University at Albany, Capital District Programs Receive Verizon Literacy Grants Totaling $200,000

ALBANY, N.Y. - The University at Albany and Capital District literacy programs today received a boost from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the country's largest telecommunications company. Grants totaling $200,000 were awarded by the company's Verizon Reads Program to fund development of a Web site to enhance literacy skills among preschoolers; provide scholarships for teachers; and sponsor events promoting literacy.

The grants were presented during a ceremony at today's Literacy Festival on the campus of the University at Albany. The Verizon Kids Walk for Literacy, which promotes and supports community programs, is one of the featured events at the festival.

The university's Center on English Learning & Achievement (CELA) will receive $50,000 from Verizon to create Literacy Corner, a Web site aimed at individuals working with or caring for young children. The site will suggest ways to develop literacy skills, particularly for preschool-age children.

"It will fill a current gap in Web-based resources by providing research-based, commercial-free information geared for preschool teachers, parents and caregivers," said Judith A. Langer, the center's director. The center, part of the university's School of Education, is dedicated to improving language and literacy achievement across various grade levels.

The remaining $150,000 in Verizon grants will be spread over three years and benefit classroom enrichment programs, as well as Capital District nonprofit organizations and events dedicated to promoting literacy. The Verizon Walk for Literacy, which is being held this weekend on the University at Albany campus, is an example of the events to benefit from the funding.

A portion of the funding also will be used to provide 40 Capital District teachers - primarily from inner-city and rural school districts - with classroom materials and programs designed to enhance general literacy skills.

"The future economic health of our region depends on a skilled and literate work force," said Paul Crotty, group president for Verizon in New York. "We are eager to support creative and innovative initiatives that use current and emerging technology to help create a skilled work force, provide opportunities for personal growth for the participants, and result in long-term, sustainable benefits for the community."

Through its signature program, Verizon Reads, Verizon 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.

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.