FIRST is an inclusive robotics community that prepare young people for the future. Whether it is finding their people or finding their path, students gain the skills and courage to forge ahead with FIRST.

FIRST Mission Statement 

Our commitment to FIRST aligns with the John Deere Foundation's public goal of serving at least one million underserved and underrepresented youth by 2030.  

John Deere and FIRST are united in our dedication to STEM for All by cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging, enabling teams to drive innovation, foster creativity, and enhance decision-making capabilities. We encourage teams to advocate for and embody these values within their own team cultures.  

As a FIRST Strategic Partner since 2016, John Deere's commitment to FIRST continues to grow through our John Deere Inspire global youth education program. In 2023, the Inspire program supported over 113,00 youth in eight countries and 36 John Deere home communities.  

The John Deere Foundation provides support for FIRST teams and events in two ways:

  • Providing funding to support FIRST strategic events and FIRST teams through this grant application and through FIRST Program Delivery Partners outside the U.S. and Canada for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge.  
  • Providing funding supporting our John Deere employee volunteers as FIRST mentors and event volunteers through our Power for Good, Employee Giving Program.  Employee earn rewards for the time they volunteer that they can donate to FIRST including to FIRST teams along with receiving 100% matches on any donations they make.

Funding levels will vary for new and returning teams based on team financial need. The grants cover costs normally paid to FIRST by teams such as team registration, robot kits or parts, and field setup kits. Examples of costs that are not covered with John Deere grants include registration for local FIRST events, open events, travel costs, and team shirts. 

Key factors considered in evaluating grant applications are: 

  • Associated with a school (public or private) or 501(c)(3) non-profit in the U.S. or a registered charity outside the U.S.
  • Team in John Deere Inspire home community
  • Level of support for underserved and underrepresented students including rural
  • Supported by John Deere employee mentor(s) or requested with grant 
  • Any FIRST team with a confirmed John Deere mentor for the 2024 – 2025 season are encouraged to apply for a grant regardless of need or location.  

To be considered for a John Deere FIRST team grant, teams must apply and get approval for the John Deere FIRST grant PRIOR to completing (paying for) registration. You can register with FIRST but SHOULD NOT PAY for your registration as you will forfeit receiving a John Deere grant. The deadlines to apply, assuming budget is still available, are as follows:

Outside the U.S and Canada, John Deere supports FIRST teams using separate grant processes for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams with local FIRST Program Delivery Partners. 

John Deere Employee Mentors 

  • FIRST LEGO League (Discover, Explore, Challenge) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) - although not required, a preference will be given to teams that have a John Deere employee committed to actively (40 volunteer hours or more) mentoring their team in person for the 2024 - 2025 season else request a John Deere mentor with the grant request.
  • FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) - must have a John Deere employee committed to actively (40 volunteer hours or more) mentoring their team in person for the 2024 - 2025 season. The best opportunity to receive a grant from John Deere is for your team to line up a John Deere employee mentor before applying for grant. Otherwise, you can apply, and John Deere will try to line up a mentor which is not guaranteed and most likely will delay the grant approval. 
  • Note:  Approval for FRC Grants will be on August 15, 2024 or after.  

Please complete the screening questions below to determine if your team is eligible for a 2024 – 2025 John Deere FIRST grant and if so, complete the formal grant application with one application per team (excludes class packs)    


John Deere FIRST