Investing in the Future: Ashley Donations Strengthen FIRST® Robotics Programs in Local Schools

ARCADIA, Wis.Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC (Ashley) and Ashley Charitable Foundation (ACF) have made contributions in support of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics initiatives for the 2023-2024 school year. Annually, the awarded funds provide area students with hands-on robotics and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. Since 2017, the organizations’ donations toward FIRST® initiatives have benefitted over 1,250 students in North Carolina, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In addition to a monetary donation, Ashley provides ongoing support to the Trempealeau County Robotics (TC Robotics) team who compete head-to-head with robots they have designed, built and programmed throughout the year. TC Robotics is comprised of high school students from Arcadia, Cochrane-Fountain City and Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Wisconsin schools and has been mentored and coached for the past seven years by Ashley employees. The team ended their season as the number one team in Wisconsin and 80th worldwide

In North Carolina, ACF supported the Queen City Robotics Alliance (QRCA), an organization that provides students with mentorship and programs that focus on skill-based learning and technology. The donated funds will grow the local FIRST® Robotics team and give area students an opportunity for competitive learning experiences

"Education is the catalyst that propels us towards a brighter future. By investing in initiatives like FIRST® Robotics and providing hands-on STEM education, we are equipping the next generation with the skills they need to succeed in an ever-evolving workforce,” stated Todd Wanek, President and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries. “We believe in the power of education to unlock limitless potential, and we are proud to support programs that inspire and empower young minds."  

The mission of FIRST® is to provide life-changing robotics programs that give young people the skills, confidence and resilience to build a better world. FIRST® prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured after school programs.

"In today's rapidly advancing and highly competitive landscape, STEM education is more important than ever. It is the foundation where innovation, growth and success are built,” stated Ron Wanek, Founder and Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries. “We recognize the critical role that STEM plays in preparing individuals for the workforce of tomorrow. STEM education initiatives like FIRST® Robotics hone the talent and passion of the next generation.”

Ashley is proud to continuously support education efforts and create meaningful educational partnerships that add value to our communities. By providing opportunities to these students, they can be prepared for a future filled with possibility, resilience and a drive to build a better world.


Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC (Ashley) feels that every person deserves more value for their money. Established in 1945, Ashley is the largest manufacturer of home furnishings in the world and strives to be the most innovative and competitive home furnishings company on the planet. From design through fulfillment, Ashley is committed to delivering the world’s best home furnishing values, selection and service, and earning the loyalty and trust of its customers every day. Visit Ashley online at and “like” Ashley Furniture rel="noopener noreferrer" Industries on Facebook.   

Ashley Charitable Foundation (ACF) is a non-profit organization founded by Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC. The foundation is committed to supporting various charitable causes, including education, health and wellness, and community development initiatives. ACF aims to make a positive impact on the community by providing financial support, volunteerism, and other resources to organizations that share its values. The foundation is dedicated to creating a better future for individuals and families in need, and to improving the quality of life in the communities it serves.

FIRST® is a robotics community that prepares young people for the future through a suite of inclusive, team-based robotics programs for ages 4-18 (PreK-12) that can be facilitated in school or in structured afterschool programs. Boosted by a global support system of volunteers, educators, and sponsors that include over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies, teams operate under a signature set of FIRST Core Values to conduct research, fundraise, design, build, and showcase their achievements during annual challenges. An international not-for-profit organization founded rel="noopener noreferrer" by accomplished inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, FIRST has a proven impact on STEM learning, interest, and skill-building well beyond high school. Alumni of FIRST programs gain access to exclusive scholarships, internships, rel="noopener noreferrer" and other opportunities that create connections and open pathways to a wide variety of careers. Learn more at

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