Verizon Long Distance Marks Million-Customer Milestone With $1 Million in Donations

NEW YORK - Verizon Long Distance today will award gifts totaling $1 million to five dynamic New York charities to celebrate and share its success. It took only seven months for the long-distance unit of Verizon Communications to sign up its first one million customers after launching the service in New York in January.

"As our way of saying 'thanks a million' to our first million customers, we asked them to choose how $1 million should be distributed among five agencies," said Maura Breen, Verizon group president-Long Distance.

"Our customers told us is that each of these organizations is important to New York, and we're thrilled to be able to support such worthy causes with these gifts," Breen said. "We hope these donations will make it possible for them to continue to make noticeable advances in their particular areas of community service. Giving something back is our way of building a bridge to the communities that we serve and fulfilling our commitment to service, a value that lies at the heart of our company."

Checks will be awarded to:

  • Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest children's literacy organization. In New York State, RIF serves more than 260,000 at-risk kids a year by providing new, free books and essential reading motivation programs. Nationwide, RIF annually distributes more than 14 million books to almost four million children.
  • The American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) supports research todevelop an AIDS vaccine, improved HIV/AIDS treatments, and ultimately, a cure. Behind the headlines of virtually every major research advance against AIDS over the past 15 years, you will find a cutting-edge project funded by amfAR.
  • The National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations is a leading non-profit information and education resource on breast cancer in the U.S. serving patients, their families and friends, medical professionals, the media, and the general public.
  • America's Promise, led by retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, is mobilizing people from all sectors of American life to build the character and competence of our nation's youth.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America promotes and enhances the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.

Each organization will receive at least $100,000. The company chose not to disclose individual amounts.

"We reached our goal of one million long distance customers in New York five months ahead of our target because customers were looking for a better choice in long distance ," Breen said. "Choice is exactly what we want to provide our customers. Since January, we've given New Yorkers some great service choices, with simple, easy-to-understand Long Distance plans."

In August, Verizon Long Distance sent letters to its New York customers, asking them to vote for the organization of their choice, either by calling a toll-free number or via the Internet at www.verizon-ld.com. Tens of thousands of customers responded.

"This novel approach - letting customers guide our gift - was our way of building a bridge between all of them, the communities we serve and a vibrant new company with a great new service," Breen said. It drives home the idea that in a competitive market, choice is the payoff for customers."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Check s will be presented at a ceremony at Verizon's Corporate Presentation Center, located behind 1095 Avenue of the Americas, between 41st and 42nd streets, at 11: 30 a.m. , Monday, October 2. Media representatives are invited. Lunch will be available following the event.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, 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 more than 100 million access line equivalents and more than 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.