Verizon New Jersey Customers Can Now 'Check Into Literacy'

NEWARK, N.J. - Verizon customers in New Jersey can now use their phone bills to support literacy and make a difference in the lives of thousands of their neighbors in the Garden State.

A Verizon program, called "Check Into Literacy," allows customers to make a $1 tax-deductible donation each month to Verizon Reads, a public charity established by Verizon and committed to promoting literacy throughout the United States. Verizon Reads will distribute customers' donations to New Jersey Reads, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of issues surrounding literacy, recruiting volunteers as literacy tutors and supporting literacy programs throughout New Jersey.

Verizon will add $1 to the total amount on the monthly statements of customers who participate in the program. The extra dollar that customers pay each month will go to New Jersey literacy programs. Customers can contact their local Verizon business office to sign up for the program.

"Verizon is America's literacy champion," said Dennis Bone, president-Verizon New Jersey. "The ability to read, write and communicate is a fundamental formula for success. Working together we in New Jersey can change the lives of our neighbors who have low or no literacy skills."

According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 92 million adults in the United States have low literacy skills. They can read, but not well enough to fill out applications, read food labels or simple stories to their children.

"By increasing literacy skills, we're giving people with low literacy the tools to help them find and keep decent jobs, support their children's education and contribute actively in our communities," said Bone.

Verizon is dedicated to being America's literacy champion through its philanthropy and other support of efforts to improve literacy in the communities it serves. The company recognizes that economic growth and business success depend on having a skilled and literate workforce. Through Verizon Reads, the company works to link literacy experts across the nation to create a more literate America. GTE, which merged with Bell Atlantic to become Verizon, launched the Check Into Literacy program in 1999. The program is now available in 21 states. Since it began, the Check into Literacy program has raised nearly $600,000 from customer donations for the cause of literacy. Verizon donated more than $17 million last year to support literacy causes.

Customers who want to make a one-time contribution or donate more than $1 a month can go online to www.SuperPages.com and access Log on to Literacy.

Verizon - America's Literacy Champion

Through its signature program, Verizon Reads, the company works to increase community and corporate awareness of the insidious effects of low literacy on individuals and communities. Verizon raises funds, encourages collaboration among literacy providers and promotes employee volunteerism in support of literacy programs around the country. Visit www.verizonreads.net to learn more about Verizon's commitment to literacy.

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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 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.