Verizon Awards $10,000 Grant to Police Athletic League in Buffalo for 'Reading Rules! Summer Reading Challenge'

BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Verizon Foundation has awarded $10,000 to the Police Athletic League to support Mayor Byron Brown's Reading Rules! Summer Reading Challenge.

This is the second year Verizon has awarded a $10,000 grant to support the program, which is designed to encourage students to continue to read and write during the summer. The program is open to approximately 12,000 students attending 41 schools throughout the area.

Andrés Irlando, Verizon president for the New York region, announced the grant on Thursday (June 11) at a ceremony at the National Community Literacy Leadership Conference at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo on Fountain Plaza.

Students participating in the program will be required to read at least seven books during the summer and to write essays on each book.  In addition, teachers, librarians and community center directors will be trained to use free literacy and educational resources available on Verizon's Thinkfinity.org.

Students who complete the reading and writing challenge will be invited to a ceremony in August where they will receive certificates of achievement and other prizes. For additional information, visit www.city-buffalo.com/ReadingRules

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation's free, comprehensive Web site that contains thousands of educational resources including K-12 lesson plans, online educational activities, videos and other materials to enhance teacher effectiveness and improve student achievement. 

"Literacy is the foundation of the strong educational base students will need to compete in our global society," said Irlando. "Verizon is proud to partner with the Police Athletic League and Mayor Brown on this important project."

Since 2005 the Verizon Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 in grants to address the issue of literacy in Buffalo and the surrounding region.

Irlando also noted that the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, will be a founding member of the Literacy Funders Network (LFN), an affinity group of the Council of Foundations consisting of more than 20 foundations representing private, corporate and community foundations.

LFN's mission is to increase the philanthropic community's knowledge and understanding of literacy as a systemic issue and a tool for community change. 

The Verizon Foundation supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 86 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 237,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.