Otter Products employees help make innovative education possible for schools

September 17, 2015

Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of Otter Products, and have been since Curt and Nancy Richardson founded the company more than 15 years ago. Today, their combined passions for making a difference in our community, challenging the status quo and thinking outside of the box are embodied in every single employee at Otter Products..


OtterCares and Otter Products employees believe that providing students with new and innovative ways to learn is crucial in preparing them to be the next generation of inventors, leaders and entrepreneurs. That is why this year’s Get It, Grow It, Give It (G3) Challenge (the Foundation’s annual employee fundraising campaign) focused on raising money to help schools build “Innovation Stations”- unique spaces where students can use hands-on learning materials to invent, explore and create. These spaces are designed to provide an encouraging environment where students can learn how to be successful by experimenting and not being afraid to fail fast and fail forward.

During the G3 Challenge, Otters used a variety of fun and creative fund raising activities to raise more than $114,000 in just over a month. The OtterCares Foundation matched $100,000, making over $214,000 available for the Foundation’s Innovation Station Fund.


Poudre High School receives their Innovation Station grant checks!

Schools awarded the Innovation Station grants were surprised with the help of Otter Products employee volunteers. During a “finalist interview”, each unsuspecting school was surprised with a check to help build their Innovation Stations. Every school expressed their deep appreciation for the grant and the generosity of Otter Products employees. Teachers and administrators commented on their excitement for what the grant will do for their students.

“Middle school is the time to hook students and build their interests and learning pathways,” said Christine Smith, principal at Walt Clark Middle School in Loveland, Colo. “[With the Innovation Station] we want to keep kids at school, keep them doing things. We don’t want it to be where the bell rings, they go home and we see them tomorrow. We want to keep them engaged. We could not be more excited for this opportunity!”

“Our vision goes beyond our school,” said Wayne Thornes, assistant principal at Shepardson Elementary in Fort Collins, Colo. “We want to be a model for other schools to be able to follow.”


Innovation Station grant recipient, Shepardson Elementary

Many teachers and administrators were overwhelmed by the opportunity to have new tools and resources available to help their students expand their horizons and foster their imaginations. “We will now honor OtterCares’ charitable work by creating a Maker Space worthy of our students,” said Veronica Martin, STEAM Magnet Resource teacher at Valencia Park Elementary in San Diego, CA. “The money will go a long way, but knowing that you care and value our students’ futures is what fills our hearts.”

The OtterCares Foundation would like to thank all Otter Products employees for their enthusiasm during this year’s G3 Challenge! Without their support, these Innovation Stations would not be possible.

We would also like to congratulate all of the grant recipients and commend them on their passion and dedication for embracing new and innovative ways to teach students and help prepare them to be the next generation of leaders, inventors and pioneers. We are excited to see what your students create!

To see pictures of the grant recipients, check out our Facebook page!