Six Tampa Bay Area Education Foundations Receive More Than $75,000 in Literacy Grants Through Convenient Verizon 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 Verizon residential telephone customers in Florida who participated in Verizon's innovative Check Into Literacy Program, six public education foundations throughout the Tampa Bay region received $75,699 in grants to support literacy programs.

The contributions from Florida residents are part of the more than $1.28 million given to literacy organizations throughout the country.  The program allows Verizon landline telephone customers to support literacy by checking a box on their monthly phone bills to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to promote literacy.  Verizon then distributes these donations to local literacy organizations that serve the individual states the customers live in.

"This is a classic case of a little bit going a long way to address a significant challenge for our society," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's southeast region president.  "The ability to read opens the door to all possibilities.  Verizon strongly supports efforts through our foundation and employee voluntarism 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."

Below are descriptions of the grants received by the local education foundations through the Check Into Literacy Program:

  • Hillsborough Education Foundation - $17,000 for expansion of Hillsborough Reads, an early intervention literacy program for struggling primary-grade readers.

  • Manatee Education Foundation - $11,699 for Verizon Reads in Manatee Schools, a program that fosters the important role parents play in developing literacy skills in their children.

  • Pasco Education Foundation - $11,000 for Principals Grants for Excellence to purchase literacy materials while improving reading skills of low-performing students.

  • Pinellas Education Foundation - $13,000 for Teach For Excellence classroom grants, teacher-based literacy project grants.

  • Polk Education Foundation - $12,000 for Take a Look at this Book library program, targeting the purchase of books, audio visual equipment and software for use by the library system.

  • Sarasota Education Foundation - $11,000 for the Edge of Excellence Classroom Literacy Project, providing funds to teachers to explore new techniques to employ literacy across the classrooms.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery.  In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions. Under the foundation's Verizon Volunteer initiative, one of the nation's largest employee-volunteer programs, company employees and retirees have also contributed nearly 3 million hours of community service since Verizon's inception in 2000.

For more information, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

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 more than 59 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 242,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.