Four Tampa Bay-Area Education Foundations Receive More Than $47,000 in Literacy Grants Through Verizon's Check Into Literacy Program

TAMPA, Fla. - A dollar a month may not seem like much, but it can go a long way to improving literacy skills in Florida while also giving people the opportunity to succeed.

Thanks to the generosity of Verizon customers who participated in the company's Check Into Literacy program, four public education foundations serving the Tampa Bay region have received $47,740 in grants to support literacy programs.

The Check Into Literacy initiative allows Verizon landline phone customers to support literacy by checking a box on their monthly bills to make a $1-a-month, tax-deductible donation to promote literacy.

"This is a classic case of a little bit going a long way to address a significant challenge for our society," said Michelle Robinson, Verizon's Southeast region president. "The ability to read opens the door to all possibilities.  Verizon strongly supports efforts through our foundation and employee volunteerism to produce a more literate America, and the Check Into Literacy program is an easy way for our customers to join us in our efforts."

The following local education foundations received Check Into Literacy grants:

  • Pasco Education Foundation - $7,740 for Creative Teaching Grants, a program that provides funding for teachers to purchase materials and equipment needed to implement programs that focus on literacy, improving student performance, and career and technical education initiatives.

  • Pinellas Education Foundation - $15,000 for the Broadband Institute, a technology literacy program that trains young adults in the broadband technology skills needed for future employment in the region's expanding broadband industry.

  • Polk Education Foundation - $10,000 for AmeriCorps Polk Reads Program, which assists children in kindergarten through third grade who are reading below grade level.

  • Education Foundation of Sarasota County - $15,000 for two programs: $7,500 for the Edge of Excellence Classroom, which will provide literacy grants of $500 each  to educators to enhance their professional development, share best practices, explore new ways to deliver curriculum, and advance student achievement; and $7,500 for the Literacy for Life Program, which aims to improve struggling readers' skills through the purchase and implementation of new literacy-based technology to enhance classroom libraries, literacy labs, reading resource rooms or media center reading corners.

Thanks to the generosity of Verizon customers who support Check Into Literacy, nonprofit organizations in 26 states and Washington, D.C., will receive more than $1.15 million to bolster literacy efforts. The participating states are: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. 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 Verizon's inception in 2000.  For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

About Verizon Communications
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 69 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 228,600 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.