Verizon Among Top Companies Cited for Commitment to Hispanics

NEW YORK - The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) has ranked Verizon second among Fortune 100 companies for its commitment to the Hispanic community. The ranking is part of HACR's newly released Corporate Index, which measures companies on their inclusion of Hispanics in five areas: executive leadership, corporate governance, work force representation, community giving and supplier diversity.

HACR announced the top companies yesterday at its 13th annual symposium in Los Angeles. The highest-ranked companies were IBM followed by Verizon, Pepsico and Home Depot.

"Verizon and the other companies at the top of our index recognize the power of the Hispanic community, now the eighth-largest economy in the world," said Alfonso E. Martinez, HACR president and CEO. "They've taken steps to ensure that Hispanic customers, employees, suppliers and nonprofit partners are an integral part of their business. There's more to do, but these companies are on the right track."

A Hispanic advocacy association, HACR comprises 14 national organizations. It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Verizon offers minorities opportunities to grow and advance through formal mentoring and leadership development programs like the Hispanic Professional Development Workshop and the Development and Leadership Initiative, a program that helps participants fine-tune professional goals and network with Verizon executives. HACR named the latter program a "Corporate Best Practice for 2002," calling it a successful strategy for improving the representation of Hispanics in the work force.

Minorities, including Hispanics, make up 30 percent of Verizon's work force and hold 18 percent of top management positions. Hispanics hold key jobs -- such as the president of one of Verizon's largest business units, Enterprise Solutions Group -- and oversee many of the company's most important technology initiatives.

Verizon is transforming itself into a bilingual company to assure that the Hispanic community has access to the most advanced technology available. Through the company's Web site, customers can get information on products and services, including high-speed broadband, and order wireless service in English or Spanish. Verizon SuperPages, the Internet's leading online directory, is also available in Spanish.

In addition, more than 600 Spanish-speaking Verizon customer-service representatives provide technical assistance, service, billing and repair requests in-language, and four of the company's business-sales centers are devoted to serving over 900,000 Spanish-speaking consumer and business customers.

The Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, was the first bilingual online corporate foundation. In 2004, the foundation provided more than $13 million in grants to nonprofit organizations serving the Hispanic community -- focusing on improving literacy, computer and technology skills, economic development, and identifying domestic violence solutions.

Last year, Verizon spent $1.78 billion with diverse businesses, including purchases of nearly $250 million in goods and services from Hispanic-owned companies. Verizon encourages the growth of minority businesses by building strategic alliances and working with advocacy groups and programs that encourage primary suppliers to increase their use of minority and women-owned businesses as subcontractors.

Verizon Communications Inc.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.


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