GTE joins with RIF to improve children's and family literacy.

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WASHINGTON -- GTE, one of the nation's leading telecommunications providers, gave a boost to children's literacy with a $100,000 grant to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the country's oldest and largest children's and family literacy organization.

The grant, which is funded by the GTE Foundation, is in addition to GTE's innovative fund-raising initiative, called "Check Into Literacy," which was launched last November to raise literacy awareness throughout the United States. The initiative allows all GTE local telephone and small business customers to donate $1 per month to literacy by checking a box on the payment remittance slips in their monthly GTE bills. Once customers have done so, the donation remains on their monthly bills as a line item. Additionally, GTE helps customers and others to support literacy by making donations via the website.

All funds collected through "Check Into Literacy" and the from GTE website go to GTE Reads, a public charity established by GTE, and then are distributed to qualified local and national literacy providers. The GTE Foundation will match the first one million dollars raised from these efforts.

"Solving the country's literacy problem requires the active involvement of many literacy champions from the private and public sector," said Andy Brown, assistant vice president- community economic development for GTE. "We are delighted to partner with Reading Is Fundamental to further raise the awareness of literacy, and help them provide more reading materials to needy children nationwide."

GTE is the first telecommunications company to support a charitable cause through its billing system and online service.

"Through this progressive charitable-giving model, GTE is breaking new ground in corporate philanthropy for literacy," said Dr. William E. Trueheart, RIF president and chief executive officer. "This is an aggressive program for a fast-changing world where citizens' reading and communications skills are the key to whether they can attain their educational goals, as well as contribute their talents to the workplace and the economic health of our nation."

In addition to RIF, GTE has formed partnerships with other national literacy groups. Lucent Technologies and Motorola Corp., are national co-contributors to the campaign.

About Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.

Founded in 1966, RIF develops and delivers children's and family literacy programs that help prepare young children for reading and motivate school-age children to read regularly. Through a national network of more than 240,000 volunteers (teachers, parents, community members, and others), RIF programs provide new books and other essential literacy resources to 3.5 million children annually at no cost to them or their families. Nationwide, RIF programs provide about 13 million books to children annually. By the end of 2000, RIF will have placed more than 200 million books in the hands, homes, and hearts of America's children. For more information visit RIFs Web site at:


About GTE

With 1999 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is a leading telecommunications provider with one of the industry's broadest arrays of products and services. In the United States, GTE provides local service in 28 states and wireless service in 18 states, as well as long-distance, directory, and internetworking services ranging from dial-up Internet access for residential and small-business consumers to Web-based applications for Fortune 500 companies. Outside the United States, the company serves customers on five continents. Additional information about GTE can be obtained at

GTE's community and philanthropic programs target excellence in education, particularly math, science, technology and literacy. GTE also supports job training, delivery of health and human services, and the arts. The company's newest program is GTE Reads, a public charity designed to create public awareness, increase fundraising and support organizations dedicated to improving America's literacy levels. GTE customers can contribute to GTE Reads by checking off a box on their bill. Others can contribute through from GTE at

Editor's Note: Photographs of the check presentation are available electronically by calling 202/314-3934.

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