Bell Atlantic Donates $25,000 to Providence Reads In Support of "BookPass" Literacy Program

Bell Atlantic Donates $25,000 to Providence Reads
In Support of "BookPass" Literacy Program

Mayor Cianci Reads Dr. Seuss' "Hop on Pop" for Audience of Children

March 2, 1999


Stephanie Hobbs,

Doreen Picozzi

Office of Mayor Cianci

401-421-7740 ext. 222

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- In a ceremony officiated by Providence Mayor
Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages this morning presented
a $25,000 donation to Providence Reads to fund its citywide "BookPass"
literacy program. Following the ceremony, which was held in the library
of the Asa Messer Elementary School, Mayor Cianci read Dr. Seuss'
children's book Hop on Pop to an audience of students from the school.

Mary Jo Howe, vice president of marketing and customer care for Bell
Atlantic Yellow Pages, presented the donation to Mayor Cianci, Robert
DeRobbio, Acting School Superintendent, and Terri Adelman, Executive
Director of Volunteers in Providence Schools, who jointly accepted the
gift on behalf of Providence Reads.

The Providence BookPass program is designed to help children read
independently by the third grade. The program motivates students to read
by rewarding them with a free book after they have completed 10 books
by children's author Dr. Seuss. Students receive a BookPass sticker for
each book they read. The BookPass program, which will be implemented
by 80 volunteers, will benefit more than 2,000 children in the Providence

"Bell Atlantic Yellow Pages created the BookPass program as part of our
company-wide support of children's literacy efforts," said Howe. "We are
impressed with the level of enthusiasm and commitment to improving
children's literacy in Providence, as demonstrated by Mayor Cianci and
Providence Reads, and the many volunteers who will implement the
program in the Providence schools."

"The BookPass program is built on the foundation that a child's ability to
read well is a passport to success,v added Mayor Cianci. "With Bell
Atlantic's generous donation, we are ensuring that the motivators for
reading are there at an early age. By encouraging reading we promote
learning; that is why the BookPass program is so promising, and why Bell
Atlantic's support is so valuable to the future of Providence schools."

The BookPass program will be coordinated by Volunteers in Providence
Schools, the Mayor's Office and the Providence Public School System.
Other partners in the collaborative effort include: Parents Making a
Difference, The Public Education Fund, The Rhode Island Foundation,
The Feinstein Foundation, Rhode Island Reads, and Reading is

Bell Atlantic is the world's largest publisher of Yellow Pages shopping
directories. Its affiliate, Bell Atlantic Electronic Commerce Services, is
the creator of BigYellowSM, a leading national online shopping service.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With more than 42 million telephone access lines
and 8.6 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies
are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets,
with operations and investments in 23 countries.