NEW YORK -The Verizon Foundation has expanded its 2-to-1 match of contributions made by Verizon employees to disaster relief in response to Hurricane Rita, the second major storm to batter the Gulf Coast this month.
By tripling the generosity of Verizon employees, the company has already raised more than $9 million for victims of Hurricane Katrina, the first major storm. In all, Verizon has provided more than $11 million in aid to relief efforts, including providing 24 call centers and employee volunteers in support of the Sept. 9 "Shelter from the Storm" telethon. In addition, 100 Verizon technicians are now in New Orleans helping BellSouth restore parts of its network damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
"Hurricane Katrina and Rita packed a powerful one-two punch that destroyed communities in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Extending this impressive fund-raising campaign to include relief for Hurricane Rita will support rebuilding efforts and help make lives whole again," said Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation.
Funds raised by Verizon and its employees will benefit the American Red Cross Hurricane Rita relief fund and the relief efforts by the Salvation Army, two nonprofit organizations providing aid to areas affected by both hurricanes.
The Verizon wireline network that serves nearly 500,000 customers in Southeast and East Texas continued to operate well overall in the wake of Hurricane Rita, with limited disruption.
With about 3,000 lines affected in parts of Texas cities including Baytown, Dickinson, League City, Willis, Kilgore, Jacksonville, Henderson and Whitehouse, restoration work and additional damage assessment continue today. All Verizon central office call-switching centers in Southeast and East Texas continued to operate despite the loss of commercial electric power. Backup generators and batteries kept these essential sites operational.
Additional switching and transmission equipment that lost commercial power are either running on backup batteries or on generators previously installed in preparation for the hurricane. Additional portable generators continue to be moved into the area to support the service restoration effort.
The Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications. In 2004, the foundation awarded more than 26,000 grants totaling over $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving literacy, computer and technology skills, and identifying domestic violence solutions. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and the economically and socially disadvantaged.
The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer 528,000 hours in their communities and provided $37.6 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.