NEW YORK -- More than 260,000 Verizon employees nationwide are being encouraged to volunteer in their communities through a new program
that matches their efforts with donations from the company's philanthropic arm, Verizon Foundation.
The program, known as Verizon Volunteers, encourages employees to help the agencies they care about the most and provides up to $23,750 a year per
employee in matching gifts and grants from Verizon Foundation based on their donations of volunteer time and money.
"Verizon Volunteers is one of the most inclusive corporate employee volunteer incentive programs in the nation," said Soraya Rodriguez, Verizon
Foundation director of volunteer programs. "We're giving our employees the power to help nonprofit agencies in the communities we serve and
encouraging them to be generous with their time and money. Our employees' good works -- on the job and through their volunteer efforts -- strengthen our bond
with our communities and our customers."
Verizon Volunteers is a Web-based program using the company's intranet and is entirely paperless. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees
can register their volunteer hours and donations online via the Internet or through a toll-free call. A Web portal on the foundation's site also links employees to
information about organizations seeking volunteers in their communities. The program's low operating cost allows 100 percent of the matching gifts to go directly
to the charities employees choose.
Highlights of the new Verizon Volunteers initiative include:
- Employees can donate to any college or university and Verizon Foundation will match that up to $15,000 annually, with a 2:1 match for the first $250
given by the employee.
- Employees can donate to disaster relief efforts around the globe and the foundation will make up to $2,500 per year available for matching gifts. With input
from Verizon employees, Verizon Foundation monitors global affairs for natural disasters, announces disaster relief campaigns and designates charitable
organizations to which Verizon employees can make donations that will be matched.
- Employees who donate $25 or more to a qualified tax-exempt nonprofit organization of their choice can have those gifts matched by Verizon Foundation up
to a total of $2,500 per year.
- Teams of 10 or more Verizon employees who participate in a fundraising pledge-a-thon for a qualified nonprofit organization can get matches from the
foundation for any funds they raise up to $25,000 per team.
- Employees who volunteer 50 or more hours per year at nonprofit organizations can receive a $500 Verizon Foundation grant for up to two separate
organizations. The grants are given to the organizations in the employee's name.
"We're particularly proud of our matching gifts for disaster relief because we can respond immediately when there is a hurricane or other catastrophe and
provide emergency funds wherever there is a need," said Rodriguez.
In many cases, employees alert the foundation about their interest in helping victims of a natural disaster, such as the earthquake in India earlier this year. The
foundation adds that as a donation option for employees on its Web site. As soon as employees register their donation online, the foundation can wire the
matching funds directly to the nonprofit organization helping with relief efforts.
The foundation provides an online bulletin board where employees can inform other employees about their pledge-a-thons, walk-a-thons and other fundraisers.
"We're creating mini-communities of employees who have common interests across the country," said Rodriguez. "We've created a true
cyber-foundation that enables us to increase the power of giving of all our employees in a way that benefits every community we serve."
Employees who take full advantage of the matching gift opportunities available through Verizon Volunteers can generate up to $23,750 annually in matching funds
from Verizon Foundation to their favorite charities.
Employees can donate to any nonprofit organization in the U.S. that is tax exempt as a 501(c)3 organization. Employee donations must be made directly to the
nonprofit organizations to qualify for matching funds. Employees can continue to donate to health and human services agencies through payroll deductions, but
that is not part of the Verizon Volunteers program.
Verizon Foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through
technology and creating a skilled work force. Verizon Foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse
communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged across the United States and selected foreign countries. For more
information, visit www.verizon.com/foundation on the Internet.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of
wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon
is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and approximately $63 billion in annual
revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit