American Association of People With Disabilities Presents Verizon With 'Justice For All Award'

WASHINGTON -- In recognition of Verizon's leadership in serving the needs of people with disabilities, the American Association of People with Disabilities honored the company with a 2003 "Justice for All Award" during a ceremony here last night on the 13th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Verizon is a company that 'gets' all aspects of what we want companies to get in the area of disability," said Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of the association.

"Verizon understands that: "We're a large market -- and they market to us in innovative ways. We're a pool of talent -- and they recruit and cultivate employees with disabilities. Products and services need to be designed to work for the entire disability community -- and they have a universal design policy, which is unusual in the corporate world."

Kathy Brown, senior vice president -- public policy development at Verizon, said in accepting the award on behalf of the company, "I am proud to be a part of the Verizon team because it is a company that recognizes the deep value and commitment of ensuring that all of its customers are really served well. I'm delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Verizon employees who make such service possible."

Verizon is a leader in serving the communications needs of people with disabilities. Here are a few examples: Verizon's Center for Customers with Disabilities, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2002, serves customers throughout New England and New York. The center's staff assists customers with basic and optional phone services as well as relay services using text telephones, phones bill in large type or Braille and specialized phone equipment.

Verizon publishes an online newsletter geared to the interests of the company's 4.9 million customers with disabilities. Called "Forward Access," the quarterly newsletter provides updates on technology for people with disabilities; government policies on accessibility; information on the use of telephone equipment; and links to helpful Web sites such as the American Association for People with Disabilities.

Just this year the company launched a national campaign to promote careers in Braille textbook-transcribing at the federal and state levels and to raise general awareness of the needs of blind and visually impaired schoolchildren for timely access to textbooks and learning materials. The campaign is a part of Verizon Reads, the umbrella organization for Verizon's support of improving literacy in America.

The 2003 Justice for All Awards were presented to five individuals and one corporation (Verizon). The American Association of People with Disabilities said each award-recipient has made extraordinary contributions to the political and economic empowerment of children and adults with disabilities.

The American Association of People with Disabilities is the largest national nonprofit cross-disability member organization in the United States, dedicated to ensuring economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for the more than 56 million Americans with disabilities. For more information on AAPD, visit www.aapd.com.

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and
33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.