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 

Update (5Feb24):  Grant applications for all programs including FIRST LEGO League Discover and Explore are no longer being accepted or approved.  We are happy to report that all of our funding for the 2023 - 2024 season has been consumed supporting  over 850 FIRST teams along with events around the world. Grant applications for the 2024 - 2025 season are expected to open in June 2024.

If your FIRST LEGO League Challenge, FIRST Tech Challenge of FIRST Robotics Competition Team is being supported by John Deere for the 2023 - 2024 season and have qualified for the April 2024 FIRST World Championship in Houston, please let us know by emailing 


Update (21Oct23):  Grant applications for FIRST Robotic Competition teams are no longer being accepted as of the 20Oct23 deadline has past.  

Update (1Oct23):  Grants are no longer being accepting for FIRST LEGO League Challenge and FIRST Tech Challenge as the 30Sep23 deadline has past.  The deadline for applying for FRC grants has been updated to 20Oct23 from 5Nov23.  

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:

John Deere and FIRST are working together in commitment to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging which allows teams to be more innovation, creative, and make better decisions. We encourage your team to support and encourage inclusion within your team.

For FIRST teams that receive a John Deere grant, one of the requirements is for all coaches, lead mentors along with FTC & FRC students to take the free, three part, on-line FIRST Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training with this link if not taken before. This will help your team to use the strategies for better recruitment and support.

John Deere grants are focused on STEM for All by increasing the participation and positive outcomes for students in John Deere home communities who historically have been underserved and underrepresented in STEM (Engineering, Computer Science/IT, and Manufacturing). This focus is supporting John Deere’s Bold Commitment of reaching at least one million underserved/underrepresented youth by 2030.

Thanks in advance for your Gracious Professionalism® to help us together to further grow FIRST for all!

Current U.S. & Canada John Deere Inspire Home Communities

United States:

  • California - Torrance
  • Georgia - Augusta
  • Illinois - Champaign, Chicago, Quad Cities
  • Iowa - Des Moines, Dubuque, Paton, Ottumwa, Quad Cities, Waterloo
  • Kansas - Coffeyville, Olathe 
  • Louisiana - Thibodaux
  • Missouri - Springfield
  • North Carolina - Raleigh-Durham
  • North Dakota - Fargo & Valley City
  • Tennessee - Greeneville
  • Texas - Austin 
  • Wisconsin – Horicon


  • Alberta - Edmonton 
  • Manitoba - Altona
  • Ontario - Grimsby
  • Ontario - Oakville
  • Saskatchewan - Regina

Outside the U.S, John Deere supports FIRST teams using separate grant processes for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Tech Challenge teams with local FIRST Program Delivery Partners currently in: Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, and Mexico.  

Team Grant Eligibility:

Post Season Survey (Requirement) -  Teams supported by John Deere last season (2022 – 2023) must submit a John Deere post season survey in a timely manner BEFORE submitting a grant request for 2023 – 2024.

Non-Profit or School Association (Requirement) - Teams must be associated with a school (public or private) or 501(c)(3) non-profit in the U.S. (i.e. 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, etc.) or a registered charity outside the U.S. 

John Deere Employee Mentor (Preference) - Although not required, a preference will be given to teams that have a John Deere confirmed mentor for the 2023 - 2024 season or request a John Deere mentor with the grant request.

Team Location (Requirement) - Team must either:

  • Be located within a 40 mile (65-kilometer) driving distance from the closest John Deere Inspire U.S. and Canada locations except for Austin, Chicago, and Torrance (Los Angeles) which need to be within 15 miles.
  • Be in any U.S. or Canada location and have a John Deere employee that they has confirmed they are committed to actively (40 volunteer hours or more) supporting their team in person for the 2023 - 2024 season.

The makeup of the active students on the team must meet one of the following three criteria:

  • 50% or more underserved based on low income. In the U.S. this is based on the % eligible for free and reduced lunch for the school or non-profit overall.
  • 50% or more underrepresented in STEM which in the U.S,  includes Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American and girls and globally girls, Indigenous, youth that have a disability or identify as LGBTQ+. 
  • Rural teams  - In the U.S as classified by NCES as Rural - Distant (42) or Rural – Remote (43).
  • FRC Teams Supporting Underserved FLL or FTC Teams - FRC teams that don’t meet the requirements for underserved/underrepresented or rural and have one or more confirmed John Deere mentors that are committed to supporting the team (40 hours or more) for the 2023 – 2024 season in person are eligible to apply for a grant noting the following five items:
  1. Team needs to confirm when applying, they are already supporting one or more new or returning teams with 50%+ underserved students.  This applies to supporting one or more FIRST LEGO League Challenge teams, three or more FIRST LEGO League Explore teams, or one FIRST Tech Challenge teams.
  2. The requested support is through volunteerism with mentoring and coaching with a minimum commitment of 40 hours or more by the team.
  3. FRC Teams are not expected to provided funding with separate grants available from John Deere for the supporting underserved/underrepresented teams.
  4. When applying for a John Deere grant, provide the team number(s), team name(s), and team contacts (name, email) for teams supporting and grant number if supported by John Deere. 
  5. These grant application will be reviewed starting on 3Oct23.  Note:   Priority is given to teams meeting the underserved, underrepresented and rural criteria.

FIRST Teams with John Deere Mentor Not Meeting Above Criteria - All teams with a John Deere mentor or coach that don’t meet any of the above criteria are encouraged to apply for a John Deere Level 4 grant. 

If approved, no funding will be provided upfront with potential funding provided if the team qualifies for the FIRST World Championship. Other funding for the team is available via the generous John Deere's Dollars for Doers program through the John Deere mentors. In addition, the special Green and Yellow John Deere safety glasses will be offered to FTC & FRC teams. 

Other notes:

  • Two Year Commitment for Rookie Grants - Teams that apply and receive a rookie grant are expected to participate and utilize the grant supported materials for two years or more.
  • One Grant Request Per Team - One grant application is required for each team requesting support. If individual grant applications are submitted with multiple team numbers, the grant will be declined.
  • What Grant Funding Supports - For approved grants, 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 official team registration, robot kits or parts, and field setup kits. Examples of costs that are not covered with the grants include registration for local FIRST events and open events, travel costs, and team shirts. 
  • Expected Grant Processing Time - The goal is to notify teams on their grant status within 3 weeks of submission. Please note, it will take additional time for an approved grant to appear in the team's account.
  • If More than Three Weeks - If you have not been notified of the status of your grant request within three weeks, you can check on the status by sending an e-mail to
  • If Approved with Questions - If your team has been approved for a John Deere grant and you have questions on the status, please contact FIRST Operations at (800) 871-8326 or e-mail
John Deere FIRST