In keeping with its quarter-of-a-century tradition of supporting community schools, Ecolab Inc. has awarded $710,000 in grants to teachers through the Ecolab Foundation’s 2012 Visions for Learning grant program, with $190,000 distributed to educators in the St. Paul area. More than 230 schools and thousands of students nationwide benefited from the Visions for Learning program this year. “Education is the cornerstone of a strong community, and a focus of Ecolab’s community giving initiatives,” said Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab chairman and chief executive officer. “Ecolab consistently supports educational initiatives to help today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders. Our Visions for Learning grant program provides teachers with funds to obtain additional classroom materials to help students in grades K-12 achieve their learning goals.” Visions for Learning grants are awarded by the Ecolab Foundation to K-12 teachers to support and engage students, helping to augment basic skills instruction and enrich their classroom experience. Projects funded this year include handheld digital microscopes for interactive scientific investigations, a classroom set of percussion instruments to enhance student hands-on musical experiences, chemistry lab kits, social studies texts and independent reading books focused on diverse cultures and communities. "Saint Paul Public Schools students are so fortunate to have had the support of Ecolab for many years," said Superintendent Valeria Silva. "Ecolab understands that all parts of the community must work together to ensure the strength and effectiveness of our public schools." Since 1986, Ecolab has distributed $9.2 million through its Visions for Learning grant program to schools throughout the country. The Ecolab Foundation contributes to the quality of life in the communities where the company operates, supporting organizations and programs that strengthen and enrich the community, focusing on youth and education, civic and community development, arts and culture, and the environment and conservation. In 2012, the Ecolab Foundation will contribute more than $5 million to organizations and programs in communities where Ecolab associates live and work.