persevered and thrived.  On their seventh year of tough competition, the YOYV Ethiopian-heritage robotics team won top prize in Israel.

That success paved the way for establishing STEM as a GFCT educational endeavor in their ancestral homeland, Ethiopia.


As the programs expanded throughout Ethiopia and into neighboring subSaharan African countries, a new organizational structure would be required.

STEMpower was established to carry on the GFCT initiatives and programs.  These initiatives include the creative idea, the funding, and establishment of over 90 Ethiopian STEM learning sites (STEM centers, computing labs, shared-science high schools, national science competitions, science museums.)  Even more STEM learning sites in neighboring countries.

Nearly all of the STEM programs and initiatives documented on this website were initiated/funded/established by STEMpower, the STEMpower founder, or the GFCT — and with great appreciation toward many good-hearted technically-proficient local colleagues and friends in Ethiopia, Israel, Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Kurdistan KRI.  Some of these colleagues help us manage our independent partner TodayTomorrow Ventures.

STEMpower continues to expand its mission.  More initiatives and engineering curricula are being added, to match the evolving needs of our future scientists and engineers.

STEMpower is an officially registered International Non-governmental Organization in Ethiopia.