Clariant at California Community Center | Photo by @louisvillemayor

A new after-school and summer-break STEM club at the California Community Center has been created with a $75,000 grant from a North Carolina-based chemical company, Clariant, which has offices in Louisville, including in the California neighborhood.

The program, Moving Forward Through STEM, will serve second and third graders from Phillis Wheatley Elementary School who attend programs at the center.

The company, which describes itself as a world leader in specialty chemicals, collaborated with Louisville Metro Council Councilman David James, D-6, the school and Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation Department to put this program in place for at-risk students who live in the neighborhood. The first cohort will explore meteorology.

Mayor Greg Fischer said that Clariant has partnered with Wheatley Elementary School for more than 25 years.

“This is an extension of the investment Clariant has made for decades to support the youth of the California community through its partnership with Family Resource Center of Phillis Wheatley Elementary School,” according to a release. Past investments have included donations of school supplies, food and gifts at the holidays, as well as employee volunteerism.

Dr. Deepak Parikh, region head of Clariant North America, was on hand to present the check Tuesday afternoon. He said, “The best gift you can give is education.” He described an apprenticeship program that the company has with Central High School. When students complete the program successfully, they have jobs waiting for them at Clariant. They can work and go to college and even earn scholarship money from the company, he said.

Stefan Brejc, a director at Clariant, said: “We want to help develop a foundation for education in the community where we operate. We are excited to offer this support to children who live in Louisville’s California community, which is nearby our facilities, and we look forward to seeing these young minds flourish.”

Fischer praised the executive officers of Clariant who were in attendance and the company. He called it a “compassionate company” and reiterated how much it had done over the years in the community.

“You guys just take care of business,” Mayor Fischer said of Clariant.

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