$60,000 Verizon Grant To Support Library Centers

NEW YORK -- The Verizon Foundation and the Mid-Hudson Library System announced today a $60,000 grant to fund Electronic Fundraising Information Centers.

The project is designed to enhance access to electronic resources for community arts and human services agencies. The Verizon Foundation is a pioneer in the use of the Internet to reach out to local communities and other interested parties to help with fundraising efforts. However, many of the potential beneficiaries of the outreach effort may not have the necessary technology available to them to tap into the foundation's resources.

"Verizon has a long history of reaching out to the communities we serve to offer financial and technological assistance to various organizations," said Marion Mittler, Verizon community relations director for northeastern New York. "The library's information centers will help us extend this reach to groups that might otherwise go unnoticed."

The Mid-Hudson Library System (MHLS), which represents a geographically diverse population with both urban and rural features, will support its member libraries in Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Putnam and Ulster counties to offer the most economical access to electronic information resources. Fundraising Information Center (FIC) libraries have already been established in many communities served by the MHLS, including: Beacon, Chatham, Cairo, Mahopac and Marlboro. These centers were originally funded by Library Service and Technology Act (LSYA) funds awarded to MHLS by the New York State Library for the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Service in 1999.

"We are pleased with Verizon's commitment to the communities in the Hudson Valley," said Joshua Cohen, Executive Director of the Mid-Hudson Library System. "We hope other organizations will step forward to join Verizon in making this effort a success."

This project is designed to emphasize the collaboration and cooperation among the library system's five remote sites and the central site to share electronic resources, such as databases and customized web sites and expertise through web-based conferencing, much like another current initiative at the system.

The enhanced electronic fundraising information centers at the five community libraries will fill a gap in service to local arts and human services agencies seeking funding information primarily accessible online, as well as provide access to online grant application requirements. The centers also will implement a supportive network of partners for fundraising and grant-making resources and expertise through technologies such as video conferencing, document sharing, and online discussions.

Interviews and surveys of targeted community non-profit organizations reveal a need for this type of funding information and training. Public libraries have historically been identified as a gateway to information, making them a logical choice for this need to be met.

Verizon Foundation supports programs that create innovative e-solutions, help bridge the digital divide, foster basic and computer literacy, help enrich our communities, and create a skilled workforce. Verizon Foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. For more information on Verizon Foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation on the Internet.