Five Florida Students Awarded Verizon Foundation Scholarships

TAMPA, Fla. - Paying for college just got easier for five Tampa Bay-area students. They are among 809 students nationwide who received scholarships for the 2009-2010 academic year through Verizon's scholarship program for the children and dependents of company employees.

The students will receive $5,000 annually toward their college expenses. Each scholarship is renewable for three years and has a total value of $20,000.

This year's Florida recipients are:

  • Cassandra Ballenger, Bradenton, daughter of Bret Ballenger, Verizon employee in Sarasota, who plans to attend the University of Florida.

  • Justin George, Brandon, son of Angela George, Verizon employee in Tampa, who plans to attend the University of Florida.

  • Brittany Wright, Riverview, daughter of Jonathan Wright, Verizon employee in Temple Terrace, who plans to attend the University of Florida.

  • Xavier Williams, son of Adriana Williams, Verizon employee in Tampa, who plans to attend the University of Florida.

  • Mark Reynolds, Tampa, son of Donald Reynolds, Verizon employee in Temple Terrace, who plans to attend Jacksonville University.

Verizon's scholarship program selects recipients based on financial need, academic achievement and extracurricular activities. The scholarships are for high school seniors who plan to attend an accredited four-year institution.

Since 2001, 2,152 students from across the country have benefited from the scholarship program, which has invested more than $36 million toward the college education of children and dependents of Verizon employees. For the 2009-2010 academic year, the Verizon Foundation will invest more than $4 million toward the education of 809 Verizon scholars.

"Education is a key issue for Verizon and for Florida," said Michelle Robinson, Verizon's Southeast region president. "We're proud to make a significant investment in the education of our future leaders and provide this tremendous benefit to our employees."

The Verizon Foundation awards the scholarships in partnership with Scholarship America, the nation's largest nonprofit, private sector scholarship and educational support organization, which was founded in 1958.

"Verizon's scholarship program is among the most generous in corporate America, providing students with the resources needed to complete their program of study and become productive citizens," said Scholarship America's senior vice president, Donald Lassere.  "Scholarship America is proud to administer this important program for Verizon and the children of their employees."

A list of 2009 Verizon scholars is available on the Verizon Foundation Web site at http://www.verizonfoundation.org/about/press/scholstudents09.shtml.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 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 an additional $26 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 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: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 86 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations provide converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  Wireline also includes Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 237,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.