Schools, Libraries, Nonprofits Across America to Receive Books, Thanks to Fifth Annual Season's Readings Program

NEW YORK - Schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations across the United States will receive 150,000 new and gently used books collected by Verizon employees during December. Season's Readings, Verizon's fifth annual national book drive and reading campaign, was conducted at company sites across the nation.

Employees and their families also pledged 1.6 million minutes (or more than 27,000 hours) to read to their children or others at literacy centers, libraries, schools and other organizations in their communities throughout the coming year. Since 2001, Verizon employees nationwide have donated almost 2 million books to some 3,500 schools, libraries and nonprofits and pledged more than 250,000 of hours of reading time.

"We are inspired by the outpouring of support for this effort because getting books into the hands of children is a critical factor in building lifelong learners," said National Center for Family Literacy President and founder Sharon Darling. "NCFL work with Verizon has empowered our efforts to reach volunteers and make a lasting impact on the nation's literacy levels."

Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston said: "Having access to reading materials is essential to developing literacy skills; so, year after year, our employees through the Season's Readings program put books in the hands of those in need. That commitment to building a more literate America extends into classrooms, libraries and nonprofit organizations in communities across the country, where our employees act as ambassadors of Verizon's literacy agenda."

To promote the importance of reading to children, Verizon once again partnered with the NCFL to develop a list of tips for reading and a list of 15 children's books that are excellent for year-round reading. Information about NCFL's lists and tips are available at www.verizonreads.net.

Thanks to Verizon's Disability Issues Awareness Leaders (an employee resource group known as DIAL), the National Braille Press and Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, 53 children in the greater Washington, D.C., area will receive memberships this year in the National Braille Press' book club for children. Each $100 donation from Verizon employees provides a child with a book every month for 12 months, and each book comes in both print and Braille, allowing families to read together.

Other success stories from this year's Season's Readings campaign include a partnership with the Florida Volunteer Foundation that netted 83,899 books. Employees at a Verizon facility in Oxnard, California, donated 17,756 books setting an all-time record for a single location.

Season's Readings is part of Verizon's overall commitment to leading the effort to increase literacy levels.

Verizon ensures that technology touches families' lives. The Verizon Foundation supports initiatives that improve literacy and education, support families victimized by domestic violence, promote health and create access for persons with disabilities. In 2005, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $74 million in grants to charitable and nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, one of the largest employee volunteer programs responsible for two million hours of community service since 2000 and $35.6 million in combined contributions to nonprofits in 2005, alone.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million customers nationwide; one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks; and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.