There are a few things needed to get a FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge team going.

New FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge teams can expect to pay approximately $800 for team registration, the Challenge Set and a reusable robot kit of parts. Additional costs for event participation, travel, food, team shirts and other optional items will vary.

Veteran teams will pay less since the robot set can be used year after year. Team registration, event registration, and the Challenge Set must be purchased every season.

How are teams funded?

School-based teams receive STEM funding, school/ district/ state grants or PTA/ PTO support.

Parents and teachers should check with school administrators and STEM leaders within the school/district to inquire about local and regional funding opportunities.

Possible funding sources: After-school enrichment programs, Equity/ Diversity/ Inclusion in STEM initiatives, Women in STEM initiatives, Gifted and Talented programs.

There are sometimes STEM competition grants offered by Virginia Department of Education. Consult with local STEM coordinators for grant opportunities.

PTO/ PTA organizations sometimes provide club or enrichment grants to teachers within a specific school. Consult your school’s PTO/ PTA

Independently funded teams receive funding from corporate or individual sponsors.

Use your connections! Think about family, friends, or local businesses that may want to support your team.

If you are being reimbursed by a company or organization, but sure to find out what documentation is needed as sometimes it takes time to get everything that is required.

Tax-Exempt Non-Profit Status: Some sponsors can only fund tax-exempt nonprofit organizations (501{c}{3}). You could register your team but given the relatively small funding needs of an FLL Challenge team, you will likely find it is not worth the legal fees.

Some FLL teams will ask a friendly FRC team (many of whom are associated with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group) if they can accept sponsorships on behalf of your FLL team. Others will ask a robotics booster club or school PTA group if they can graciously do the same. (This helpful tip was taken from FLL Tutorials. Definitely check them out!)

Receiving donations through FIRST (a non-profit): Teams can receive donations through FIRST® for national registration, the season challenge kit, and LEGO products (ordered through the FIRST ®site). Because of admin costs, donations need to be $99 or more. Sponsors will need the team number regardless of how they pay for your national registration. If you are new team, you will need to give your temporary team number as you won’t receive an official number until payment has been made.

To donate to a specific team by check, please remit to FIRST®, Attn: Finance, 200 Bedford Street, Manchester, NH 03101 with the FIRST® team number and location clearly noted in the memo line.

To donate to a specific FIRST team by credit card, please call FIRST® Finance at 1-800-871-8326 ext. 563

Teams can also look for national and regional FIRST® specific grants.

Check with http://firstinspires.org to find rookie grant opportunities, usually released in May of each year.

Check out the grant information below for regional grant opportunities provided by local & global companies and organizations including Amazon, Newport News Shipbuilders, Collins Aerospace, and more!

These are offered at different times of the year, depending on the grant specifications.

Teams can also create their own fundraising plans that involve community outreach opportunities.

Teams have used bake sales, yard sales, and other local fundraising opportunities to raise some or all of the funds needed to start a team. During COVID-19, some of these might not be possible, but this is a good time to get innovative.

Check out the videos in the FIRST® Fundraising Tool kit. Be careful.. the videos are helpful but many of the resources are specifically targeted to FTC and FRC teams.

Team Grant Opportunities

Team grant opportunities are always being updated. Keep checking back to find more! Thank you to our amazing Team Grant Sponsors for providing these opportunities to students across Virginia and D.C.

Check out the FIRST Grants Page for more grant opportunities!

Shenandoah Valley Tech Consortium (SVTC) Grants

Who can apply? Teams located within the Shenandoah Valley who will be participating in a competition during the 2021-2022.

What is being offered? This grant can be used towards any equipment required for competition in FIRST LEGO League, including one or more LEGO robotics kits, a competition practice table, and an FLL field setup kit. If your team does not participate in FIRST LEGO League for three years, then you will return the equipment purchased with this grant for use by other teams. After three years, however, the equipment will remain the property of your team. The grant will be paid as reimbursement for materials that you purchase.

Read more and apply for the grant HERE! Open until funding is depleted.

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Grants

Who can apply? Rookie and Veteran teams located within the Virginia counties of Lee, Scott, and Washington counties and a small portion of Wise County in Virginia.

What is being offered? Teams will receive the FLL Challenge Registration, Challenge Set, tax and shipping (approximately $364).

Read more and apply for the grant HERE

U.S. Cellular Community Connections Grants

Who can apply? Teams must be a registered nonprofit or have a non-profit willing to accept the grant on the teams behalf (see the “How Teams are Funded” section above for ways to easily navigate corporation sponsorship).

What is being offered? Teams can earn up to $1,000 to use on registration or materials.

(1) Sign Up: You’ll get a chance to upload pictures of your organization and tell your story.All you’ll need is proof of your nonprofit status and Sponsor approval to get started.
(2) Engage: Your supporters will engage with your sponsorship page via likes, shares, watching videos, answering questions, and opting in to some great deals.
(3) Rally: Your earning opportunity only lasts 14 days, so make sure your network is ready for the launch date.
(4) Support: The more supporters you have, the faster you’ll be able to reach your sponsorship goal of up to $1,000. On average, it takes anywhere from 175-250 supporters to reach a fully funded goal.

Read more about the grant HERE. Apply for the grant HERE.