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BioBuilder Educational Foundation (TBEF)

 BioBuilder Learning Lab, 700 Main Street
 Cambridge, MA 02139
[P] (617) 285-4141
[F] --
www.biobuilder.org
[email protected]
Natalie Kuldell
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INCORPORATED: 2011
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 45-3844761

LAST UPDATED: 11/16/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

The mission of The BioBuilder Educational Foundation is to increase interest, engagement, and understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  

Mission Statement

The mission of The BioBuilder Educational Foundation is to increase interest, engagement, and understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  


FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $550,000.00
Projected Expense $400,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • BioBuilder's High School Apprenticeship Challenge
  • The BioBuilder Curriculum
  • The BioBuilder Teacher Certification Program
  • The BioBuilderClub

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The mission of The BioBuilder Educational Foundation is to increase interest, engagement, and understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  


Background Statement

The BioBuilder Educational Foundation is a rapidly growing independent nonprofit organization that started with support from a National Science Foundation grant to MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering. Initial funding in 2007 was used to develop educational content to introduce synthetic biology to nonexpert audiences. Synthetic biology is a new field of research that has contributed to developing biofuels, safer foods, less toxic cancer treatment, and other innovations that have an impact on the world today. Dr. Natalie Kuldell, faculty at MIT, saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between ‘the way we do science’ and ‘the way we teach science’ at the secondary school level. In collaboration with teachers and the scientific research community, she began developing a high school curriculum based on the biological engineering major’s required coursework. BioBuilder takes cutting-edge research and transforms it into teachable modules, capitalizing on students’ desires to know, to explore, and to be part of solving real world problems. Demand for this type of ‘current research in teachable form’ has steadily increased over the years, leading to the founding of the BioBuilder Educational Foundation in 2011. In its first two years over 200 teachers received training. Since then, BioBuilder’s content has reached hundreds of teachers in 43 states and 18 countries. Many of these teachers have been trained directly by Dr. Kuldell; some have become Master BioBuilder teachers and now lead their own workshops around the country. BioBuilder continues to add programs and services to meet the need for high quality STEM education resources. The BioBuilderClub (begun in 2013) and Apprenticeship Challenge (begun in 2016) connect directly with students interested in synthetic biology. In 2015 the BioBuilder textbook was published by O’Reilly Media. In Fall of 2017, the Learning Lab at LabCentral opened to serve as a physical home for BioBuilder and allow for the expansion of Boston area programming.

Impact Statement

BioBuilder is an educational organization whose rallying cry is, “Bringing tomorrow’s science to today’s classrooms” -- though it has been pointed out that even bringing today’s science to today’s classrooms would be a significant improvement. Our young nonprofit foundation takes cutting-edge research projects in bioengineering, and transforms them into teachable modules that students and teachers can investigate together. The BioBuilder content is based on the classes that our Executive Director taught in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. Thanks to a dedicated Board of Directors, a small staff, and an extensive community of teachers and students, we have increase interest, understanding, and engagement with science and engineering.

In the six years we have existed as a 501c3, we have accomplished a tremendous amount to meet this goal. Positive feedback and interest in our program has come from almost every US state and from more than 30 countries around the world. BioBuilder's open-access curriculum is simultaneously available on Amazon Inspire, on the BioBuilder website itself, and as a BioBuilder textbook (from O’Reilly Media) that has sold more than 2000 copies. In 2017, BioBuilder partnered with a world-leading supplier of science teaching materials, Carolina Biological Supply Company, to provide high quality BioBuilder laboratory kits to schools around the world. And in 2017, we reached countless more individuals through our National Science Foundation supported “Building with Biology” project, which brought BioBuilder’s ideas and content to 200 museums and public outreach sites through downloadable teaching activities and forum events.


Needs Statement

The BioBuilder Educational Foundation’s top needs are:

1. a Giving Campaign Strategy to grow our philanthropic culture
2. some direct Capacity Building funding
3. resources that will provide Operational Support
4. assistance with a Marketing and Communications Strategy
5. a productive Development Officer and Partnerships Manager



CEO Statement

BioBuilder is excited about synthetic biology because it inspires young minds.  We know that our planet is facing major challenges but we believe that everyone can be part of the solutions.  Everyone.  Middle school students, teens, high school teachers.  At BioBuilder, we empower students to tackle these big questions.  We teach problem solving in a way that will meet the needs of this next century.  We bring the exciting science from our world-class universities and companies into the classroom.  At BioBuilder, we engage our students to become real scientists – the problem solvers who will change the world.

BioBuilder is bringing tomorrow's science to today's classrooms. With hands-on projects, kids can use DNA to program cells the same way they'd program a computer. BioBuilder’s curricula and teacher training capitalize on students’ need to know, to explore and to be part of solving real world problems.   We developed the content at MIT in partnership with award winning high school teachers. In no time, we've seen BioBuilder adopted in schools across the country and around the world.
 
And we can't wait to see the world we're building together.

Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

INTERNATIONAL
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
METROWEST REGION, MA
CENTRAL REGION, MA
NATIONAL
The BioBuilder Educational Foundation is based in Cambridge Massachusetts, serving the Commonwealth as well as a national and international  audience of secondary and post-secondary students, teachers and citizens.

Organization Categories

  1. Education - Secondary & High Schools
  2. Science & Technology - Biological, Life Science Research
  3. Public & Societal Benefit -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Under Development

Programs

BioBuilder's High School Apprenticeship Challenge

High school students participate in our Apprenticeship Challenge. We are dedicated to closing the students’ skills gap so they can progress into successful summer internships in life sciences companies and academic labs.

Students attend our Apprenticeship Challenge on Mondays and Thursdays from 3:30-5:30 to work in biodesign teams. These sessions focus on technical knowledge and professional skills. Apprentices can also join us in the lab on Saturdays from 9-noon to get hands-on training in the techniques and ways of thinking needed for research.

Our Apprenticeship Challenge starts mid-March through mid-May for 8 weeks, in advance of a 6-week paid summer internship.
Budget  $100,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  /
Program Long-Term Success  /
Program Success Monitored By  /
Examples of Program Success  /

The BioBuilder Curriculum

The BioBuilder Curriculum is delivered through online animations, modular classroom and laboratory activities, and a community forum where students and teachers share what they discover. Nine modules are available, each providing 1-12 hours of instruction. Each of the modules begins with an online animation to set-up the challenge, followed by a hands-on lab experience. By design, there is no strict storyline connecting the narratives so that students and teachers can explore topics of individual interest in whatever order they wish. The online narratives become curricular modules through hands-on activities that students and teachers can do together.  After completing the modules, participants will return to the online community forum to share their data, findings and thoughts.

Budget  $150,000.00
Category  Science & Technology, General/Other Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) College Aged (18-26 years) K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

We succeed when we’ve prompted students to ask authentic questions, to wrestle with uncertainty and to bring their best selves to address a real world problem

Program Long-Term Success 

The long-term goal of the Biobuilder Curriculum is to increase interest, engagement and understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics among students.  US demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate for all other occupations. The need to train our next cadre of science and engineering professionals in a way that is interesting, accessible and inspiring is critical.

 

Program Success Monitored By 

TBEF measures the impact of the BioBuilder Curriculum in several different ways.   Prior to engaging in the BioBuilder curriculum each student is issued a pre-test.  Upon completion of any BioBuilder module each student is then issued a post-test for pairwise comparison to the pre-test instrument. The surveys probe understanding and mastery of material as well as gauging student interest in STEM. Recent results of pre and post testing of students that completed BioBuilder modules demonstrated a 15% increase, on average, in mastery and understanding of the module material.  The TBEF evaluation structure also allows for “real-time” feedback on program structure, content and implementation, which is reviewed and evaluated quarterly by BioBuilder staff to determine any necessary program or curriculum adjustments.

Examples of Program Success 

"I was introduced to BioBuilder when I first joined my high school's iGEM team, before I had even heard of Synthetic Biology.  After just a few lessons and actual SynBio labs, Eau D'Coli and E. Chromi being among my first, I was completely hooked, and had a feeling that this was the kind of research and science I could spend a lifetime on.  Now, two years of BioBuilder labs and iGEM later [wow, that feels weird to say], I am even more certain that this is the field I can find my ideal career in, and will be moving towards a Bioengineering degree next year at college."

--Michael

Tyngsborough HS graduate, 2013

Rising freshmen @ Olin College of Engineering


The BioBuilder Teacher Certification Program

The BioBuilder Certification Program consists of professional development workshops that prepare educators to teach our content. Our BioBuilder "Essentials" Workshop prepares educators to bring biological engineering and synthetic biology into their classrooms and laboratories.  Our "Master" Certification Program is by invitation only and is focused on training our BioBuilder teachers how to run training workshops of their own. The "Master" Program requires prior completion of a BioBuilder Essentials Workshop.  Middle school, high school and college faculty from around the country have participated in one of the two workshops. We find that these programs rejuvenate participants, and they leave inspired to teach their students and colleagues the BioBuilder Curriculum.
Budget  $55,000.00
Category  Science & Technology, General/Other Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology
Population Served Adults Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

TBEF succeeds when teachers have access to materials that are refreshingly new and are easily implemented. TBEF hosts teachers in professional development workshops where they are treated like the professionals that they are, giving them material to meet real teaching needs and inviting them into a vibrant intellectual community of like-minded educators.

Program Long-Term Success 

Long-term success results in inspired teachers implementing novel and relevant science curriculum, training our next cadre of students to be better prepared for the changing work environment.  BioBuilder’s “hands-on approach” increases interest, engagement and understanding of the STEM fields.

Program Success Monitored By 

To consider the impact of the BioBuilder Teacher Certification, a post-certification survey is distributed to capture program outcomes including: expansion of professional networks and resources, increase in job satisfaction, decrease in professional isolation, and mastery of innovative STEM curricula. We also actively follow their classroom implementation experience.

Examples of Program Success 

The following is a sampling of comments from high school teachers that have received teacher certification and implemented the curriculum in their classrooms:

 

"The labs are fantastic!  They allow you to take the next step, give you a real problem and make you ask the question, 'How was this made?' "

 

"High School students are creative, the BioBuilder curriculum taps into that creativity and unique approach to problem solving.  My students came up with science solutions I had not considered."

 

"The BioBuilder curriculum goes deeper, allows teachers and students to take the next step."

 


The BioBuilderClub

The BioBuilderClub uses synthetic biology to develop novel biotechnologies. High school teams around the country combine engineering approaches and scientific know-how to design/build/test their own project ideas.
Budget  $45,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Activities
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  /
Program Long-Term Success  /
Program Success Monitored By  /
Examples of Program Success  /

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The 2010 National Survey on STEM Education gathered feedback from over 300 of our nations leaders in science education.  When respondents were asked to select the most important challenges facing STEM education in the U.S., a majority identified the following:

•          Funding in K-12 specifically designated for STEM is insufficient (64.2%).

•          Professional development for STEM teachers is insufficient (59.7%).

The STEM fields are collectively considered core technological underpinnings of an advanced society, according to both the National Research Council and the National Science Foundation.   In many forums, including political/governmental and academic, the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself. Maintaining a citizenry that is well versed in the STEM fields is a key portion of the public education agenda of the United States.

During the next decade, overall US demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase at four times the rate for all other occupations, (www.stemconnector.org). It is projected that Massachusetts will have over 300,000 STEM jobs by 2018 (Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce publication Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, June 2010).

Preliminary findings from pre and post testing indicate that the BioBuilder curriculum successfully inspires interest and passion in the STEM fields.  Unlike other classroom science curricula, which focus on demonstrations and memorization, the BioBuilder curriculum replicates existing, relevant, scientific experiments, and creates a mechanism for students to contribute to the global knowledge base of the properties being tested.  These “hands-on” real world opportunities spark interest, creating a fertile STEM environment of interest and excitement for students and their teachers.

The training our next cadre of science and engineering professionals is at the heart of numerous economic and educational initiatives.  By training through a “hands-on approach” that encompasses both current research as well as engineering, TBEF goes further than introducing technical concepts to the students. It increases interest, engagement and understanding of STEM fields while simultaneously informing students on job opportunities and training requirements in a way that is both relevant, inspiring and accessible to students.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Dr. Natalie Kuldell
CEO Term Start Nov 2011
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Dr. Natalie Kuldell is Executive Director of BioBuilder as well as a Research Associate in the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She develops discovery-based curricula drawn from the current literature to engage undergraduate students in structured, reasonably authentic laboratory and project-based experiences.

She completed her doctoral and post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School, and taught at Wellesley College before joining the faculty at MIT.

 

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Carla Boon Summer Workshop Operations Manager


Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
Massachusetts Nonprofit Network 2015
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association MA Nonprofit Network

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

The BioBuilder Educational Foundation collaborating Partners include the following organizations:

LabCentral

MA Life Sciences Center

Carolina Biologics

New England Biolabs

MIT, Department of Biological Engineering

Caltech

O'Reilly Media

Amazon

TBEF has partnered with over 500 secondary, high schools and universities to implement the BioBuilder Curriculum.  For a complete listing, please contact TBEF directly.


 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 10
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 11
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 10
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Liability and D and O and Umbrella or Excess and Automobile and Professional

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Ms Rebecca Millman
Board Chair Company Affiliation The BioBuilder Educational Foundation, Board member
Board Chair Term July 2011 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Isadora Deese Freelance writer and editor Voting
Mr. John Dellapa Mintz Levin Voting
Dr. Katie Hart Washington University in St. Louis Voting
Dr. Natalie Kuldell community Voting
Ms. Rebecca Millman Marketing and Sales Knowledge Expert, McKinsey and Company Voting
Dr. Rebekah Ravgiala Honors Biotechnology teacher at Tynsborough High School Voting
Ms. Mary Tamer Community Voting
Dr. Valerie Tutson Community Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Gayle Allen Sloan Fellow in MIT's Innovation and Global Leadership Program NonVoting
Mr. David Birnbach MIT's Venture Mentoring Service NonVoting
Prof. Drew Endy Stanford University NonVoting
Mr. Donald Shobrys MIT's Venture Mentoring Service NonVoting

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 7
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 7
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 0
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $550,000.00
Projected Expense $400,000.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990EZ

2015 Form 990EZ

2014 Form 990EZ

2013 Form 990-EZ_July1, 2012 - June 30, 2013

2012 Form 990-EZ (short year, covers 8 months, Nov 1, 2011 - June 30, 2012)

Audit Documents

2017 Review

2016 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $197,810 $123,735 $70,297
Total Expenses $95,178 $43,280 $59,470

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $168,751 $103,285 $37,450
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $29,059 $20,450 $32,847
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $78,366 $31,778 $45,230
Administration Expense $16,812 $11,502 $14,240
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 2.08 2.86 1.18
Program Expense/Total Expenses 82% 73% 76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $344,301 $159,674 $80,809
Current Assets $341,402 $154,841 $74,042
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $82,805 $810 $2,400
Total Net Assets $261,496 $158,864 $78,409

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Capital Campaign Purpose BioBuilder Learning Lab
Campaign Goal $4,000,000.00
Capital Campaign Dates July 2016 - Dec 2020
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount $1,000,000.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.12 191.16 30.85

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

TBEF was incorporated in 2011 and received 501c3 status in 2012.  Our first completed 990 occurred in 2011.   We do not meet the financial threshold to require an audit.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.
 

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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