Verizon Foundation Announces Availability of $25,000 in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education Grants

The Verizon Foundation is helping Rhode Island public schools better prepare students to compete in the 21st century.  Amid the increased focus on student achievement, schools across the state are invited to apply for $25,000 in grants for programs that use the Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity.org to improve students' skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

For the second year, the foundation will award grants of $5,000 each to five public schools to integrate Thinkfinity.org, an online education resource, into the classroom. 

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's comprehensive online portal that offers more than 55,000 educational and literacy resources for teachers, parents and students. Resources include standards-based, grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans and engaging interactive activities provided in partnership with many of the nation's leading educational and literacy organizations.

"In Rhode Island, there is an increased focus in the community to ensure Rhode Island students have a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and math,  preparing them to compete in a global economy," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president of New England.  "Thinkfinity.org is a wonderful tool that educators across the state are using to help our children maximize their educational experience and become strong academic achievers."

More information on the grant process is available at www.verizon.com/ri. Interested public schools should apply by March 15. This is the second year the Verizon Foundation has invited public schools to apply for Thinkfinity grants.  For more information on last year's winners, visit http://newscenter2.verizon.com/press-releases/verizon/2009/rhode-island-public-schools.html.

Since November 2008, the Verizon Foundation has awarded $50,000 to support a partnership with the Rhode Island Network for Educational Technology (RINET) and the Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to train teachers to use Thinkfinity.org in the classroom.  To date, more than 700 teachers have been trained.

The partnership is providing professional development opportunities to teachers statewide through on-site and online training; resources to create a Rhode Island network of Thinkfinity trainers; and a mechanism to ensure that Thinkfinity resources are aligned with the Rhode Island Curriculum Frameworks.  To date, more than 700 teachers throughout the state have been trained to use Thinkfinity in the classroom.

The Thinkfinity Web site offers teachers resources across eight academic disciplines, including science, English and math, to improve student achievement. Thinkfinity.org is designed to help teachers gain access to lesson plans, interactive activities, primary sources, references and other authoritative resources that can be searched by grade level, keyword, subject or resource type.

Content for Verizon Thinkfinity is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation's leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Council for Economic Education, International Reading Association, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.