Verizon Literacy Grants Spell Progress for North Idaho Nonprofits

Verizon Literacy Grants Spell Progress for North Idaho Nonprofits

Verizon Foundation Awards $42,000 to Eight Area Organizations

May 21, 2002

Media contact:

Bob Wayt, 800-483-7750

Melissa Barran, 425-261-5855

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, today awarded $42,144 in literacy grants to eight nonprofit organizations in North Idaho.

The grants were presented during a celebration of literacy at Ramsey Elementary School in Coeur d'Alene. During the event, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne read to children participating in the HEART (Help Encourage A Reader Today) program. During the event, Verizon and its literacy partner, Scholastic Inc., also donated a book to each child at the school.

"Verizon's literacy grants support programs that improve reading and writing skills and make a positive difference in people's lives," said Bob Wayt, Verizon external affairs manager for Oregon and Idaho. "Today's grants reaffirm Verizon's commitment to improving literacy."

Money for two of the grants, totaling $5,144, came directly from the company's Idaho customers who participated in Verizon's Check Into Literacy program. The program enables Verizon customers to contribute $1 monthly through their phone bills to Verizon Reads, a public charity dedicated to literacy. Verizon redirects every dollar donated through "Check Into Literacy" to literacy projects, usually in the state where the money was given.

    In addition, Verizon awarded grants to the following organizations:

  • Kellogg Joint School District # 391 will use a $ 15,000 grant for its Children's Literacy Improvement Project, which provides the technology and software for individual literacy instruction to all kindergarten students in the Kellogg School District. The grant will help purchase computer hardware, the literacy software, and supporting materials and training. The project supports the district's goal of improving student skill levels in literacy and providing a strong basic foundation of instruction in the core curriculum at all district elementary schools.

  • Help Encourage a Reader Today (HEART) of Coeur d'Alene/Kootenai County will use a $7,500 grant to support its reading program, which strives to increase literacy skills for at-risk youth. HEART matches one adult with two at-risk children during the school year. The adult meets and reads one-on-one with each child for one half hour each week. This consistency enhances reading and life skills in these young children and allows them to develop a relationship with a caring adult. In addition, HEART provides each student with two books per month to help build their personal libraries. The HEART Reading Program also enables adult volunteers, businesses, and communities to experience the rewards of enriching young lives.

  • Friends of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library will use a $2,500 Check Into Literacy grant to support its Writers' Competition, which was created to encourage and recognize individuals six years old and above who have strong writing skills. The competition also helps discover great authors living in the area. For young writers, the competition spurs an appreciation of the written word and encourages development of reading skills.

  • Employees Combined Humanitarian Organization in Sandpoint will use a $3,500 grant to buy books for the 4-H library in Sandpoint and provide books and supplies for the Arts, Authors & Us program. 4-H teaches students responsibility, helps them formulate goals, and gives students continued growth and education. Arts, Authors & Us expands reading and listening skills and encourages creativity. Students participate in hands-on projects in the arts and create their own literacy works.

  • Stidwell Elementary School, Lake Pend Oreille School District, Sandpoint will use a $2,644 Check Into Literacy grant to support its CARE Center, which stands for Children and Adults Reaching for Excellence. The center provides a welcoming, positive learning environment for volunteers and parents to tutor children. Part of the center's plan is to improve reading, writing and spelling skills of low-achieving students. Studies show that when educators improve performance of the lowest achieving students, the achievement level of the whole school improves.

  • United Way of Moscow/Latah County will use a $5,000 grant for the Success by 6 CARES Center (CARES stands for Children At-Risk Educational Supports). Specifically, this grant will help provide educational materials for the literacy component of the CARES Center, including computer hardware, software, books, games that stimulate literacy, and age- appropriate toys that aid in learning to read and write. Expected results include children who have the skills necessary to enter first grade. Some of the children served by Success By 6 would fall behind in school without support from the center.

  • Latah County Adult Literacy Council will use a $4,000 grant for adult literacy programs in the Moscow area. The agency, which works cooperatively with the Moscow Even Start Program, is looking to purchase additional computers and software and books and other materials used by reading tutors and students. The grant will also fund tutor training and a tutor manual.

  • Latah County Free Library District will use a $2,000 grant to help build the library's literacy collection. It will help purchase books, audio tapes, GED study guides, books on CD, software, and videos in the areas of adult and youth literacy and English as a Second Language. The Library District works closely with the Latah County Adult Literacy Council, which coordinates volunteer tutors for adults needing literacy training or tutoring in English as a second language.

Verizon Foundation

Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to helping Verizon employees, customers and the communities in which they work and live 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 persons who are 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 133.8 million access line equivalents and approximately 29.6 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and nearly 248,000 employees, 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.