FIRST 'Green' a Modern Day Twist on Team Fundraising Methods

FIRST  ‘Green’ a Modern Day Twist on Team Fundraising Methods

2nd generation FIRST® Green e-watt saver LED light bulbs now available to consumers


MANCHESTER, N.H., November 2, 2011FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, today announced the FIRST® Green Fundraising programs offered by robotics teams ranging from elementary to high school are now available to consumers. A modern-day twist on traditional fundraising methods, the program aims to raise funds for student participation in the FIRST robotics competitions throughout the US with the sale of energy-efficient products such as LED bulbs.

 “When we started FIRST Green initiatives for our robotics teams in 2010, we knew we were onto something: a 21st century fundraising technique that not only helped teams become self-sustaining in the short term; but which also helped them in the long term create a better environment which they will inherit someday,” said Dean Kamen, founder of FIRST. “The ability to sell LED bulbs and do energy audits gives the teams a chance to learn not only about viable ‘green’ technology and energy savings; but also strengthens their sales, marketing and leadership skills for whatever career paths they take.”

The program, which includes the sale of LED bulbs known as the FIRST Green e-watt saver, features a dimmable LED bulb. This program is now open to the general public via an online matching system (www.usfirst.org/firstled).The FIRST Green e-watt saver program was started in 2010 and has become an important source of fundraising for nearly 20 percent of the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC®) U.S.-based high-school robotics teams as well as other programs offered by FIRST.

The 2nd generation FIRST Green e-watt saver LED light bulbs are designed by Lighting Science Group (OTCBB: LSCG) based in Florida and manufactured in Monterrey, Mexico. Through an agreement with Lighting Science Group, FIRST teams will resell the A19 LED bulbs offering an ultra-efficient 60 watt or 40 watt equivalent A19 LED bulb that is omni-directional, dimmable, and lasts an estimated 25,000 hours with a five-year warranty. The 800 lumen bulb can replace a 60 watt incandescent bulb and a 450 lumen version can replace a 40 watt incandescent bulb.

The suggested retail price is $15, including any sales taxes, for the 40w replacement and $26 for the 60w replacement with energy costs for the LED are estimated at only $1.02 per year for the 40w replacement and $1.63 per year for the 60w replacement when used 3 hours per day. The bulbs have an expected life of 22.8 years. FIRST teams raise funds by earning profit on each e-watt saver sold. The FIRST Green e-watt saver bulb is UL-listed in the U.S. and Canada and also approved by the FCC.

“Robotics programs like those we offer at FIRST continue to play a key role in the effort to go green,” said Jon Dudas, President of FIRST. “The push to make energy and transportation more efficient is a direct result of robotics helping to promote sustainable technologies and lessen the impact on the environment. Our students are also gaining valuable first-hand knowledge of these technologies through this innovative fundraising program.”

FIRST Green e-watt saver bulbs are now available through local teams in each state. For information on how to purchase a FIRST Green e-watt saver bulb from a FIRST team near you, visit www.usfirst.org/firstled or contact: e-watt@usfirst.org.

For more information, visit: www.usfirst.org/e-wattinfo.

About FIRST  

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC®) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S. and Canada) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST
Ph. 603-666-3906, X460
cwalsh@usfirst.org