Austin McChord, founder of NHRL, the largest and most accessible robot combat league in the world, has announced a commitment to donate $2,000,000 over the next two months to STEM causes and education through two separate initiatives.
The new grant program is in addition to McChord’s $50M commitment last year to build an innovation hangar at his alma mater. McChord, who began building in his youth and went on to found Datto, a cybersecurity company acquired this summer for $6.2B, is a major advocate for STEM education and iSports, a new category of sport rooted in innovation and intelligence, with activities ranging from robotics and racing to lego building and rubik’s cubing.
The first program is the 2023 NHRL Collegiate Robotics Grants Program. NHRL will award a total of $1,000,000 to collegiate robotics teams to help support more participation in iSports, and provide robotics teams with the resources they need to reach their full potential. Up to 100 colleges and universities will be awarded $10,000 grants.
The second program is the 2022 NHRL STEM Grants, coinciding with the NHRL World Championship Tournament on December 17, 2022. Each tournament winner will get to award the STEM charity of their choice with a donation of $250,000. An additional $250,000 will be split equally and donated to the charities selected by the remaining finalists.
“What started as a hobby after leaving Datto in 2018 has grown into a new sport,” said Austin McChord, founder of NHRL. “Just by creating a place to compete, a whole community has sprung up and come together behind what we are building. Having the ability for the NHRL to launch a grant program to empower new entrants, the same way colleges are able to support traditional athletes, is going to make it much easier for new builders, creators, makers, and doers to join the sport.”
Austin McChord has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30, and received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. McChord first began championing iSports by founding the NHRL robot combat league in 2018.
Applications are open on NHRL.io through December 31, 2022. Robotics teams affiliated with non-profit public or private two or four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. are eligible; a full list of eligibility criteria is available within the application. Winners will be announced in January 2023. Winners are not required to participate in NHRL tournaments.
NHRL is the largest and most accessible robot combat league in the world, home of the 3lb, 12lb, and 30lb world championships. It hosts a series of tournaments throughout each year, culminating in the World Championships. Builders combine groundbreaking technology and off-the-wall ideas to amaze audiences, compete for major purses, and attempt to claim the coveted Golden Dumpster. Each tournament boasts hundreds of robots and builders and fans from all over the world. NHRL has a high-end video production facility and control room with a professional production team, streaming content live to its YouTube channel and sharing across social platforms like TikTok and Instagram.