Verizon Awards $250,000 in Technology Grants to 17 Texas Elementary and Middle Schools, School Districts

IRVING, Texas - The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, has awarded $250,000 to 17 Texas elementary and middle schools and school districts for the purchase of computer hardware and literacy software.

In May, schools located in areas where Verizon provides local telephone service were invited to compete for Verizon grants by submitting proposals outlining computer technology and literacy programs. The foundation sought proposals that would encourage the use of computer technology to assist teachers and students in teaching and learning.

"Verizon firmly believes in the importance of forming strong alliances with the schools located in the communities we serve,"" said Steve Banta, Verizon Southwest region president. ""These grants will help provide Texas teachers with additional training and tools that uplift and motivate schoolchildren to excel in the classroom and become future leaders in the work force.""

Proposals that included a focus on literacy programs to build reading and writing skills through the use of computers and Internet-based programs were given priority consideration. The following Texas schools and school districts are receiving grants:

  • Burton Elementary, Burton, $ 8,366 - Hand held computers for fourth grade

  • Caldwell Elementary, Caldwell, $23,535 - Computers for seven first-grade classrooms

  • Christoval Independent School District (ISD), Christoval, $20,000 - Computer upgrade to accommodate an accelerated reader program

  • Como-Pickton ISD, Como, $20,000 - Computers and laptops

  • Gilmer ISD, Gilmer, $10,000 -- Computers

  • Glenmore Elementary, San Angelo, $5,100 - Reading and literacy software

  • Grand Saline Middle School, Grand Saline, $20,000 - Mobile wireless cart and wireless laptops

  • Heritage Middle School, Colleyville, $20,000 - Reading intervention software

  • Lone Oak Middle School, Lone Oak, $9,933 - SMART BoardsTM

  • McDade Elementary, McDade, $4,700 - Reading and literacy software

  • Mockingbird Elementary, Coppell, $8,900 - Computers for library literacy lab

  • Plano ISD, Plano, $9,800 - Literacy-related software

  • Quinlan ISD, Quinlan, $17,766 - Mobile computer lab for kindergarten

  • Sonora ISD, Sonora, $11,900 - SMART BoardsTM

  • Thrall ISD, Thrall, $20,000 - Multimedia workstations

  • Wall Elementary, Wall, $20,000 - Computers, plus reading and literacy software

  • Water Valley Elementary, Water Valley, $20,000 - Reading and literacy software

Many of the schools that participated in Verizon's call for entries identified as a major education priority the need to improve reading and writing skills of students at all grade levels, especially at-risk children who are reading below grade level.

In addition to funding desktop computers, laptops, mobile wireless carts and literacy software, these technology grants will help schools maximize their use of computer technology. Sonora ISD and Lone Oak Middle School, for example, will use their Verizon grant to purchase SMART BoardsTM. This technology allows an entire classroom to benefit from affordable computer-based teaching. Burton Elementary will use its grant to purchase versatile hand-held computers that can be used in or out of the classroom.

In 2003, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than 21,000 grants totaling about $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. More than 175 Texas organizations received $3.8 million in Verizon grants last year.

The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer 595,000 hours in their communities and provided $34.6 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. With a diverse work force of approximately 208,000, Verizon has four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband, nationwide long-distance and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 42.1 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.