Verizon Literacy Grants Spell Progress for Washington Nonprofits

EVERETT, Wash. - Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is awarding more than $157,000 in literacy grants to 11 nonprofit organizations throughout Washington, reaffirming the company's commitment to improving literacy.

"Verizon literacy grants support projects designed to improve reading and writing skills and make a positive difference in people's lives," said John Gustafson, Verizon external affairs director. "These grants will help us to create a more literate work force and will benefit the communities we serve."

    Verizon Foundation is awarding literacy grants to the following organizations:

  • Alliance for Education will use a $10,000 grant to support Teach the Teachers. This project will teach computer literacy to kindergarten through 12th grade teachers. The teachers, in turn, will integrate technology into their curriculum. Some 170 teachers will attend a one-week training session at Western Washington University. In addition, 30 teachers will be trained in peer coaching to enable them to assist others in their schools with computer literacy training.

  • Communities in Schools will use a $10,000 grant to support literacy programs in four elementary schools serving impoverished areas. Programs will be tailored to each school and include family literacy conferences, back-to-school nights, learning objectives, awards for reading goals and family reading nights.

  • Everett Community College will use a $10,000 grant to establish a wireless computer lab using English as a Second Language and serving adult and youth. Funds will help purchase 14 laptop computers, complete with language-learning software. The program will begin at selected Everett and Marysville schools. Studies show computers used in English as a Second Language programs shorten the English learning curve for students, while helping them bridge the digital divide.

  • Monroe School District will use a $24,930 grant to support the Verizon Educational Technology Center. This collaborative effort between Everett Community College and Monroe School District will provide English as a Second Language classes in east Snohomish County. The project will offer basic-skills training to under-served populations with the goal of helping participants receive adult basic education and general educational development certificates.

  • North Central Educational Service District will use a $10,000 grant to improve literacy for migrant families in the Wenatchee area through a computer literacy program. The project will train migrant parents and students to use computer equipment, the Internet and e-mail. Fifty families from five pilot schools in North Central Washington will participate. The project will improve family literacy for migrant families, increase communication with area schools and support student learning in the home.

  • Page Ahead will use a $20,000 grant to support the Children's Literacy Project. This grant will provide more than 42,000 new books for at-risk children in Benton, Franklin, Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan, King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. Through this partnership, Verizon will promote Verizon Reads With the Huskies, a local literacy program, during the upcoming football and basketball seasons.

  • Refugee and Immigrant Forum will use a $10,000 grant to assist the Key Links Access Guide Audio Translation project. This project helps English and non-English speaking residents navigate a complex system of community services by providing vital information in their native languages. This grant will underwrite audio translation of the guide into 16 languages.

  • The Seattle Times Newspapers in Education will use a $20,000 grant to provide curriculum materials and newspapers to teachers and students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The educational materials include the Effective Learning Series, a skill-building program for reading, writing and math; Serialized Stories, which builds reading comprehension and vocabulary; and collaborative projects with the Pacific Science Center and Museum of History and Industry.

  • University of Washington will use a $10,000 grant to help fund the Okanogan Pipeline Literacy and Book Arts project, which promotes literacy and improves academic achievement in writing and reading. University of Washington undergraduate students, serving as literacy tutors and book-making guides, will work with at-risk youth in kindergarten through 12th grade in three rural Okanogan schools. During the project, students will write, illustrate and present their own books, voicing their personal and cultural histories. After helping students in the classroom, the UW student instructors will continue as tutors and mentors through online, Web-based chat rooms and writing assignments.

  • Washington Literacy has used a $25,000 to produce the second annual Washington Literacy Summit: Literacy - Connecting with Children and Teens. Governor Locke was the keynote speaker. Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson, educators, nonprofits and corporate philanthropists contributed to the program.

  • Whatcom Literacy Council will use a $7,500 grant to support a student-tutoring project for English language learners in Whatcom County. Students will receive individual learning assessments, lesson plans, books and other materials. Tutors will be recruited and trained and the community will be educated about the tremendous need for these literacy services.

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 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 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.