Inland Northwest Nonprofit Agencies Get Boost From Verizon For Work Force Development, Technology Projects

PULLMAN, Wash. - Work force development programs that promote economic growth and jobs and serve low-income, minority and disadvantaged people in North Idaho, the Palouse and the Spokane area are being funded through grants from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications. Several public schools and charitable agencies will also receive grants from the company for computers, software and technical training.

In all, 14 nonprofit agencies and schools will share more than $100,000 in grants from Verizon.

The grants will be presented Oct. 3 during a reception at the new Palouse Discovery

Science Center in Pullman. Each grant will be at least $2,500, with the science center receiving the largest award, $15,000. The University of Idaho will receive three grants totaling nearly $23,500.

"Work force development and technology advancement are keys to economic stimulus in the region," said John Gustafson, Verizon external affairs director. "Verizon is committed to ensuring that our region has a diverse, competitive work force and the technological tools to move our economy forward."

In February, nonprofit and educational organizations in Washington, Idaho and Oregon were invited to compete for the Verizon grants by submitting proposals outlining work force development and technology programs.

Major grants awarded by the company in the Inland Northwest:

  • Camas Institute, Usk (near Spokane) -- $10,000 to support the organization's Community and Technology Skills (CaTS) program, which provides basic technology training and job skills to indigent Native Americans, with the goal of helping break the cycle of poverty and dependence.

  • Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Library -- $2,500 to help purchase a laptop computer, software and projection equipment. The equipment will be used for an array of programs benefiting youth and adults, including computer and Internet instruction, library orientation and city council presentations.

  • Coeur d'Alene School District -- $10,000 to purchase software for handheld devices that will permit administrators to access student records from the district database anywhere on campus.

  • Gritman Medical Center, Moscow -- $5,000 to buy and install an electronic WanderGuard system, an advanced security feature that will keep patients with dementia from wandering into unsafe areas.

  • Idaho Business Week -- $1,400 to provide scholarships to five North Idaho high school students for a one-week summer course on the basics of the free enterprise system. The course is taught at Boise State University.

  • Idaho Community Resources, Coeur d'Alene -- $10,000 to support the Jobs Plus program. Jobs Plus has a strong record of expanding and diversifying the economic and employment base in Kootenai County through recruitment of new businesses.

  • Kinderhaven, Sandpoint -- $2,834 to purchase computer equipment and software for this shelter for victims of domestic violence. The technology will facilitate better record keeping and communication for staff, and residents will use it for Internet access.

  • Mullan Community Foundation, Mullan -- $3,454 for a laptop computer, digital projector and other needs to enable community users to create and present digital programs and projects.

  • North Idaho College Foundation, Coeur d'Alene -- $7,500 to fund the Got A Year? Get A Career program, which will promote the employment and economic opportunities available through professional-technical programs at NIC. The program will be geared primarily to non-college-bound high school seniors, recently displaced workers, and adults who are dependent on government programs.

  • Palouse Discovery Science Center, Pullman -- $15,000 to support Communication Technology Across The Spectrum, a variety of hands-on exhibits that demonstrate the roles that light, color, electricity and magnetism play in communication technology.

  • Post Falls Middle School -- $5,000 to purchase several new PCs for the school's under-equipped computer lab. Students will use the computers for Power Point presentations, reports, projects, newsletter production and other assignments.

  • Sandpoint High School -- $3,500 for software instruction to enable teachers to create and post Web pages with a variety of information that students and parents can access at will.

  • University of Idaho Foundation, Moscow -- $8,468 to support the JEMS program, a two-week summer workshop designed to encourage high school juniors and seniors, particularly women and minorities, to consider careers in engineering, math or science; $5,000 for the Verizon Scholars program, providing scholarships for Native Americans, Asian and African-American students seeking careers in computer science or other engineering disciplines; and $10,000 for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, to assist talented student musicians while supporting an event that provides a multimillion-dollar economic boost to the Palouse each year.

  • Washington State University Foundation, Pullman -- $10,000 to support College Knowledge For Adults, which uses satellite downlink sites around the state to help adults start or complete their college degree while living in their local communities. Primary beneficiaries of this distance-degree program are adults moving from welfare to work or seeking job retraining opportunities.

  • Overall this year in the Northwest, Verizon is donating about $1 million in grants and sponsorships that focus primarily on literacy, technology, economic development and work force development programs. Earlier this year, the company awarded $30,000 in literacy grants to North Idaho nonprofit agencies and invested $5,000 in the Festival at Sandpoint.

    Nationally, Verizon Foundation awards grants totaling more than $70 million per year to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer more than 500,000 hours in their communities and provided $27.8 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

    Verizon Communications

    A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.