Verizon Foundation Announces Partnership with Governor Jeb Bush's PowerUP Program in the Tampa Bay Area

TAMPA, Fla. -- Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, will help create three computer literacy sites targeting

underserved populations in the Tampa Bay area in conjunction with Governor Jeb Bush's PowerUP program. The Governor recognized the company's support

recently as he visited one of the new sites at the Boys & Girls Club Southside in south St. Petersburg.

"Verizon has a corporate culture that recognizes literacy, including computer literacy, as the key to learning," said Governor Bush. "This is a great company, with

a great presence in the Tampa Bay area, and I want to thank Verizon Foundation for being a partner in the PowerUP program."

In addition to supporting the south St. Petersburg location, Verizon Foundation will launch two additional PowerUP sites in the Tampa Bay area.

PowerUP is an ambitious effort by the state and private partners aimed at bridging Florida's digital divide, the gap between those who have access to computer

technology and the Internet and those who do not. In partnership with the national PowerUP organization, the Florida-based coalition will establish at least 25

computer lab sites by the end of 2001 in underserved communities across Florida. This objective makes Florida the most proactive state in the country with

efforts to provide computer access and knowledge to everyone. Beyond providing a safe place for youth to access computers, the community PowerUP sites

will host mentors who will teach participants how to responsibly use computers and the Internet.

"Verizon believes that it is important for all of Florida's citizens to have ready access to the Internet and an opportunity to develop the skills to use it," said John

Blanchard, president-southeast region, Verizon. "No single organization or solution exists for bridging the digital divide. It is going to take a joint effort of many

of us working together and we are pleased to join with the Governor in working on this important initiative."

Verizon and Verizon Foundation will invest more than $2 million in 2001 to support community programs in Florida, most of which will specifically target literacy,

the digital divide, workforce preparation, and community technology development.

Verizon Foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled workforce. The Foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the conomically and socially disadvantaged. The Foundation also supports a Volunteer Incentive Program and matching gifts programs for Verizon employees. For more information on the Foundation, www.verizon.com/foundation on the Internet.