Bell Atlantic $200,000 grant funds Urban League center

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Binghamton -- The Bell Atlantic Foundation announced today a $200,000 grant to the Broome County Urban League, Inc., to help fund construction of a Technology Learning Center at Lisle and Exchange Streets in downtown Binghamton.

When completed, the new Technology Learning Center, through cooperative community planning, will provide young people with access to emerging technology and provide adults with job training, as well as instructing them in business development issues. Senior citizens will have access to health, safety and wellness information through the center.

Planning efforts are currently underway to develop an interim site at the Urban League's Carroll Street location while the new building is being constructed. Programming will be coordinated with other community agencies.

Bell Atlantic gift is part of an overall $1 million grant to the National Urban League for development of technology centers in Binghamton and Boston, Mass.

A strength of the Broome County Urban League's proposal to the national organization was the inclusion of businesses and public and private agencies in the proposal. A key player in the proposal is the Binghamton Housing Authority, which revised plans and added a floor to a building to be constructed at the Lisle and Exchange streets location to accommodate the new technology center.

"Our partnership with Bell Atlantic to build these community technology centers supports our mission, which is to help African Americans and other urban poor obtain social and economic equality," said Hugh B. Price, president of the National Urban League. "Knowledge of emerging technologies enhances the opportunities available to members of our community to compete and succeed in a new global economy. We are very grateful to Bell Atlantic for making these centers possible and stimulating our drive to lead all of our affiliate organizations into the information age."

The state-of-the-art technology center in Binghamton will be equipped for a range of uses. It will include networked computer workstations with access to the Internet, World Wide Web and other information services for online research and programs. The sites will also allow for video conferencing and distance learning.

"New technology continues to revolutionize business, education, health care, government operations and social service delivery," said Ivan Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic vice chairman, president and chief operating officer. "Access to technology can determine whether individuals and communities can participate in and fully benefit from the promise of American society in the next century. We are excited to be partnering with the Urban League -- a dynamic leader in the national effort to provide access to the vast universe of information and prepare urban communities for the future challenges of our world."

The Broome County Urban League located in Binghamton was founded in 1939. Its mission is to enable people of color and those who are economically disadvantaged reach their full potential. To achieve this goal the Broome County Urban League operates a variety of direct service programs in the areas of education, employment, health, social welfare and housing.

Some of its most successful endeavors include an after-school program and a summer version of the program, an out-of-school suspension program, family support and the "I Have a Dream" program which helps young people aged 13-17 achieve their potential by developing life skills and positive decision making abilities.

The Bell Atlantic Foundation administers all domestic and international philanthropic grants on behalf of Bell Atlantic. The Foundation's philanthropic emphasis is on providing safe havens for youth and grants to technology and education, arts and human services.

As a result of the recent merger of the two companies, the Bell Atlantic Foundation and the NYNEX Foundation have merged. All grant programs previously operated under the NYNEX banner are now part of the Bell Atlantic Foundation.

For a complete list of grant recipients and additional information on the Bell Atlantic Foundation, visit on the Internet.

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