Mary Simon, the Founder and former Executive Director, saw how effective hands-on methods were for teaching in her classroom and wanted to create a resource for other educators.

1994-1998

  • 1994 - Resource Area For Teaching (RAFT) is registered as a non-profit.
    RAFT registers as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. RAFT was formed!
  • 1995 - RAFT opens doors to Educators.
    In March, RAFT opens its doors to teachers with Idea Sheets, materials and other resources. RAFT welcomes 100 members on its first day and is 1,000 members strong by December. Armed with 40-50 Idea Sheets, RAFT also introduces Activity Kits made from repurposed and recycled materials.
  • 1996 - RAFT holds first workshop for Educators.
    RAFT presents its first workshop for educators in the rented Sunnyvale facility. Today RAFT Bay Area locations conduct more than 10 workshops a month.
  • 1997 - RAFT moves location to accommodate more hands-on resources.
    Due to construction in the area, RAFT moves to a nearby warehouse (24,000 square feet). This move expands RAFT’s space to hold more resources as well as makes the Board think of purchasing a permanent home.
  • 1998 - RAFT Board approves campaign to buy a permanent home.
    RAFT merges with "Resource Connections" (another nonprofit) and begins to accept and refurbish computer equipment. The Board approves a $5 million Capital Campaign to raise funds to purchase a permanent home.

1999-2003

  • 1999 - RAFT moves into its new home.
    RAFT moves into its new home, just steps away from the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Purchase and renovations to the new building are made possible with help from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. RAFT welcomes 3,000+ members to its new location.
  • 2000 - 13 School districts join RAFT; RAFT opens new Tech Center.
    Alum Rock Union School District is the first district to pay for its teachers to join RAFT, followed by 12 other districts. To accommodate the surge in membership, RAFT expands its open hours to five days a week. In June, RAFT celebrates the opening of its new Computer Lab, made possible with seed funds from Cisco and the Community Foundation Silicon Valley. The state-of-the-art lab features computers donated by IBM and networking equipment from Cisco. RAFT exceeds the halfway mark in its Capital Campaign, raising $2.5 million.
  • 2001 - RAFT reaches financial goal.
    RAFT completes its Capital Campaign to raise funds to purchase a permanent home and reaches its financial goal five million.
  • 2002 - RAFT opens the Green Room – a creative workspace for Members.
    With a challenge grant from National Semiconductor, RAFT adds the Green Room, a creative workspace where RAFT members have access to equipment, ideas and expert assistance. In addition, the Board approves moving forward with replication of RAFT-licensing other groups to use our name and logo for building RAFTs in other communities/ cities.
  • 2003 - RAFT takes over Teach the Teacher program/ increases hours.
    RAFT once again increases its hours to accommodate members. At Adobe's request, RAFT takes over their Teach the Teacher program. The program provided Adobe software classes free for educators.

2004-2008

  • 2004 - RAFT reaches more than 5,500 members.
    RAFT membership reaches over 5,500 members! More then 1,000 businesses donate money, materials and time to suport RAFT. Interest to have a RAFT in other cities continues to grow.
  • 2005 - RAFT Membership grows by 40%.
    RAFT membership grows by 40% and services over 7,300 members. Plans to launch RAFT Sacramento.
  • 2006 - RAFT renovates current facility to upgrade amenities / services for Members.
    RAFT renovates current Ridder Park Drive facility adding a third classroom, new entrance, additional shopping space, and a membership welcome desk.
  • 2007 - John Sobrato donates a warehouse to RAFT; RAFT Sacramento opens.
    John Sobrato donates a $5M warehouse in Sunnyvale. RAFT launches a capital campaign to raise $2 million to renovate the Sobrato Volunteer and Processing center in Sunnyvale.
  • 2008 - RAFT launches plan for expansion in Bay Area.
    RAFT plans to launch a facility in Redwood City with services similar to RAFT Bay Area.

2009-2013

  • 2009 - RAFT Redwood City and RAFT Colorado opens.
    RAFT opens for members in Redwood City, California and Denver, Colorado
  • 2010 - Expanded Math & Science coverage.
    RAFT completed the coverage of K-12 Math and K-8 Science curriculum. We now had a hands-on activity aligned with every California standard.
  • 2011 - RAFT launches online store / Introduces the Science Institute Program.
    RAFT expands its presence on the web by launching a RAFT online store selling Educational Activity Kits. RAFT adds the Science Institute program to the existing Math Institute & Innovation Institute series.
  • 2012 - Increased partner activity with organizations such as Scholastic.
    RAFT is featured in NYSCi book: Design, Make, Play - Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators.
  • 2013 - Activities Aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards
    RAFT completes mapping of 700+ Idea Sheets to new national curriculum standards and launches early childhood education program. Scholastic publishes first co-branded kit, You Can Make a Rainbow.

2014

  • 2014 - RAFT Celebrates 20th Anniversary, New Leadership
    Organization turned 20 in March and Mary Simon retires after 20 years as executive director. In May, Grainger Marburg joins as new CEO. Volunteers build 500,000th hands-on Activity Kit and RAFT Colorado commemorates the 5th anniversary after moving to a new warehouse in Denver.