This week Intel was faced with an interesting PR challenge when it announced the decision to end a 20-year relationship with the Science Talent Search program – the nation’s oldest science fair for high school students. Sure, at first blush it might look like abandon ship, but the reality is we should applaud and thank Intel for 20 years of support — and the $120M+ over two decades of sponsorship cash. What a generous and appropriately themed cause that must be a great source of pride to those at Intel.

After reading the accomplishments of this program what a blue print of success for others interested in grooming future generations of technology and science leaders. Since 1947, the organization (started by Westinghouse) has minted 8 Nobel laureates and a dozen+ MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ recipients. Seems to me there are so many organizations that would value the opportunity to get involved and co-lead the efforts of annual sponsorship.

Locally here in Boston, Raytheon (the defense contractor) has created “MathCounts” supporting ‘math programs’ to elementary school aged children. Sure, math is core to all things Raytheon develops like missile defense systems and James Bond’s future space ship!

Without a doubt, self-serving investments in future generations is appropriate and necessary. Kudos to industry leaders for stepping up and answering the bell when others don’t or can’t.