African American students are underrepresented in computer science in general and more specifically in robotics. Often African American students are motivated to choose a particular field, such as medicine or law, by their desire to improve society. However, African Americans are seldom aware of the tremendous benefits computer science and robotics can make to society in general and to the African American community in particular. We describe an ambitious and innovative alliance centered around educational and research robotics projects, ARTSI: Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact. ARTSI seeks to attract underrepresented students to computer science through robotics curricula and projects that advance society, concentrating on the areas of healthcare, arts and film, and entrepreneurship. The ARTSI Alliance involves seven Research I (R1) institutions, eight historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and a number of industry partners.