Verizon Employee Group Pledges Volunteers to Supply Books for Students in Need

NEW YORK - Nearly 1,800 members of CITE® (Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives), an employee resource group of Verizon Communications, have pledged to provide volunteer services to First Book, a national nonprofit agency dedicated to providing children from low-income families their first new books.

CITE members made the pledge to support First Book during the employee-group's 20th annual conference, which was held here over the weekend. The Verizon volunteers will help collect, sort and redistribute books through First Book's supply pipeline to children from low-income families. Members will also read and provide tutoring and mentoring to children and adults in community programs supported by First Book.

CITE strives to raise the level of consciousness of all employees with regard to minority concerns, and advance the professional development and networking opportunities of African-American and other minority employees of Verizon. CITE, a nonprofit organization, provides employee advocacy and serves as a resource for the corporation and community. CITE has local chapters in California, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, New England, Virginia, Pennsylvania/Delaware, Texas and West Virginia.

For the last two years, First Book has received grants totaling $450,000 from Verizon to advance the technological capabilities of The First Book National Book Bank. The grants provided funds for First Book to purchase hardware, software and design work to create the first centralized online national book warehousing and distribution system. The online system at www.nationalbookbank.org enables publishers to contribute inventory, other literacy programs to submit donation requests, and individuals to make donations through the Internet.

"I can think of no better way to support Verizon's literacy efforts than to partner with First Book," said Kevin C. Marshall, CITE president and a Verizon Wireless employee. "Placing books into the hands of those most in need is a mission that coincides with our member's goal to support communities on a personal and professional level."

Lynda B. Lancaster, First Book's Senior Vice President, National Outreach, said, "Verizon's renewed support of First Book demonstrates the company's clear commitment to literacy and the community. The funds Verizon provided are already having an impact for low-income children, and this additional pledge of volunteer support from CITE is invaluable."

Through its signature program, Verizon Reads, Verizon works to increase community and corporate awareness of the insidious effects of low literacy on individuals and communities. Verizon raises funds, encourages collaboration among literacy providers, and promotes employee volunteerism in support of literacy programs around the country. Visit www.verizonreads.net to learn more about Verizon's commitment to literacy.

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.