Local, Park Forest, Schools

Southland Community Awarded $1,000,000 Donation from Amazon to Support STEM Education

group photo of school officials accepting oversized checks from Amazon
Representatives from Districts 227 and 159 accept a $1M grant from Amazon (Photo Global 360 Marketing)

MATTESON, ILLINOIS-(ENEWSPF)- Dr. Johnnie Thomas, Superintendent of Rich Township High School District 227 and Dr. Mable Alfred, Superintendent of Schools for Elementary School District 159, were joined on February 22 by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle,  Amazon Community Engagement Senior Manager Sarah Glavin, and other elected officials, in celebration of a combined one-million-dollar donation from Amazon to focus on growing the STEM programs within the districts. 

“We are very appreciative of Amazon and their commitment to our communities.” said Superintendent of Schools for Elementary School District 159, Dr. Mable Alfred.

“We are grateful to our elected officials who support our on-going efforts to ensure that our students are 21st Century learners,” said Dr. Johnnie Thomas.

“Amazon believes it is critical to think long-term about our role in the communities where we operate and that’s why we’re proud to make this investment in Southland schools,” said Sarah Glavin, Senior Manager of Community Engagement for Amazon. “Growing the STEM programs in these communities will not only prepare students for the next stage of their education, but also give them critical and highly-valued workplace skills.”

Conversations started in January 2021 with Amazon to enhance the educational experiences through a donation to increase the success within the different career pathways for both district 159 and district 227 students.

The funding from Amazon to Matteson School District 159 will support the ongoing construction of a state-of-art STEM building. Located just south of Colin Powell Middle School, the STEM center will include a Makers Lab, Aerospace and Atmospheric Science Lab, robotics, and flight stimulation. The district will also implement the National Air and Space Education curriculum.

Rich Township High School District 227 will use the funding from Amazon to support ongoing renovations of its STEM campus. Outfitted with a new manufacturing wing and equipped with new industrial robots and state-of-art industry standard equipment. This newly renovated space will enhance curricular offerings to include Project Lead the Way, Principles of Engineering, Introduction to Engineering Design, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing.