Verizon Awards Nearly $75,000 in Technology and Work Force Development Grants to 10 Washington Nonprofits

EVERETT, Wash. - The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, has awarded nearly $75,000 to 10 Washington nonprofit organizations with the goal of advancing 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 technology grants to the following organizations:

  • Washington State University Foundation -- $9,500 to fund a mobile, wireless broadband teaching lab that will reach students in remote areas. In cooperation with Washington State University 4-H and the Center to Bridge the Digital Divide, the project will advance youth life and work skills through education and understanding of telecommunications-driven information technology.

  • Bellingham Technical College Foundation -- $9,500 for the Practical Nursing Distance Learning Project to address the shortage of health care professionals through the development of an online nursing curriculum. The program targets displaced workers, workers retraining for new careers, recent high school graduates, existing health care workers upgrading careers, and the general public from Whatcom, Skagit, and Snohomish counties. The college expects to increase its practical nurse graduates by 50 percent by June 2006.

  • Lake Washington College Foundation -- $8,000 to create a computer lab for low-income students. The opportunity to train on updated technology will greatly increase students' chances of gaining employment in such areas as office support, customer service, health care and information technology.

  • The Everett Area Chamber of Commerce -- $9,500 to fund the design and implementation of the chamber's revamped Web site. The site includes information about chamber issues, economic development initiatives, governmental affairs activities and other community information.

  • Verizon awarded work force development grants to the following organizations:

  • Foundation for Private Enterprise Education -- $5,000 to support the Washington Business Week partnership with the Edmonds Education Association to pilot a weeklong intensive business leadership program for high school students at Edmonds Community College. The program strengthens high school students' knowledge and understanding of economics, as well as its application in the real world of business.

  • Stone Soup -- $9,500 to support adult and youth training efforts in Ferry County, the poorest county in Washington, with an official poverty rate of almost 20 percent. The Virtual Frontier project aims to demonstrate the power of entrepreneurship and technology to revitalize the economy in impoverished frontier communities. This project will engage more than 400 youth and adults in Ferry County.

  • YWCA of King and Snohomish Counties -- $9,925 to provide rural, low-income women and men with accessible, individualized employment support services that are otherwise unavailable in east Snohomish County. Funds for the Rural Employment Project, located in Sky Valley, will provide services such as job assessment, resume and interview assistance, job search assistance, and transportation and child-care assistance to help participants secure living-wage jobs.

  • Cascadia Community College Foundation -- $9,000 in partnership with the King County Housing Authority to provide educational outreach and employment services to seven communities. Program participants will gain improved access to community resources necessary to remove barriers to self-sufficiency. Some participants will enroll in educational programs at Cascadia Community College and other area colleges. Others participants will receive help in obtaining and retaining employment.

In addition to the grants above, Verizon also awarded grants to Mukilteo Schools Foundation and the American Red Cross, Snohomish County Chapter. The schools foundation received $925 to fund the purchase of dictionaries for third-graders. The county chapter of the Red Cross received $4,000 in support of the annual Real Heroes Breakfast in honor of the lifesaving efforts of courageous individuals.

Nationwide, the Verizon Foundation in 2003 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.