Verizon Spokesperson James Earl Jones to Present Russian Film Talent Award

NEW YORK -Verizon spokesperson and award-winning actor James Earl Jones will present the first annual Most Promising Talent Award to a member of the Russian film industry on Thursday, Oct. 30, during the closing ceremony of the annual New York Russian Film Festival. Verizon is a sponsor of this year's festival, held Oct. 23 through Nov. 2. The ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute/Alliance Francaise, 55 E. 59th St.

"Verizon values the diversity of our markets, and we are committed to their importance and growth," said Jill Wagner, Verizon vice president of consumer marketing. "We reach out to each segment through relevant in-language and in-culture advertising, marketing programs and grass-roots community initiatives. The Russian-speaking community enriches life in New York -- from great music and art to creative entrepreneurs. "

Verizon increased the company's commitment to its Russian-speaking customers by establishing a Russian language service center in 1997. "Our goal is to develop a strong relationship with consumers and Russian-American businesses so that we can better understand the community's needs," said Wagner.

Lawrence Weinberg, president of Novoye Russkoye Slovo Publishing, which organized the film festival, said, "Verizon was one of the first American companies to recognize the significance of Russian-speaking Americans. As the market has grown, Verizon has been with us every step of the way, supporting our community and cultural events."

Earlier in the day, Jones will visit the Educational Center for Russian Jewry to help present a $13,000 grant from Verizon. The grant will fund a work force development program for Russian-speaking individuals who recently emigrated from Russia to the metropolitan New York area.

Verizon Foundation last year awarded 22,000 grants totaling more than $70 million to nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer more than 500,000 hours in their communities and provided $27.8 million in matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 139 million access line equivalents and 36 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with nearly 16 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.