Verizon Seeks Organizations for 'Check Into Literacy' Grants

Thanks to the generosity of Verizon customers who have participated in the company's Check Into Literacy program, grants totaling more than $63,000 are now available to nonprofit literacy organizations in Verizon California's wireline territory.

The Check Into Literacy program allows Verizon's wireline telephone customers to support literacy programs in their state by checking a box on their monthly phone bills to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to promote literacy programs in their local communities. This year, customers and members of the public will be able to vote for their favorite grant proposals through a new Vote for Literacy text-to-vote campaign.

Ten finalists will be featured on Verizon California's Facebook page and website. Votes will be cast by sending a text message to the keyword "Check," with a code assigned to each finalist.  The finalist with the most votes will receive a $25,000 grant. Four runners-up will each be awarded grants of $9,700.

"These grants will support the nonprofit organizations running literacy programs in their communities that are the most deserving," said Gene Eng, Verizon vice president of strategic programs in California. "Verizon's Check Into Literacy campaign is made possible by the generosity of our customers, and it's fitting that the public help us identify the programs that deserve funding."

Eligible public charities in California can get more information about the grants - including application instructions and forms, and contest rules - at www.verizon.com/ca. To qualify for funding, applicants must be a 501(c) 3 public charities providing basic reading skills and computer and Web-based literacy programs to California residents in areas where Verizon provides local wireline telephone service. Grant proposals must be submitted by Sept. 17, 2010, at 5 p.m. PDT.  Award finalists will be announced Sept. 24 on Verizon California's Facebook page and website. Voting will take place Sept. 28 through Oct. 5. Voting results and award winners will be announced Oct. 7.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 92 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.