More Verizon Customers in Maryland Can Now 'Check Into Literacy'

BALTIMORE - Verizon customers in Maryland now can use their phone bills to support literacy and make a difference in the lives of their neighbors in the state.

A Verizon program, called "Check Into Literacy," allows customers to make a $1 tax-deductible donation each month to Verizon Reads, a public charity established by Verizon and committed to promoting literacy throughout the United States. Verizon Reads will distribute all Maryland customers' donations to literacy organizations in that state.

Verizon will add $1 to the total amount on the monthly statements of customers who participate in the program. Customers can contact their local Verizon business office to sign up for the program.

"Verizon is America's literacy champion," said William R. Roberts, president of Verizon Maryland. "The ability to read, write and communicate is a fundamental formula for success. Working together, we can change the lives of our neighbors who have low or no literacy skills."

According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 92 million adults in the United States have low literacy skills. They can read, but not well enough to fill out applications, read food labels or simple stories to their children.

"By increasing literacy skills, we're giving people the tools to help them find and keep decent jobs, support their children's education and contribute actively in our communities," said Roberts.

Verizon is championing literacy in America through its philanthropy and other support of efforts to improve literacy in the communities it serves. The company recognizes that economic growth and business success depend on having a skilled and literate workforce. Through Verizon Reads, the company works to link literacy experts across the nation to create a more literate America. Verizon donated more than $17 million last year to support literacy causes.

GTE, which merged with Bell Atlantic to form Verizon, launched the Check Into Literacy program in 1999. Since then, the program - now available in 27 states and Washington, D.C. - has raised nearly $600,000 from customer donations for the cause of literacy.

Customers who want to make a one-time contribution or donate more than $1 a month can go online at www.SuperPages.com and access Log on to Literacy.

Verizon - America's Literacy Champion

Through its signature program, Verizon Reads, the company works to increase community and corporate awareness of the insidious effects of low literacy on individuals and communities.

Verizon raises funds, encourages collaboration among literacy providers and promotes employee volunteerism in support of literacy programs around the country. Visit www.verizonreads.net to learn more about Verizon's commitment to literacy and to find resources and literacy volunteer opportunities.

Verizon Communications

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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.