Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley
The Noyce Foundation was created by the Noyce family in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Robert N. Noyce, co-founder of Intel and inventor of the integrated circuit which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name.
Although he was an individual of daunting talents and intellect who was honored by two presidents as well as his academic and industry peers around the world, Bob Noyce also remained a humble and approachable man who believed fervently in democracy. In everything the Noyce Foundation undertakes, we are committed to promoting the qualities that Bob Noyce embodied: optimism, creativity, risk taking, and determination.
A central challenge of any society is preparing its children to move forward to productive, responsible, and satisfying lives. This is especially complicated now given the rapid structural change in our economy, the domestic and global fiscal challenges, and the infusion of technology into every aspect of our lives.
As a result of the huge challenges that our society faces in helping children move to maturity, the Noyce Foundation has broadened the statement of its mission as follows.
The overriding goal of the Noyce Foundation is to help adults guide young people into productive lives.
Research shows that young people are much more likely to try to learn and retain challenging core subjects like math, science, and critical reading if they are exposed to and engaged in these topics in a variety of ways. While these kinds of experiences happen in good classrooms, they also occur outside of school time – whether in the sciences, the arts, or structured “work-based learning.” A wide range of engaging learning opportunities in school, as well as in home and out-of-school environments should be available to all kids so that they can develop academic and interpersonal skills and competencies. However, since so many kids who do not thrive educationally live in challenging home environments and attend schools that are neither stimulating nor purposeful, they need to have access to learning opportunities in other environments that are engaging, challenging, and interesting.
To develop knowledge, skills, and interests, youth need more than just school time. They also need afterschool time and summer time pursuing interests in the company of competent and supportive adults. Engaging summer activities are particularly important as the many kids who simply stop any kind of learning activity in the summer lose both knowledge and the habits of mind that engaged learning requires.
We seek to build effective supports in designed environments for adults who are seeking to guide children’s healthy social and intellectual development.
A critical experience for young people is significant time with supportive adults in activities that are interesting so they learn the value and pleasure of deep dives into subject matter, whether math, science projects, chess, birding, or the arts. These experiences build habits of work, belief in their own efficacy, and persistence skills that all kids, and especially those from low-income backgrounds, need to develop so they can navigate the range of environments that will face them as they mature.