Verizon Foundation Offers $500,000 in Grants to Texas Nonprofit Groups

IRVING, Texas - Nonprofit organizations and educational institutions in Texas are invited to compete for $500,000 in grants offered by Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

Verizon is soliciting grant proposals for literacy projects that will help advance reading skills for adults and children. The grants, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, will be announced this fall.

"The most challenging social issue facing Texans of all ages involves low literacy rates that make it difficult for people to compete for jobs," said Steve Banta, Verizon Southwest Region president. "Verizon is committed to supporting organizations in their efforts to teach people to read and write."

Verizon seeks proposals that support reading, reading recovery, English as a second language (ESL), childhood literacy and other efforts to improve reading skills. Literacy proposals designed to create a better-educated work force are also sought.

Proposals must be submitted through the Verizon Foundation Web site, www.verizon.com/foundation by Friday, Sept. 5. Applicants should click on the Texas Literacy RFP link.

To qualify for funding, applicants must be public or private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations with a valid Internal Revenue Service tax ID. Schools must have a current National Center for Education Statistics school and district registration to qualify.

Last year, more than 150 nonprofit organizations in Texas benefited from Verizon Foundation grants involving literacy, technology and workforce development totaling more than $3 million.

Verizon is committed to being America's literacy champion. The company is conducting a national campaign to increase community awareness and to generate additional funding and support of literacy programs for adults, children and families. Working under the banner of Verizon Reads, a private charity, the award-winning philanthropy program reaches out to the nearly 40 million Americans who have low literacy skills. For more information on Verizon Reads, visit www.VerizonReads.net. For help with literacy, call the National Institute for Literacy toll-free at 1-866-772-READ.

Verizon, last year awarded more than $16.5 million to nonprofit agencies in support of literacy through the Verizon Reads programs. Additionally, the company's Literacy Network, Literacy Champions and Check Into Literacy programs have had a significant impact on raising awareness and funds nationwide for this issue.

According to the National Adult Literacy survey, 92 million adults in the U.S. have low over very low literacy skills. Other studies have found that more than eight of every 20 adults with low literacy live in poverty, compared with only one in 20 with strong literacy skills. These facts indicate low literacy is both widespread and detrimental.

Verizon Foundation is committed to helping people and communities make progress every day. The 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. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications

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 135.8 million access line equivalents and 32.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and 229,500 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.