SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - To help increase programs and services to people with disabilities, Verizon and Banco Popular today launched a $6 million corporate challenge campaign to raise funds for a new education and rehabilitation center.
Verizon International Foundation will provide a $1 million grant to build the new center, which will be operated by Sociedad de Educación y Rehabilitación (SER) de Puerto Rico. Banco Popular will contribute a total of $500,000. The remaining $4.5 million will be raised through contributions made by other businesses. To stimulate the campaign, half of Verizon's gift will be used to match contributions one-to-one.
The campaign was announced at SER's Corporate Challenge luncheon hosted by Jon E. Slater, president and CEO of Puerto Rico Telephone, a Verizon affiliate, and SER board member. The campaign already has the support of popular singer Ricky Martin and several businesses in the island.
"Our mission is to ensure that people with disabilities have access to quality rehabilitation services," said Nilda Morales, executive director of SER de Puerto Rico. "The campaign unveiled today represents a significant milestone in reaching that mission - a real opportunity to help those who need it the most, our children and families."
Established in 1950, SER has provided counseling, physical, occupational and speech therapy services to over 115,000 families.
"This new center will help individuals with disabilities and special needs achieve greater independence for everyday living, right in their own community," said Suzanne DuBose, president - Verizon International Foundation. "It is our hope that other major businesses will join us by contributing and helping raise the total $6 million needed to build the center."
Richard L. Carrión, president and CEO of Banco Popular and Verizon board member, said, "Helping SER de Puerto Rico build these facilities will ensure a bright, productive future for many children and adults, who fully rely on the services provided by this institution for their personal growth and development."
Jon E. Slater, president and CEO of Puerto Rico Telephone, a Verizon affiliate, and SER board member, said, "One of SER's most important initiatives is the education and orientation they offer to the community about the myriad abilities of disabled people and how much they can contribute to society. We are pleased to extend our support to SER in all its worthy endeavors."
The new facility, which will be called the SER Education and Rehabilitation Center, will be located in Hato Rey. The center will enable SER to significantly increase services in speech, physical and occupational therapy, in addition to providing an elderly and child care day center, a community library and auditorium.
Verizon International Foundation supports a variety of educational and economic initiatives that focus on literacy, workforce development and technology for communities. The foundation is committed to improving the quality of life of the global communities and customers served by Verizon and its international affiliates. The foundation works closely with Verizon's affiliates, a variety of advisory groups and other organizations to identify local needs and to develop and nurture programs that address those needs.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.