Verizon Foundation Grant to Sterling Municipal Library Supports Baytown Literacy Efforts

BAYTOWN, Texas - Local adults striving to improve their English speaking, reading and writing skills will benefit from a $12,000 grant presented today by Verizon to the Sterling Municipal Library.

The grant from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, will help the Sterling Municipal Library to strengthen its Baytown-area literacy program and fund the purchase of English as a second language (ESL) supplies, and computers, software and training materials.

The Sterling Municipal Library is an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy America. The library promotes literacy by offering one-to-one tutoring for adults with below fifth-grade reading levels; ESL instruction to adults who need to improve their English speaking, reading and writing skills; and computer-assisted instruction in ESL and basic reading.

"Forty million Americans are functionally illiterate, and low literacy rates continue to be one of the most challenging social issues facing Texans of all ages," said Verizon Southwest Region president Steve Banta. "Literacy, both language and computer, is one of Verizon's major funding priorities due to its enormous impact on education and economic development. This grant recognizes the noble work being performed by literacy volunteers and staff at the Sterling Municipal Library, and will help provide more educational tools."

Verizon is committed to being the leader in America's campaign to raise literacy levels by orchestrating a national platform that will increase funding, community awareness, and support a wide diversity of literacy programs. Verizon Reads is the umbrella organization for Verizon's national literacy platform. Established in 1999, Verizon Reads is dedicated to the fight for a more literate America through meaningful programs that create awareness, raise funds, and encourage collaboration among literacy providers. For more information on Verizon Reads, visit www.verizonreads.net.

Nationwide, Verizon Foundation last year 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.

Verizon Communications

A Fortune 20 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.