Nineteen Western Washington Nonprofits Receive Grants From Verizon Foundation

EVERETT, Wash. - Nineteen Puget Sound region organizations have been awarded grants totaling $326,000 from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, to help train workers for new and better jobs and help jump-start the region's stagnant economy.

"Workforce development and technology advancement are keys to economic stimulus in Western Washington," said John Gustafson, external affairs director at Verizon Northwest. "Verizon is committed to help ensure our region has a diverse, competitive workforce and the technological tools to move our economy forward."

In February, nonprofit and educational organizations in the Pacific Northwest were invited to compete for Verizon grants by submitting proposals outlining workforce development and technology programs.

Earlier this month, Verizon awarded the Center for Business and Employment Development a $50,000 grant to support the Snohomish County: Today and Tomorrow project. It will help strengthen and diversify the region's economy by showcasing Snohomish County through various media as a means of attracting new businesses and expanding existing companies in the aerospace, biotechnology, electronics and high-tech manufacturing sectors. Aerospace support includes efforts to encourage The Boeing Company to conduct its 7E7-jetliner assembly in Snohomish County.

Verizon will award its remaining work-force development and technology grants during a special reception tomorrow with the Everett Symphony at the company's Northwest Region headquarters in Everett. At the event, the Everett Symphony Association will receive a $10,000 grant to help fund an interactive and educational Web site that will serve as a learning tool and community resource.

    Additional organizations receiving grants are:

  • Center for Career Alternatives, Everett -- $10,000 for the Youth Opportunity Center, which will offer one-stop access to a variety of educational, employment and social services for at-risk youth.

  • Chinese Information and Referral Service, Seattle -- $20,000 for the Sustaining Job Development Skills Through Technology project, which helps low-income people and immigrants with limited English ability gain new information technology skills and better access to technology. Clients will receive computer and pre-employment training, and job placement and retention services.

  • City Year, Seattle -- $18,000 for creation of workforce training to benefit economically challenged youth. Students will obtain first-time work experience by tutoring at-risk children who need extra help in school. Students will also receive leadership skills, develop career plans and complete vocational preparation classes.

  • Discovery Institute, Seattle -- $25,000 to fund research, writing, lectures and conferences on broadband deployment, and examine federal regulatory policies and other issues of importance to high-tech industries.

  • Everett Area Chamber of Commerce -- $10,000 to develop a new Web site that will provide enhanced information for chamber members and the community, including visitor and relocation information, tools for small businesses and economic development resources.

  • Everett Community College Foundation -- $15,000 to purchase laptop computers for online classes in business technology and accounting. Most of the students in these classes are women with low incomes, and many are also single parents. .

  • Foundation for Private Enterprise Education (Business Week), Olympia -- $5,000 to provide scholarship aid for low-income students and youth with special needs who are attending business education programs offered by the organization.

  • Northwest Small Cities Services, Seattle -- $10,000 to help small municipalities in North Puget Sound better understand technology and conduct technology assessments, including a review of computer hardware and software needs. Funds will also enable small cities to develop community Web sites to boost service delivery and enhance economic development opportunities through the Internet.

  • Npower, Seattle -- $12,000 to provide technology training for area nonprofit organizations. Offered through Verizon Foundation's e-training program, the funds support more than 675 hours of training for more than 90 students who enroll in NPower's technology training programs.

  • Opportunity Council, Bellingham -- $3,000 to erect a self-service kiosk on North Whidbey Island that will provide low-income people with information about job opportunities and community services.

  • Partnership for Learning, Seattle -- $10,000 to create community engagement forums around standards-based school reform efforts and new graduation requirements. Funds are specifically targeted for Everett, Wenatchee and the Tri-Cities.

  • United Way of Snohomish County, Everett -- $45,000 to create Individual Development Accounts program. IDAs are a matched-savings program that encourages low-income people to learn how to save money to achieve important goals. Funds are used to purchase a first home, pay for an education, start up a new business, and break the cycle of poverty. Funding is matched with federal dollars from the Assets for Independence Act.

  • University of Washington Bothell -- $6,000 for a Verizon Diversity Scholarship to help cover tuition and fees for a junior, senior or graduate student from underserved groups. The goal of the scholarship is to retain serious, outstanding students in need of financial aid.

  • University of Washington Women's Center, Seattle -- $12,000 for the Making Connections career development program for women. Students are informed about career and educational opportunities, and they participate in hands-on workshops in math, science and technology.

  • Washington Policy Center, Seattle -- $25,000 to fund a conference for small-business owners and policymakers. Participants will develop solutions to the top barriers to success facing small-business owners in the state. Areas of focus include employment regulations, workers' compensation and unemployment insurance, tax burdens, work-force training, health insurance, environmental regulations and liability and tort reform.

  • Wilderness Technology Alliance, Redmond -- $15,000 for the alliance's technology summer camp at Mt. Rainier National Park. After a character-building backpacking trip, participants complete intensive multimedia training and learn how to teach using the Digital Design multimedia curriculum. Students then produce an advanced Web site that applies their newfound skills. Beginning in the fall semester, most of the trained students and adult teachers will "team-teach" a Web-design class at participating high schools. These classrooms will eventually produce actual Web sites for local low-income organizations.

  • YMCA of Snohomish County, Everett -- $5,000 for its Y-Tech Connect project. Low-income youth, Hispanic families and homeless families will be better prepared for the work force through the access to computer technology provided by this program. Underserved individuals will be connected through programs at the Everett YMCA Teen Center, the Children and Housing Services office and the Monroe Community Technology office. Verizon funds will provide bilingual staff and job-readiness training as well.

  • YMCA of Snohomish County, Marysville -- $15,000 to fund the Ideas 2003 Engineering and Science Summer Camp, a partnership of the YMCA - Minority Achievers Program, Everett Community College and Henry Cogswell College. The camp offers minority students the opportunity to learn about engineering and the sciences through a variety of motivational and innovative mediums. Targeting eighth and ninth grade minority youth, the program features testing, classroom and laboratory instruction and experiences for the participants under the supervision of faculty from both colleges.

Verizon Foundation last year awarded 175 grants totaling more than $1 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies in the Pacific Northwest that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. Nationally, the foundation awarded 22,000 grants totaling more than $70 million. 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 on the foundation, 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.