In the next decade, 51% of new jobs in Northern Virginia will require skills in science, technology, engineering and math – subjects in which the most disadvantaged students lag significantly behind their more affluent peers. But each year over 70,000 visitors explore, create, get inspired...and build 21st-century skills at the Children's Science Center. Mobile programs deliver fun, interactive STEM experiences to schools, libraries, and festivals across Northern Virginia. The Lab, a 5,400-square foot, hands-on facility at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, transforms a mall outing into a scientific journey through themed “experience zones” where learners of all ages tinker, build, and experiment. Subsidizing programs in dozens of Title 1 schools in five counties, the Center is dedicated to closing the STEM achievement gap. Next up: building a world-class children’s science center on donated land in Dulles, VA. You can help lay the foundation.

COVID-19 Update: For over a decade, the Center has been addressing the achievement gap among low-income families by providing subsidized STEM programs to Title I schools. Expanding its capacity to deliver virtual STEM, has meant broadening its reach and partnering with social services organizations to serve their clients. This summer the Center served almost 500 virtual summer campers – four times the usual number, 20% in the STEM Starter Scholarship program. This fall and winter, virtual STEM programs continue … and expand.

Headquarters: VA-Fairfax County

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; MD-Statewide; VA-Statewide; VA-Arlington County; VA-Fairfax County; VA-Loudoun County; VA-Prince William County; VA-City of Alexandria; VA-City of Fairfax; VA-City of Falls Church

Age Groups Served: Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17)

Population(s) Served: Not applicable

  • Number of visitors served annually in the Lab and at community programs delivered across the region:   70,000
  • Number of schools served by our traveling hands-on STEM program:   50
  • Number of Title I schools served with a hands-on STEM program at no cost:   30
  • Number of volunteers who work with us annually:   500

Awards & Recognition

- Opened Northern Virginia’s first children’s museum and science center in 2015.
- Raised $3.5M in past six years to support operations, first museum site build-out, and planning for future science center.
- Serve 50 schools across 5+ jurisdictions with outreach programs annually. 40% of those schools are Title I schools served at no charge with supported by awarded grants. Popularity of program has required blind drawing of applicant schools for past 5 years.

- 2017 NonProfit of the Year by the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
- 2016 Non-Profit of the year Finalist by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce
- 2015 STEM Award by Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
- 2015 NAIOP Award of Merit, Interior Retail Project Children’s Science Center Lab
- 2016 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Award


Budget (FY2016)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for Children's Science Center is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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