Verizon Foundation Awards $111,900 in Grants to 15 Washington County Nonprofit Organizations

BEAVERTON, Ore. - The Verizon Foundation today awarded $111,900 in grants to help meet increased educational and social services needs in Washington County.  

 According to the company's Northwest director of customer operations, Vickie Curry, the grants support the Verizon Foundation's principal areas of focus. "Literacy, domestic violence prevention and technology access are the underpinnings of all our grant-making," she said. "The Verizon Foundation is fully committed to supporting organizations that are making inroads in these important areas."

The following organizations received the grants:

Asian Health & Service Center - Beaverton ($7,500)

To help provide low-cost, community-based English language classes serving 120 Chinese- and Korean-speaking residents of Washington County, where the Asian population has increased dramatically in recent years. 

Beaverton Education Foundation - Beaverton ($5,000)

To support BEF's Mini-Grant program.  Teachers in the Beaverton School District will compete for literacy grants of $500 to $1,000 each to be used on special classroom projects.  Mini-grants give Beaverton students learning and enrichment opportunities that they otherwise would not have because of funding shortages. 

Domestic Violence Resource Center - Hillsboro ($9,000)

To support Monika's House, the only shelter for victims of domestic violence in Washington County, with its population of 500,000.  Family Advocates at Monika's House staff a 24-hour (domestic violence) crisis line.  Annually, more than 2,000 callers in crisis situations receive immediate assistance through the crisis line. 

Employers for Educational Excellence - Portland ($9,500)

To launch Literacy Partners, a pioneering middle-school mentoring program, in Hillsboro. This program will focus on improving reading skills for Hispanic students in Hillsboro middle schools. The project will replicate a successful middle-school mentoring initiative, created through E3's Partnership for Student Success program, which brings education and business leaders together to create collaborative solutions for local schools.

Forest Grove High School - Forest Grove ($2,000)

In recognition of the high school's Closing the Achievement Gap award from the Oregon Department of Education.  FGHS's was measured in several ways: by minority student improvement on state assessment tests in reading and math; increase in graduation rates; and decrease in dropout rates.  The district instituted required math and reading workshop elective courses for students below state benchmark standards in ninth and tenth grade. 

Friends of Tualatin Library - Tualatin ($9,900)

The program will offer specific computer software instruction on a weekly basis at the Tualatin Library.  Classes will use the library computers and space and will cover: e-mail basics, Microsoft Word, resume writing and Internet safety.  The classes will be free of charge and can be repeated.  The grant will also underwrite purchase of a laptop, laser pointer, and screen for the instructor to use during class presentations.

I Give Where I Live, Washington County ($7,500)
fiscal agent:  Community Action Organization of Washington County

This proposal supports a consortium of 50 Washington County nonprofit organizations working together through the I Give Where I Live (IGWIL) campaign.  It seeks upgraded e-commerce software for the consortium's Web-site portal, www.igivewhereilive.net, to make it easier for prospective donors to research organizations and give online. 

Library Foundation of Hillsboro - Hillsboro ($12,000)

To support the Hillsboro Library/Literacy Expansion project, which will provide opportunities for the library to expand literacy and reading programs. A new main library will accommodate the current need and provide for future expansion. The library supports literacy with materials in a variety of media that are appropriate to all ages. The new building will have room for four additional public computer workstations, which are heavily used.

Oregon Food Bank - Washington County ($7,500)

To support Oregon Food Bank-Washington County Services and its service to domestic violence shelters in the county.  The grant also assists agencies that provide emergency food boxes, hot meals and shelter to those in need.  In Washington County, according to the Good Neighbor Center, 20 percent of the homeless in the county are victims of domestic violence.  Many of these women turn to the county's two domestic violence shelters for meals throughout the year.

Portland Community College - Washington County ($11,500)

To help PCC create a unique new educational model that prepares low-income unemployed/underemployed people with computer applications and workplace English skills so that they can improve their lives and contributions to the local work force and break the cycle of poverty. Combining PCC Community Education Program offerings in survival English courses with PCC Capital Career Center's computer instruction courses, this new hybrid model is designed to serve up to 120 unemployed or underemployed students in Washington County whose limited English skills prevent them from advancing and contributing to the workforce.

Portland State University - Portland ($8,500)

To support the Early Language and Literacy program, an undergraduate and graduate level online course that has been provided twice to early childhood professionals. This course is designed to be an introduction to the issues, ideas and practices that help young children read and write.  The Verizon grant will target several early childhood teachers in Washington County, Gresham, La Grande and the South Coast. 

Sherwood High School - Sherwood ($3,500)

To help the high school address higher-than-acceptable literacy problems and help more students become successful in school and life.  For example, currently almost one third of freshmen fail at least one class during their first year of high school; most of these students have some difficulty reading.  SHS wants to identify these students early and get them into a reading program that will address their individual needs. 

Tigard-Tualatin School Foundation - Tigard ($7,500)

To help develop a curriculum program to provide intervention for Spanish-speaking kindergartners who are at-risk in reading and to put them on track for success. Comprehensive programs exist in English to provide intensive intervention to at-risk children in kindergarten, but no such programs exist in Spanish. The TTSD's goal is to develop an intensive one-year curriculum program. After the curriculum materials are developed, they will be printed and distributed to the various schools in the district with Spanish literacy programs.

Vision Action Network, Washington County - Beaverton ($1,000)

To underwrite Verizon's co-sponsorship of the annual Economic Livability Summit, held in September to give employers concrete tools and resources to address workforce stability benefiting thousands of Washington County residents. 

Cedar Mill Community Library - Beaverton ($10,000)

To support the Library2Go program, a new service that provides downloadable audio books for library patrons' personal computers and MP3 players.  Specifically, it will underwrite the purchase of MP3 players that will be used by librarians in Washington County to demonstrate to the general public how to use Library2Go.  It will also pay for additional subscriptions for new audio books that will be added to the Library2Go collection.  Library2Go is free for all library card holders from the eight participating public libraries/library systems in Washington County. 

Verizon delivers technology that touches life. The Verizon Foundation uses that technology and its financial resources to improve literacy and K-12 education; help families victimized by domestic violence; and improve the delivery of health care. In 2005, the foundation awarded more than $74 million in grants to charitable and nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, which is one of the largest employee volunteer programs in the United States and responsible for 2 million hours of community service since 2000 and $35.6 million in combined contributions to nonprofits in 2005 alone.

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

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 www.verizon.com.