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Verizon Donates $50,000 to Support STEM Education

The Education Foundation’s Public School Proud Grant Program received a substantial boost from Verizon. The national telecommunications company recently donated $50,000 to promote learning in STEM-related fields—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The donation is the single largest, one-time gift the Education Foundation has received.

“Technology is transforming careers in all sectors, and with this grant, we can give students hands-on, immersive experiences in the classroom,” said Allison Struck, executive director of the Education Foundation. “Half of the grants we’ve awarded in the last three years have been for STEM materials. Because of Verizon’s incredible generosity, we’ll be able to give more students an opportunity to explore, build, and create using materials like drones, robotics kits, VR headsets, simulation mannequins, 3D printers, and more,” she said.

Verizon executives announced the contribution during a news conference last month. They were in Sioux Falls that day to also announce that the Sioux Falls community is one of about 20 cities in the United States that is getting 5G mobile communications service. 5G is short for the fifth generation of cellular network technology.

As well at Verizon executive Craig Silliman, the news conference featured Mayor Paul TenHaken and U.S. Sen. John Thune. The event included a demonstration of 5G data-transmission speed near one of several new small cell poles in downtown Sioux Falls.

Silliman, the executive vice president of Verizon, said that in addition to investing in Sioux Falls’ infrastructure, the company wanted to invest in people. “As part of our investment in Sioux Falls, we wanted to invest in education,” he said. “We never want to forget the people.”

Colorado-based Eli Veenendaal, director of state government affairs for Verizon, said the telecommunications company has been impressed by the mission and creativity of the Education Foundation. “We’re excited to see what happens with the money,” he said.