Verizon Foundation Awards $43,000 To Local Literacy Projects in Oregon

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Building on Verizon's mission as America's literacy leader, the Verizon Foundation has awarded $43,000 in grants to four organizations serving the greater Portland area.

"The foundation is committed to supporting literacy initiatives that provide meaningful opportunities for young people and adults to improve their capabilities in the classroom, workplace and society," said John Gustafson, Verizon Northwest director of external affairs. "These grants provide excellent opportunities to build literacy skills of those individuals served by recipient organizations."

The Cedar Mills Library Association of Washington County was awarded a $15,000 grant to support summer reading programs throughout the county. Local libraries will offer youth and family events and hands-on activities in their communities throughout the summer. Each activity is designed to incorporate the value of reading. Children who complete their reading assignments will qualify for a new book.

The Oregon Independent College Foundation has received $4,000 to support technology training for enhanced classroom instruction on the campus of George Fox University in the coming academic year. The improvements in technology literacy will help students prepare for the work force of tomorrow. Specifically, the grant will pay for faculty technology training that will improve the ability to deliver up-to-date technology training to students.

The Pacific Institute for Ethics and Social Policy at Pacific University will use a grant of $15,000 to expand a crime prevention, education and community involvement program for disadvantaged, largely Hispanic, high-school-aged youth. Based on the premise that information and communication technology competency and responsibility are essential to the success of young people in the classroom and workplace, the institute will join the Hillsboro Police Department and the Master of Arts in Technology (MAT) program to bring computer labs, including one mobile lab, to these youth.

MAT interns will teach students how to use the technology responsibly and creatively in their own education. Doctoral students from the School of Professional Psychology will work with these youth to identify and address special problems. Funding also will help develop software resources, drawing on the experience of MAT students.

The SMG Foundation has been awarded $9,000 for its Las Hermanas program, which teaches and encourages young, low-income Latinas to become health educators. Verizon is targeting the grant to schools in Gresham and Woodburn. A goal of the program is to make the students leaders and peer-health educators during their learning process and, as a result, generate improvements in individual and community wellness.

In addition to basic and technological literacy, Verizon sees health-literacy as an important component to overall community vitality since health care costs continue to rise.

The Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications. In 2004, the foundation awarded more than 26,000 grants totaling over $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving literacy, computer and technology skills, and identifying domestic violence solutions. 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 528,000 hours in their communities and provided $37.6 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 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.