Massachusetts Nonprofits Use Technology to Improve Services for Individuals With Disabilities

BOSTON - Technology can open up new opportunities and transform lives, especially for individuals with disabilities.  The Verizon Foundation, which is committed to improving access to information and services that address the needs of individuals with disabilities, is awarding grants of $25,000 each to four Massachusetts nonprofit agencies that are dedicated to improving accessibility.

The recipients of the Verizon Assistive Technology grants are: Deaf Community Enterprises Inc., Easter Seals Massachusetts, New England Home for the Deaf and Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center.

  • Deaf Community Enterprises of Quincy will use the funds to develop a comprehensive training program for people who are deaf and blind. The organization also will update its Web site so that it is fully accessible to people who are deaf and blind.

  • Easter Seals Massachusetts will enhance its job training and employment program for people with disabilities.  The program offers vocational evaluations, individualized computer-skills training, and job placement and support services for adults with disabilities.  It also helps businesses identify and hire qualified workers with disabilities.

  • New England Home for the Deaf in Danvers will launch a series of workshops focused on making the Internet a safer place for deaf students and parents of deaf children.   The workshops will be delivered in person and online via video technology in American Sign Language and English.

  • Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center (NEVBRC) in Boston will empower severely disabled veterans and their spouses to secure a job or become self-employed. Through the use of the Internet, the NEVBRC will facilitate live, interactive training classes, counseling and advocacy to patients at national poly-trauma centers, including Walter Reed Army Medical Facility and Bethesda Naval Medical Station, and select VA medical facilities across the United States and its territories.  

"At Verizon, we are focusing on advancing technology and solutions to improve efficiencies and increase access to services for people with disabilities," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  "It is an honor to partner with these organizations that are committed to providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities." 

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

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 63.7 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 has a diverse workforce of nearly 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.