Verizon Customers in California Donate Nearly $65,000 to Literacy Programs in the State

Verizon customers in California have donated nearly $65,000 to five nonprofit groups promoting literacy, including the Westminster chapter of Boat People SOS.

The money was donated by Verizon customers in California who checked a box on their monthly phone bill to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to the company's Check Into Literacy Program.

The recipients of this year's Check Into Literacy grants were selected by members of the public through a text-to-vote campaign. Boat People SOS received the most votes, with almost 40 percent of the 7,000 votes cast.

"We are deeply grateful to all Verizon customers who donated money to Check Into Literacy and thank everyone who voted for Boat People SOS," said Tiffany Nguyen, manager of the organization's Westminster chapter. "This grant will allow us to continue to help the Vietnamese-American community as they overcome numerous barriers on their path to self- sufficiency."

Boat People SOS is a national Vietnamese-American organization with 18 offices located across the U.S., providing a wide range of programs and services including advocacy, community organization and adult education. The Westminster office will use the grant to fund an English-as-a-second-language literacy program that will increase English literacy, computer skills and confidence among participants.

"Our customers have spoken, and Verizon will award the funds raised by the campaign to the top five organizations with the most votes," said Gene Eng, Verizon vice president, strategic programs. "On behalf of Verizon and our customers, we congratulate Boat People SOS for gaining recognition as a leading advocate for literacy in the communities where the organization operates."

Verizon also awarded $9,700 grants to each of the following four runners-up:

  • Assistance League of Covina Valley, Covina -- Provides credentialed teachers to work with 25 underprivileged learning-disabled students.
  • Friends of the Santa Barbara Library, Santa Barbara -- Helps the underserved adult population build literacy skills needed for work, home, and civic participation by providing free, confidential one-on-one tutoring and computer assistance.
  • Mar Vista Family Center, Culver City -- Provides low-income families with quality early-childhood education, youth enrichment and educational tools to create positive change in their lives and their community.
  • Rx for Reading, Los Angeles -- Provides elementary school teachers with $1,000 grants to purchase books for their classroom libraries.  Students take home the books and share them with their families, helping younger siblings who also have limited access to reading material.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 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 $26.1 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 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ: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 93 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.