Verizon Awards $125,000 to English as a Second Language Technology Programs

The Verizon Foundation will help thousands of adult learners across Massachusetts and Rhode Island improve their literacy skills through innovative, technology-based literacy programs.

At an awards ceremony today at the Worcester Public Library, officials announced that the Verizon Foundation has awarded a total of $125,000 in grants to 14 nonprofit organizations that offer English as a Second Language (ESL) literacy programs throughout the two states.  The grants will enable these organizations to expand their reach into diverse communities through the use of broadband and video technologies. 

"Verizon is committed to helping people in the communities we serve gain the literacy skills needed to participate in and contribute to our economy more effectively," said Donna Cupelo, Verizon region president of New England.  "Literacy is a critical component to helping people succeed in the 21st century.  We are proud to support organizations that provide immigrant learners with the necessary tools to lead happy and productive lives right here in Massachusetts and Rhode Island."

Laurie D'Amico, director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester, said, "Every year hundreds of immigrants and refugees come to the Worcester Public Library seeking English language classes that will provide them with a life line to new opportunities.  Verizon is a national beacon in the advancement of literacy and a very generous supporter of our organization.  The entire Worcester community is enriched by Verizon's commitment."

The 2010 ESL Technology Grant winners are:

  • Asian American Civic Association (Boston), for its Adult ESL project.
  • Center for New Americans (Northampton, Mass.), for its English through Conversation and Technology program.
  • College Bound Dorchester (Dorchester, Mass.), for its ESL Technology Integration project.
  • English at Large (Medford, Mass.), for a program called Learner and Volunteer Networks - Using Technology to Build an English at Large Community.
  • Friends of West Springfield (Mass.) Public Library, for its ESL program.
  • Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester (Mass.), for its Rosetta Stone training.
  • Ludlow (Mass.) Area Adult Learning Center.
  • North Shore Community College Foundation (Danvers, Mass.), for its North Shore ESL Community Partnership.
  • Operation Bootstrap (Lynn, Mass.), for its Operation Bootstrap Online English program.
  • Quincy (Mass.) Asian Resources, for its Adult Education program.
  • Top Floor Learning (Palmer, Mass.), for its ESL for the Future program.
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Foundation, for ESL technology solutions classes.
  • Community College of Rhode Island Foundation (Lincoln), for its ESL World of Work program.
  • Progresso Latino (Central Falls, R.I.), for its Progresso Latino Self Learning Expansion project.

A description of each of the projects can be found at www.verizon.com/ma.

Each of the winning programs will use Verizon's online education portal, Thinkfinity.org, as a resource to reinforce students' literacy skills.  

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, 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 $26.1 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, NASDAQ: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 92 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 last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.