Florida Nonprofits Received Nearly $1.9 Million in 2009 From the Verizon Foundation to Support Education, Literacy and Domestic Violence Prevention Initiatives

Eight-hundred twenty-three nonprofit groups in Florida received nearly $1.9 million from the Verizon Foundation in 2009, enabling recipient organizations to improve literacy skills, enhance educational opportunities for children, and assist domestic violence survivors.

In addition, Verizon employees volunteered more than 50,000 hours to nonprofit groups throughout the state in 2009.  The total figure includes matching grants from the foundation for these volunteer hours, as well as matching grants for individual employee donations.

"Verizon and its employees are proud to partner with hundreds of nonprofit organizations throughout Florida to bring about positive change in the areas of education, domestic violence prevention and Internet safety," said Michelle Robinson, Verizon's Southeast region president.

Among the grants awarded by Verizon in 2009 are:

  • Computer Mentors, St. Petersburg - $15,000 to support programs that provide computer training and life skills for underprivileged youth.

  • Brave Kids, Tampa Bay - $20,000 to develop a comprehensive, multi-lingual, Web-based resource directory to provide health services, resources and medical information for children with special needs in the Tampa Bay area.

  • University of Miami, Miami - $24,500 for telehealth program to provide pediatric specialty care to underinsured and underserved students in the North Miami Beach public schools.

  • Peaceful Paths, Gainesville - $24,500 to support services provided to domestic violence survivors in Alachua, Bradford and Union counties. Peaceful Paths, a member of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, provides a wide range of services including emergency shelter, transitional housing, victim advocacy, education and training, counseling and support groups, and batterer's intervention programming. 

  • The Florida Aquarium, Tampa - $24,500 to support SEAS (Science Education at Sea), a multipronged approach to promote excellence in science education. The grant provides K-12 teachers with increased content knowledge and dynamic curriculum, and also enhances the classroom experience.  The project includes one-day workshops on marine science (60 teachers total); a week-long summer institute for elementary teachers on marine sciences, with an emphasis on fieldwork; and an integration of Thinkfinity's resources into Aquarium programs for more than 500 teachers. The curriculum focuses on the Florida water story and incorporates the learning objectives of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). The elementary, middle and high school teachers are able to participate at no cost to them or to their school districts.

  • Florida Southern College, Lakeland - $20,000 to support of the Robert's Center for Learning and Literacy's "Project Dream" initiative.  Project Dream 2010 is designed to enhance reading instruction for Polk County. It will target elementary school students struggling with reading and provide onsite reading clinics and one 25- hour training workshop in the Orton-Gillingham reading method for area public and private school teachers this summer.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, Venice - $20,000 for expansion of the pilot high school dropout prevention program, Decisions To Win, to 249 students throughout the Sarasota-Manatee area.  Verizon funding was requested to add, develop and evaluate new lesson plan modules on financial literacy and career exploration, and to support the expansion of the Decisions to Win program.

The Verizon Foundation 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 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $67.5 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 $24.4 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: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 89 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 employs a diverse workforce of more than 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.