Verizon Volunteers Program Encourages Support for Nonprofit Agencies

PORTAGE, Wis. - Jim Bryan helped develop a hiking trail at the Portage Canal that is accessible to all, just because he knew it was the right thing to do. But receiving a $500 grant from Verizon Foundation allowed the Portage Canal Society Inc. to purchase needed gravel and tools as well.

Bryan, a network engineer for Verizon, has volunteered with the agency for more than eight years. "Our goal is to not only preserve the Portage Canal as a historical artifact, but also to develop the area as a recreational corridor," he said. "The hiking trail is unique and offers additional access to the area for the physically impaired."

The trail was designed with extra width, minimal slopes and benches at regular intervals. The benches have a special design and an extra-large paved area around them that allows easy access for people who use wheelchairs.

Bryan received the grant under the company's Verizon Volunteers program, which encourages employees to volunteer in their communities and matches their efforts with donations from the company's philanthropic arm, Verizon Foundation.

"Verizon Volunteers gives our employees the power to help nonprofit agencies in the communities we serve and encourages them to be generous with their time and money," said Lou Ann Novak, Verizon Foundation representative.

The program was launched in February 2001 and has been growing steadily. More than 64,000 Verizon employees participated last year, resulting in $28 million and 522,000 volunteer hours donated to 10,353 organizations throughout the nation. In Wisconsin alone, 67 agencies received more than $98,000 in contributions and 3,716 hours in volunteer time.

    Highlights of the program include:

  • Employees who volunteer 50 or more hours per year at nonprofit organizations can receive a $500 Verizon Foundation grant for up to two separate organizations. The grants are given to the organizations in the employee's name.

  • Teams of 10 or more Verizon employees who participate in a fundraising pledge-a-thon for a qualified nonprofit organization can get matching grants from the foundation for any funds they raise up to $25,000 per team.

  • Employees who donate $25 or more to a qualified tax-exempt nonprofit organization of their choice can have those gifts matched by Verizon Foundation up to a total of $2,500 per year.

  • Employees can donate to any college or university, and Verizon Foundation will match up to $15,000 annually, with a 2-to-1 match for the first $250 given by the employee.

  • Employees can donate to disaster relief efforts around the globe, and the foundation will make up to $2,500 per year available for matching gifts.

"Verizon Volunteers is one of the most inclusive corporate employee volunteer incentive programs in the nation," Novak said. "The good works of our employees strengthen our bond with our communities and our customers."

Verizon Foundation is committed to helping people and communities make progress every day. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. 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. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and
33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.