While I won't deny that it is somewhat disappointing that FIRST has not garnered more attention from the general public, your statement couldn't be farther from the truth. FIRST's primary goal is to motivate and inspire the high school students involved to pursue careers in science and technology, and as a participant myself (High school senior and captain of Team 246, BU Overclocked) as far as I can tell FIRST has been VERY successful at achieving it's goals.
According to the website at USFIRST.org, "FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs that build not only science and technology skills and interests, but also self-confidence, leadership, and life skills."
Thousands of the high school students who are coming out of this program, myself included, have found something and have experience in something they love and want to pursue through college and, perhaps, the rest of their lives. FIRST reaches over 10,000 students every year and accomplishes more with regards to high school engineering education than any other program I have heard of. Every year it is growing and, as the article said, attracting the attention of more and more major sponsors. This year, the director of DARPA spoke before the final matches of the Championship event, pledging to become a major sponsor of FIRST over the next few years.
Given all this, I can't think of a way which FIRST *isn't* achieving its goals.