12.16.1998Corporate

Partnership between Bell Atlantic, Small Business Administration to Create New Opportunities for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses


Partnership between Bell Atlantic, Small
Business Administration to Create New
Opportunities for Minority- and Women-
Owned Businesses

Company Will Increase Supplier Diversity Initiative to
$1.88 Billion in Next Two Years


December 16, 1998





Media
contact:

Susan Butta,
202-336-7883


WASHINGTON -- At a White House meeting today with Vice
President Gore and CEOs from some of the nation's leading corporations
and small businesses, Bell Atlantic announced a major new agreement
with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) designed to increase
the company's direct purchases and subcontracting from businesses owned
by minorities and women.

Under the agreement, Bell Atlantic will increase its spending and
subcontracting from such businesses from $640 million today to $880
million in 1999 and $1 billion by the end of the year 2000.

This partnership is designed to assist and support the success of
minority- and women-owned businesses as they compete for contracts
from Bell Atlantic. It also supports the Clinton Administration's new
BusinessLINC initiative, a public/private partnership between the federal
government and America's business community formed to encourage large
businesses to work with and mentor small businesses and entrepreneurs,
especially in distressed areas and cities.

The meeting was the second in a series of White House Business
and Entrepreneurial Roundtables that the Vice President is holding on
various roles the private sector can play in supporting cities and distressed
communities. Today's meeting, which also was attended by Secretary of
the Treasury Robert Rubin and Small Business Administrator Aida
Alvarez, focused on discussing effective ways for businesses to help
support and expand the BusinessLINC initiative.

"Our economy today is now stronger than it is has been in a
generation. As a result, businesses like Bell Atlantic across our nation are
being presented with new opportunities to invest in emerging markets
right here at home in America", said Vice President Gore. "BusinessLINC
calls upon America's large businesses to forge new partnerships with - and
to make a wise investment in -- our small businesses and entrepreneurs so
that both our large and small businesses will become more competitive in
the new economy. I am pleased by Bell Atlantic's commitment to increase
its use of smaller, entrepreneurial businesses in the telecommunications
industry, especially by working with minority- and women-owned firms."

"Bell Atlantic is committed to diversity in all our business
practices - from our employees and suppliers to the consumers and
neighborhoods we serve," said Ivan Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic chairman-
elect and chief executive officer. "This unique partnership with the SBA
will give us additional opportunities to tap the talent of these outstanding
resources."

Under the agreement between Bell Atlantic and the SBA:

- Bell Atlantic will focus on targeting more opportunities for
minority-, veteran-, disabled- and women-owned businesses in
specific areas, such as information security, central office
engineering, legal services, technology training and network
management and operations.

- Bell Atlantic will sponsor three executives from minority- and
women-owned businesses for a formal minority business
executive program in each of the partnership's two years.

- SBA will provide Bell Atlantic's prime suppliers with a list of
minority- and women-owned businesses that are certified for
subcontracting opportunities.

- SBA will appoint a business opportunity specialist from the
Office of Minority Enterprise Development to act as a resource
and identify minority- and women-owned business enterprises
for Bell Atlantic procurement opportunities.

"Bell Atlantic has a long history of commitment to diversity and,
like the SBA, believes there are opportunities to expand the participation
of smaller firms in the telecommunications industry. Partnerships such as
this will enable minority- and women-owned firms to grow and to form
strategic alliances with larger telecommunications companies," said Aida
Alvarez, Administrator of the SBA.

A Long-Standing Commitment to Diversity

Bell Atlantic provides equal opportunity to all its suppliers. The
company's existing diversity supplier program seeks to ensure that
minority- and women-owned businesses receive realistic opportunities to
participate in the telecommunications industry. Through the program,
Bell Atlantic aims to support these suppliers' economic development
efforts and improve its own business while purchasing needed products
and services from them at competitive rates.

In addition, Bell Atlantic's commitment to diversity goes far
beyond its supplier program. More than a quarter of the corporation's
employees are minorities and 44.5 percent are women. Both minorities
and women are well represented in management positions.

And approximately $28 million of the Bell Atlantic Foundation's
$33 million budget benefits minorities through philanthropic programs for
schools, libraries and other community-based organizations.

Note: There will be a call in news briefing this morning to discuss the
joint Bell Atlantic/SBA initiative at 11:00 with Administrator Alvarez,
CEO Seidenberg and Earl Scott, president of Dynatech, a minority
owned contractor for Bell Atlantic. The call in number for the briefing
is 800-530-9010.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Two attached fact sheets provide more information
on the Bell Atlantic/SBA partnership and Bell Atlantic's commitment to
diversity.)

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and
information industry. With 42 million telephone access lines and eight
million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory
information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest
investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations
and investments in 23 countries.



The Bell Atlantic/ U.S. Small Business Administration
Partnership


Creating New Opportunities for Minority and Women-
Owned Businesses

Bell Atlantic and the U.S. Small Business Administration are joining efforts to
increase direct purchases and subcontracting from minority and women-owned
businesses. The two-year Bell Atlantic/SBA pilot program will allow the company
to significantly increase its existing supplier diversity program. The SBA also will
be able to use the alliance as a model for other corporations.

Key Highlights

> Bell Atlantic will establish an aggressive plan to foster the growth and
increase the use of minority and women-owned businesses.

- Bell Atlantic will target $1.88 billion in contract awards for direct
purchasing and subcontracting to minority and women-owned businesses
between 1999 and 2000.

- Bell Atlantic will target opportunities for minority and women-owned
business enterprises with the company in specific business areas, such
as information, telecommunications installation (inside/outside plant),
central office engineering, equipment installations, legal services,
investment advisors, insurance services, technology training, call centers,
emerging technologies, video, network management and operations.

- Bell Atlantic will sponsor at least three executives from minority and
women-owned businesses for a formal minority business executive
program in each year of the partnership.

<> The SBA will provide Bell Atlantic's prime suppliers with access to the PRO-
Net database, which identifies minority and women-owned businesses that
are third-party certified for subcontracting services.

- The SBA will assist Bell Atlantic in identifying minority and women-owned
businesses whose products and services Bell Atlantic needs.

- The SBA will provide Bell Atlantic, on a quarterly basis, with a list of third-
party certified disadvantaged businesses and their capabilities.

- The SBA and Bell Atlantic will conduct annual performance reviews to
assess overall progress of this partnership.

<> The SBA will appoint a business opportunity specialist from the Office of
Minority Enterprise Development as a resource for small businesses
seeking to work with Bell Atlantic.

- The specialist will be responsible for providing full SBA support to small
businesses working with Bell Atlantic.

- The specialist will coordinate activities among Bell Atlantic, small
businesses working with the company, the SBA and its resource partners.

- Bell Atlantic will strongly urge other leading telecommunications companies
to partner with the SBA, so they can make a similar commitment to minority
and women-owned businesses.

- Bell Atlantic will give the SBA advanced procurement forecasts, which will
include a list of upcoming Bell Atlantic contracting opportunities.



Bell Atlantic: A Strong History of Commitment to Diversity

Bell Atlantic has a long-standing commitment to diversity and an outstanding
record of providing high-quality service to all its customers. Bell Atlantic is
committed to diversity across all its business practices - from employee hiring and
training, to the suppliers the company uses, to serving consumers and
neighborhoods across the Bell Atlantic region.

Committed to Diversity in the Workplace

<> Bell Atlantic is proud of its long history of employing a diverse workforce.

- 44.5% of Bell Atlantic employees are women and 26.3% are minorities.

<> Bell Atlantic reinforces its commitment to diversity through well-documented
policies and principles.

- The company's management team is required to have clear-cut diversity
goals and objectives.

- All Bell Atlantic business units have diversity plans.

- Bell Atlantic's new management system requires that all managers above
the director level implement and communicate their diversity policy
throughout their organization.

<> Bell Atlantic's support for small business, particularly those owned and
operated by women and other minorities, is strong.

- In 1997, Bell Atlantic spent $523 million with minority and women-owned
businesses. Bell Atlantic has committed to spending $640 million in
1998.

- Bell Atlantic's existing diversity supplier program seeks to ensure that
such suppliers receive realistic opportunities to participate in the
telecommunications industry.

- Bell Atlantic is counseling small businesses on such important topics as
how to keep their phones, faxes and communications operating without
disruption - before, during and after a move.


Committed to Supporting All Communities

<> Thousands of inner-city schools, libraries, colleges and community groups
are being connected to cyberspace through a variety of Bell Atlantic and
state grant programs.

- Approximately $28 million of the Bell Atlantic Foundation's $33 million
budget benefits minorities through philanthropic programs for schools,
libraries and other community-based organizations.

- Bell Atlantic gave a $40,000 grant to the Foundation for Ethnic
Understanding to fight cyberhate.

- Bell Atlantic gave $100,000 to launch a web site with the Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights and the Leadership Conference Education
Fund, also to combat hate speech.

- Bell Atlantic gave a $1 million grant to Pace University and the National
Urban League for the development of a community technology center.

- Bell Atlantic gave a $300,000 grant to The Studio Museum in Harlem to
digitize its permanent collection.

- Bell Atlantic is currently working with the Hispanic Foundation to launch
its web site.

- Over the past two years, the Bell Atlantic Foundation also has funded
sites for minority and civil rights groups - such as the NAACP and the
National Council of La Raza.

Recognized Leadership

<> Numerous civil rights organizations and prominent publications have
recognized Bell Atlantic's strong commitment to diversity, both within and
outside of the corporation. For example:

- Bell Atlantic Chairman Ray Smith was honored by the NAACP at its 1998
national convention for his career-long commitment to promoting equal
rights in the workplace.

- Fortune magazine named Bell Atlantic number 17 on its list of "The 50
Best Companies for Asians, Blacks and Hispanics" - the highest ranking
of any telecommunications company.

- Latina Style magazine named Bell Atlantic one of the top 50 companies
for Latin American women.

- Hispanic Magazine named Bell Atlantic one of the top recruiters of
Hispanics.

- Bruce Gordon, Bell Atlantic Enterprise Group president, was named Black
Enterprise magazine's 1998 Executive of the Year.