Verizon Awards More Than $100,000 in Technology and Work Force Development Grants to 13 Oregon Nonprofit Organizations

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, has awarded $102,203 to 13 Oregon non-profit organizations to help advance community technology and work force development.

"Verizon strongly believes in investing in the communities it serves to create a literate, well-educated and technologically fluent work force," said Steve Banta, Verizon Northwest region president. "These grants will help provide computer technology and job training to empower both youth and adults to advance their education and become strong contributors to their communities."

Verizon awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • East County One Stop, based in Gresham, $9,700 to support implementation of the 2004 Rockwood International Marketplace in east Multnomah County. The marketplace, held this past summer, was developed to help stimulate growth of income and small businesses in economically distressed Rockwood. The event was also designed to cultivate greater community spirit and cultural exchange among area residents. Verizon's grant was used for marketing outreach to vendors and to the public.

  • Housing Development Corporation of Hillsboro in Northwest Oregon, $7,500 to fund the development, testing and implementation of HDC's first client services database. This will enable the evaluation of work force development programs for low-income Latinos who are HDC's farmworker residents, their family members and other low-income Latino community members. This database development project is critical to success in work force programs, including linking clients to needed services that will better ensure success in the workplace.

  • Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network (ONABEN), located in Tigard, $6,000 to expand the ONABEN Web site Enhancement Project. It will add components to the organization's Web site that will introduce Native American businesses to new markets and tell their stories for the benefit of emerging business owners who want to model their success. ONABEN continues to use technology as an effective conduit for Native American-owned small businesses to access educational resources and market their goods and services to markets far from their rural locations.

  • Oregon Zoo Foundation, $4,820 to provide high school students year-round work force development and training opportunities within the operation of the new Trillium Creek Family Farm. Drawing from many years of success with youth volunteers, the Oregon Zoo envisions that its new farm exhibit will ultimately be managed and run entirely by teenagers. Oregon Zoo animal care and education staff will serve as consultants to assist teens on an as needed basis.
  • Portland State University Foundation, $9,000 to fund its Saturday Academy's Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (AWSEM) program designed to inspire girls to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. AWSEM is a school-year mentoring project that connects girls with role models who are female STEM professionals.

  • Portland Community College Foundation, $9,000 to offer additional entry-level high tech skills training (ELHTS) classes as part of its Pathways to High Tech Training and Jobs Project. Limited-English speakers and low-skilled residents of Washington County will learn the skills necessary to qualify for electronic manufacturing jobs as well as have the opportunity to continue their education to achieve career advancement and success in the high-tech industry.

  • Portland Art Museum, $7,500 for its Online Curriculum Resource Packet Program, which converts the museum's curriculum resource packets into portable data files (PDFs) and digital images that are viewable and downloadable from the Internet. The program will significantly enhance the educational outreach of the museum to local and regional communities and provide school districts and their teachers, as well as any educator or student with Internet access, the resources to improve their current art lesson planning and effectiveness as well as allowing them to easily integrate new art curricula into the classroom.

  • Portland Youthbuild (PYB), $9,000 to kickoff the first year of its Computers in the Community initiative. PYB seeks to improve the vocational training and job readiness skills needed by students to successfully obtain entry-level employment in the computer technology fields.

  • Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism (SOLV), based in Hillsboro, $7,500 to implement phase two of the development of SOLV's new customized database to track volunteer and project information and the development of its enhanced Web site to provide comprehensive information and accommodate quick and easy volunteer registration.

  • Tualatin Valley Workshop (TVW), based in Hillsboro, $7,500 to support its expansion of services available to individuals with significant learning disabilities. TVW will provide computer skills training and hands-on vocational training tools through the use of adaptive software designed to help the students process information, by either viewing it, listening to it, or both. Two hundred individuals are expected to be served in the first year of the program.

  • United Way of the Columbia-Willamette in Portland $9,500 to coordinate the effort to align Oregon 211 with Washington 211 as a regional database available both on the Internet as well as to information and referral specialists. Once implemented, 211 will give the state a coordinated, efficient, non-duplicative statewide information and referral system. The system will connect people looking for basic services like energy assistance and emergency food as well as provide data to policy makers and community leaders regarding trends in information needs, and a greater ability to communicate during a crisis.

  • Wallowa County Business Facilitation (WCBF), based in Joseph, $6,683 to support its efforts to provide free and confidential business mentoring and coaching to individuals serious about turning an idea into a business or improving an existing business. WCBF helps people find the resources they need to build a good management foundation for their small business.

  • Worksystems Inc. of Portland, $8,500 to improve services to limited and non-English speakers by translating key portions of its Web site and the Web sites of its One-Stop Center operators, as well as the forms, applications, and resource guides in general use across the work force system. The project is expected to increase the number of Spanish, Vietnamese and Russian speakers served by the work force development system and placed in gainful employment.

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.

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.