NAACP Receives $500,000 Challenge Grant From The Bell Atlantic Foundation

NAACP Receives $500,000 Challenge
From The Bell Atlantic Foundation

November 16, 1999


John C. White/Sheila Douglas,


Michael Kornfeld,
Bell Atlantic


BALTIMORE, Md. -- The Bell Atlantic Foundation has offered a
$500,000 challenge grant to the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People (NAACP) to improve the Association's Internet-based
communications system.

These funds will help enable the nation's oldest and largest civil rights
organization to more effectively communicate with its network of 2,200
branches, units and chapters across The United States, according to Kweisi
Mfume, the NAACP's president and CEO.

"Effective communication, as well as efficient data management and
maintenance, is critical in helping the NAACP carry out its core
mission," says Mfume. "The Bell Atlantic Foundation's
challenge grant will help ensure the successful
implementation of a communications network structure that will help us
better communicate with our units and enhance the organization's reach
with all minority-interested nonprofit groups. Many equal opportunity
foes use information technology and the Internet to further their cause, so
it's critical that the NAACP upgrade its systems."

Echoing those remarks, Bell Atlantic Foundation President Suzanne
DuBose says: "At a time when online voices of prejudice are
proliferating, we at Bell Atlantic are committed to helping organizations
like the NAACP use the Internet to promote racial and ethnic tolerance
and equality." Announcing the first installment of $250,000 toward
the grant during a recent NAACP Board of Directors meeting in
Baltimore, DuBose said: "This grant is part of Bell Atlantic's
commitment to helping the NAACP eradicate the digital divide in the
minority community."

"By extending the power of the Internet to its vast network of
affiliates and making more effective use of information technology, the
NAACP will take a big step toward bringing more people into the digital
future," says DuBose, who also serves on the board of directors for
the NAACP Special Contributions Fund.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation's contribution and matching corporate
contributions now being sought will be used to upgrade the NAACP's
information technology infrastructure so as to place it at the forefront of
strategic advocacy and office automation for the 21st century, says Mfume.
This will enable the national office to improve links with regional offices
and to better expand the range and scope of its initiatives, he notes.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation grant and other corporate contributions also
will be
used to network all computer systems within the NAACP headquarters,
the Washington bureau and the organization's seven regional offices, says
Mfume. The NAACP also plans to build a platform for becoming an in-
house network Internet Service Provider.

Mfume and NAACP Chairman Julian Bond believe an improved computer
network is essential if the NAACP is to continue to pursue its goal of
protecting and enhancing the civil rights of African Americans and other
minorities in the new millennium.

Founded in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People (NAACP) is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights
organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout The
United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in
their communities, conducting voter registration drives and monitoring
equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation supports a variety of projects domestically
and internationally, with an emphasis on new technology applications in
education, health and human services, the arts and humanities and civic
development in the communities served by Bell Atlantic. For more
information, visit www.bellatlanticfoundation.com on the Internet.

PHOTOS available upon request.