Verizon Foundation Awards $50,000 Grant to West Virginia Department of Education for Online Learning Initiative

A $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation will enable the West Virginia Department of Education to complete teacher training on the use of Verizon Thinkfinity, a free, educational Web resource to support the advancement of K-12 education. With this grant, the Verizon Foundation has provided $175,000 for the program.

West Virginia schools are using Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org) and other online resources to integrate performance skills such as creativity, innovation, oral and written communications, problem solving, and critical thinking into the study of core subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies.  Thinkfinity contains thousands of standards-based K-12 lesson plans, student materials, interactive tools and reference materials. In addition to providing resources from the nation's leading educational organizations, Verizon Thinkfinity also offers a comprehensive professional-development program.

Development of 21st-century skills is a major focus of West Virginia's Department of Education, which recently was honored by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a national organization focused on infusing such skills into education.

"Using 21st-century learning tools like Verizon Thinkfinity is not an option; it is a necessity for students who must compete on a global level," said Steve Paine, state superintendent of schools.  "Students deserve it, and the world demands it." 

B. Keith Fulton, president of Verizon West Virginia, said, "Our children are growing up in a world where they communicate, learn and share ideas digitally.  Online technology has had a tremendous impact on our society, and its role will continue to grow with further advances.

"Verizon's business is centered on technology, and we believe it is our responsibility to help people understand how to use the Internet safely and effectively, particularly for learning," said Fulton.

In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 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 an additional $26 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 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: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 89 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 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.