Verizon Launches Fund-Raising Campaign for NAACP Literacy Initiatives

NEW YORK -- Verizon is encouraging its customers to celebrate Black History Month by supporting the efforts of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to improve literacy and education. The company is underwriting a fund-raising drive with proceeds going to the association's Back-to-School/Stay-in-School program.

All customer donations made between Jan. 15 and Feb. 28 to Verizon's literacy program, Verizon Reads, will be given to the NAACP effort. The goal for the six-week fund-raiser is $100,000.

Verizon Reads is the company's umbrella organization for its signature national literacy efforts. Verizon Reads is dedicated to the fight for a more literate America through programs that create awareness, raise funds and encourage collaboration among literacy providers.

The NAACP's Back-to-School/Stay-in-School program seeks to increase the number of skilled youth graduating from high school by providing them with a holistic educational experience that focuses on literacy, leadership development, cultural enrichment, parental involvement and teacher quality.

"The association's educational advancement agenda is rooted in the belief that effective reading programs need teachers and parents who understand how to reach children whose experiences create barriers to effective learning," said Dr. John Jackson, the NAACP's national director of education. "We welcome Verizon joining with the NAACP in its effort to rekindle a fire for excellence in education for students across the nation."

"Black History Month traditionally is a time to gain perspective through celebration of the past," said Bruce Gordon, president of retail markets for Verizon. "Verizon also wants people to look forward by celebrating literacy.

"At Verizon, we help communities move forward each day on many fronts, often by working with organizations such as the NAACP. Through Verizon Reads, we help individuals and communities improve their reading skills. We hope our customers and friends will join with us in celebrating Black History Month by making donations to Verizon Reads that will benefit the association's literacy initiatives, specifically its Back-to-School/Stay-in-School program."

Using radio, newspapers, magazines, the World Wide Web, bill inserts and point-of-sale communications at selected locations, Verizon is urging its customers to celebrate Black History Month with a donation to Verizon Reads. The funds will be distributed to the NAACP's literacy initiative. The advertising campaign began today and continues for six weeks through February, Black History Month. Note: Click here to see PDF file of sample print ad.

Verizon has made it easy to make a gift. Customers can make a donation by visiting www.verizonreads.net or by calling this toll-free number: 1-800-999-8848.

At the Verizon Reads Web site, people also can learn more about the Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, which is an online clearinghouse of more than 20,000 national and local literacy organizations across the country.

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 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.