Verizon Foundation Awards $1 Million Grant to Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Foundation

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WASHINGTON - The Verizon Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the MLK National Memorial Project Foundation to underwrite the educational program of the memorial's Visitors Center.  The memorial is scheduled for completion on the National Mall in Washington next year.

The Verizon grant, to be presented to the project foundation Monday (Jan. 15), will fund the preparation and installation of a permanent, educational component, also available online, that will bring to life -- through streaming video and interactive multimedia displays -- the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision and contribution to the civil rights struggle.   The educational content will include historical documents, news stories, video clips and archives of King's extensive writing and speeches, which resonate through history.  It will also include rare and previously unavailable material.

The memorial will be constructed at the northeast corner of the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the FDR Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.

The award will be presented to Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the MLK National Memorial Project Foundation, by Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation, during a Verizon employee luncheon event honoring King. 

"Dr. King's vision of equality and opportunity continues to inspire generations around the globe," Gaston said. "We're honored to contribute 1 million dollars to the MLK Memorial Foundation to help enlighten the millions of visitors who will visit the memorial to honor the man and learn of Dr. King's historic accomplishments."

Johnson said, "Thanks to the generosity of the Verizon Foundation, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial will be enhanced through the funding of a permanent, interactive educational guide that will teach the important lessons of the life and work of Dr. King not only to visitors on the National Mall, but to millions of students across America who participate in our outreach programs for years to come.  "We applaud Verizon for its commitment to our vision of perpetuating Dr. King's legacy."

The Visitors Center is expected to attract up to 5 million visitors annually from around the globe.  In addition to informing all visitors to the memorial, the Verizon-sponsored content will serve specific educational purposes for children and young adults.  Among the programs that will benefit are Kids for King - featuring essay-writing by as many as 150,000 students (grades 3-12) annually - and the Dream Keepers program, which encourages college students to study the life and legacy of King in campus civil rights forums.

Verizon is also extending this educational effort beyond the visitor's center and the walls of the memorial.  Lesson plans and interactive educational tools that bring to life the civil rights struggle are available at the Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity, a free, online resource with more than 47,000 standards-based and interactive multi-disciplined educational resources that help teachers engage students in 21st century learning.

For King's dream to say alive, Gaston explained, its participation in the national school curriculum must be ensured.

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

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 2008. Website:

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, 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 nearly 57 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.  For more information, visit


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