NEW YORK - Just hours before the Radio City Music Hall Dream Concert to raise funds for a national memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. is set to begin, the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation announced today that Verizon will make a $1 million in-kind contribution, doubling its commitment to the memorial to $2 million.
Ivan Seidenberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, has also joined the Memorial Foundation's Executive Leadership Cabinet (ELC).
"This compelling memorial will serve as a teaching tool to future generations to vividly illustrate the tremendous contributions Martin Luther King Jr. made to this country and our struggle for civil rights for all of our citizens," said Seidenberg. "Education is the key to ensure that Dr. King's lessons continue to live and thrive. That's why we're honored that part of our contribution will be used to fund the creation of interactive educational materials."
Seidenberg will serve on the ELC along with former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young; Gary Cowger, a group vice president at General Motors; Gen. Colin Powell, former U.S. secretary of state; J.W. Marriott Jr., chairman and CEO of hotel operator Marriott International; designer Tommy Hilfiger; Sheila Johnson, co-founder of the Black Entertainment Television network; Richard Parsons, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc.; hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons; lawyer and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan; NBA Commissioner David Stern; and other prominent leaders.
Under the in-kind contribution, Verizon will provide preparatory and infrastructure work needed at the planned national memorial's site, located in Washington, D.C., at the northeast corner of the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the FDR Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
Verizon's initial $1 million contribution, announced earlier this year, will fund preparation and installation of a permanent, educational component, also available online, that will bring to life King's vision and contribution to the civil rights struggle.
The Dream Concert, which will be performed today at 8 p.m. at the Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center, is a historic gathering of top musicians, celebrities, athletes, corporations and politicians to raise funds for the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. Co-chairing the concert are: Hilfiger, Simmons, Tommy Hilfiger Corporation President Joel Horowitz, entertainer and producer Quincy Jones, Stern, and Warner Music Group Chairman and CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. Viacom is serving as Title Sponsor.
Concert musicians and speakers include: Usher, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ludacris; P. Diddy, Wyclef Jean, Whoopi Goldberg, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Carlos Santana, John Legend, Joss Stone, Magic Johnson, Garth Brooks, Cuba Gooding Jr., Russell Simmons, Tommy Hilfiger, Al Roker, Robin Thicke, Kerry Washington, Cedric the Entertainer, Ben Vereen, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Tom Joyner, Bill Russell, Martin Luther King III, Bernice King, Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman, Jessye Norman, Miss USA Rachel Smith, Kirk Franklin, and Memorial Foundation President and CEO Harry E. Johnson Sr.
"I am elated that Verizon is donating an additional $1 million to help build a lasting memorial to Dr. King on the National Mall," Johnson said. "We are in the home stretch of our fundraising goal to build a memorial to Dr. King, and I call on all citizens, corporations and foundations to make a donation, of any dollar amount, by logging on to www.buildthedream.org or by calling 888-4-THE DREAM."
Verizon is also extending this educational effort beyond the walls of the memorial. Lesson plans and interactive educational tools that bring to life the civil rights struggle are available at Thinkfinity.org, the Verizon Foundation's free, online resource that provides more than 55,000 lesson plans, educational resources and interactive tools to teachers, students and parents.
Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. A memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Memorial will be situated adjacent to the F.D.R. Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Congress passed Joint resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, D.C. The Ceremonial Groundbreaking took place on Nov. 13, 2006 and the Memorial is scheduled to be completed in 2009. Website: www.buildthedream.org
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 62 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 has a diverse workforce of more than 238,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $88 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.