Verizon Foundation to Award $30,000 in North Idaho, Inland Northwest

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, will award $30,000 in literacy grants this week to six nonprofit organizations serving North Idaho and other parts of the Inland Northwest.

"These grants reaffirm Verizon's commitment to invest in the communities we serve as a telecommunications company," said John Gustafson, external affairs director for Verizon's Northwest Region. "They support projects that will improve basic reading and computer skills and make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people."

Verizon issued a literacy grant request-for-proposal earlier this year to nonprofit organizations. Winners were chosen based on community need, innovation, ability to execute, evaluation methods and other factors.

Gustafson added that one of the overriding goals of the RFP is to focus on projects that link improved literacy rates to a better-educated and better-prepared work force.

Recipients of Verizon Foundation grants include:

  • A.B. McDonald Elementary School, Moscow, will use a $7,500 grant to establish Everybody Reads! The program will provide specialized reading instruction to at-risk students in grade levels K-3. It will also coordinate training for the existing volunteer reading-tutor program and establish early literacy workshops for parents.

  • Columbia Basin Educational Association, based in Spokane, will receive a $2,500 grant to help fund its Early Childhood Literacy Project. The program helps preschool children establish learning skills through the use of computers and other materials. Verizon funds will be targeted to communities served by the company, including Newport, Pullman and the Farming area of south Spokane and Whitman counties.

  • The Community Action Partnership, Sandpoint, will use a $5,000 grant to fund its Reading Rainbow project. CAP will provide books and a three-day literacy session to 50 low-income families in Bonner County and surrounding areas. The program, which will also include a Family Night at the Library, will emphasize the importance of family literacy to job-readiness and employability.

  • First Book - Panhandle of North Idaho, based in Sandpoint, will use a $5,000 grant to provide books to low-income, at-risk children in Bonner, Kootenai, Boundary and Shoshone counties. Each of the children attending North Idaho College's Head Start program will receive one book per month for one year, starting this fall.

  • Kellogg School District will use a $7,500 grant to expand the Waterford Early Reading Program software to its new kindergarten classroom at Sunnyside Elementary School. The acclaimed software provides concentrated daily instruction tailored to the literacy needs of each student. Verizon in 2002 awarded $15,000 to the school to establish the Waterford program there.

  • Post Falls Middle School will receive a $2,500 grant for its Alternate Reading Methods project, which is designed to bring hesitant readers in grades 3-8 up to grade level. Key to the process will be the integration of reading into the school's instructional technology, which received a $5,000 grant from Verizon in 2003.

The Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, a Dow 30 company and one of the world's leading providers of communication services. In 2003, the 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.

A Dow 30 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $68 billion in annual revenues. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

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