$250,000 Verizon Grant Will Help Create Greater Opportunities for California's African-American-Owned Businesses

LOS ANGELES - Verizon Tuesday (March 18) presented a $250,000 grant that will create greater opportunities for African-American-owned companies to serve as suppliers to major corporations throughout California.

The grant funds the creation of the African-American Supplier Engagement Collaboration, a consortium whose members include the National Black Business Council, the California Black Chamber of Commerce and the Black Business Association.

"The consortium will further strengthen Verizon's relationship with businesses owned by African-Americans," said Tim McCallion, Verizon's West region president. "The program will create new opportunities for California corporations to develop enduring partnerships with African-American-owned companies, based on a solid value proposition for all involved."

The initiatives of the African-American Supplier Engagement Collaboration include:

  • Developing step-by-step instructions to guide participating African-American-owned businesses through the request-for-proposal process.

  • Providing a template showing African-American-owned businesses ways in which they, in turn, can engage African-American-owned businesses as second-tier contractors.

  • Increasing the number of African-American-owned businesses listed in the California Public Utilities Commission clearinghouse by developing resources to help applicants navigate the certification process.

"This strategic partnership between several powerful African-American trade associations broadens access to performance-based inclusion contracts and promotes the growth of sustainable jobs and wealth," said Mary Ann Mitchell, chair of the National Black Business Council. "We attach high importance to Verizon's contribution, as it benefits community transformation."

Verizon announced the grant Tuesday at a ceremony at the California African-American History Museum, where speakers included California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy Simon and Assemblyman Curren Price Jr.

Price said: "The fundamental duty of government is to provide a broad range of services for the people, and public resources are not always adequate. It is imperative that we rely on private businesses to be substantive partners on projects that support the public good.

"This is especially important where small businesses are concerned, as their growth and success is paramount for the state's success; while the small business is providing a much-needed service to the public, the state is serving the public good by supporting small businesses."

The grant continues Verizon's longstanding commitment to creating diversity among its suppliers and promoting the prosperity of the communities where it does business. In 2007, for example, Verizon spent more than $157 million in California with minority, women and disabled veteran business enterprises.

About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 66 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.