Verizon provides $25,000 Literacy Grant to Boys & Girls Club of Venice at the Kobe Bryant Bowl

LOS ANGELES - The Verizon Foundation and Verizon's Literacy Champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers showed their support of the Boys & Girls Club of Venice today by presenting a $25,000 check to underwrite the organization's new computer literacy center.

The check was presented to the youth organization in Studio City during the annual bowling fund-raiser hosted by Bryant.

"The leadership that Verizon is taking in working with non-profit agencies to impact the computer literacy of youth is a perfect example of how a large corporation can impact the quality of a local community," said J.R. Dzubak, executive director for the Boys & Girls Club of Venice.

Bryant and Emerson Dauncey, Verizon's director of customer operations in California, presented the check.

"This kind of program is making a difference in the lives of our children, and Verizon is proud to be a part of this effort," said Dauncey. "Computer literacy will help these young people to develop the life skills and economic opportunities that can change their lives."

The Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, the
national communications company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE.

"The Verizon Foundation and the Kobe Bryant Foundation are teammates in the fight for literacy," said Byrant, who served as Verizon's Literacy Champion for the past year. "And that partnership is making an important grant to the Boys & Girls Club for computer literacy."

The funds donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Venice will be used to establish, equip and staff the Computer Education Center, a cornerstone of the club's Education Project 2000.

Verizon Communications, the national telecommunications company formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is committed to promoting literacy efforts. To that end, the company has launched a Presidential award-winning program, Verizon Reads - a comprehensive national initiative involving corporate philanthropy, community outreach, employee participation and collaboration with major literacy organizations.

The Verizon Check Into Literacy grants program is part of a national commitment to fund more than $5.5 million in literacy initiatives this year. Verizon Reads supports a wide variety of literacy programs and works with a network of collaborative literacy partners to reach adults and children across America including the National Institute for Literacy, Literacy Volunteers of America, National Coalition for Literacy, National Alliance of Urban Literacy Coalitions,
National Center for Family Literacy, Reading isFundamental, American Library Association, Communities In Schools and Everybody Wins!

In California, more than $1 million of the region's $3.2 million budget will be earmarked for literacy programs.

The Verizon Reads Literacy Champion program was established in 1998 and has raised millions of dollars for literacy programs across the country. Verizon Reads is a comprehensive national campaign of corporate philanthropy, customer outreach, employee participation and corporate partner collaboration. It is designed to reach nearly 40 million American adults and their families who have serious problems with literacy. Verizon is committed to being America's
Literacy Champion and is the proud recipient of the 1999 Presidential Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership.

Verizon Communications

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 25.6 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 .