Verizon Foundation Awards $323,000 in Literacy, Domestic Violence Prevention and Technology Grants to 33 Greater Puget Sound Nonprofit Organizations

SEATTLE - Award-winning actor James Earl Jones joined King County Executive Ron Sims today at Town Hall to help NPower Seattle kick off its newly created NPower Technology Service Corps. The collaborative project will connect students from King County's Digital Bridge Academy and the Technology Access Foundation with local nonprofit organizations that need help with their technology infrastructure.

The Verizon Foundation will provide a $45,000 grant to support students from both organizations with paid internships to help local nonprofits maintain their technology systems while providing students real-world skills in information technology support.

Sims emphasized the importance of the NPower Technology Service Corps at the event.  "The NPower Technology Service Corps will do great things for these young people and is a boost for the organizations that will benefit from their technical skills.  Strong tech skills and services are a solid foundation for personal and organizational success," he said.

In addition, the Verizon Foundation announced $278,000 in grants to 32 other Western Washington nonprofit and educational institutions.  According to David S. Valdez, senior vice president for Verizon's Greater Northwest region, 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," he said. "The Verizon Foundation is fully committed to supporting organizations that are making inroads in these important areas."

(See below for complete listing of grants.)

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.


Verizon Greater Puget Sound Grants - 2006

American Red Cross Snohomish County Chapter- Everett  $9,500
Grant funds will expand the chapter's ability to provide shelter across Snohomish County in the event of a major disaster. Emergency kits will be placed around the county in areas not currently covered by other shelter options.

Asian Counseling and Referral Service - Seattle  $10,000
Grant funding will support the Literacy for Success project. Literacy for Success, which is part of Asian Counseling and Referral Service's Vocational Services Program, an adult literacy program for Asian-Pacific Americans geared toward ensuring that highly motivated adults are linked to vocational and job skills training opportunities to fully maximize their chances of gainful, long-term employment.

Assistance League of Bellingham - Bellingham  $3,000
The grant helps fund the Shelter Outreach Service. The Assistance League of Bellingham is working in partnership with the WomenCare Shelter to provide clothing and shelter for domestic violence victims in Whatcom County.

Bellevue Entrepreneur Center - Bellevue  $10,000
This grant supports the Business Orientation Small Series or BOSS. The purpose of BOSS is to provide valuable and informative training sessions to underserved small-business owners, especially women and minority business owners.

Bellevue Community College Foundation (National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies) - Bellevue $5,000
This grant helped fund the Working Connections Institute, which prepares faculty from community and technical colleges and high schools with high-quality professional development training in emerging technologies. Specifically, funds supported a new course called, "Infusing Instructional Technologies in the Classroom - Podcasting, Video and Audio Streaming."

Boys & Girls Club of Skagit County - Burlington  $7,885
The Technology Upgrade Project will install new PCs in four of the agency's computer labs serving Anacortes, La Conner, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley. The computer labs are a central part of core youth programming. The students use them for after-school education, financial and technological literacy, career planning, tutoring, and Internet access for homework.

Bridgeways, EMR technology project - Everett $7,500
This grant helps fund an Electronic Medical Records Managment software system. By implementing an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Management system, Bridgeways will be able to better track and serve its clients. The EMR technology will help Bridgeways better serve all of its clients who suffer from mental illness. About 25 percent of agency clients currently are affected by domestic violence issues.

Digital Learning Commons - Seattle  $25,000
The grant was used for the organization's first Innovative Retreat - a two-day training session for teachers in Western Washington who work at schools that are DLC members.   Teachers became more familiar with the curriculum and supporting online resources available to them, as well as sharing best practices.

El Centro de la Raza - Seattle  $10,000
This grant supports the Financial Literacy for Victims of Domestic Violence. Through providing financial literacy classes and counseling, El Centro is able to assist participants with utilizing savings and credit effectively, so that they can stabilize their economic situation as well as take concrete steps toward homeownership.

Everett Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation - Everett $7,000
This grant funds a functional enhancement of the chamber foundation's current Web site. The project will upgrade the information available on the site to the residents of Snohomish County.

Everett Community College Foundation - Everett  $9,000
Funds support sponsorship of the Motivating Student Success project.  The project provides literacy training, adult basic education, and English-as-a-second-language instruction.

Fremont Public Association - Seattle  $20,000
This grant helps fund domestic violence assistance programs offered by the Broadview Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing Program. The agency provides a comprehensive range of support services for children and mothers in a safe and nurturing environment, while striving to break the devastating cycles of homelessness and violence.

Harborview Medical Center Foundation - Seattle  $8,000
Grant funds will support Harborview's Pediatric Literacy Program, an innovative program that helps uninsured/underinsured children and their families understand the power of books and the importance of being able to read. Beginning with a newborn's first well-child visit and through the age of 13, the child receives a book for his or her personal library.

Hopelink - Redmond  $15,000
Grant funds support the Crossing the Divide project, which provides entry to new learning opportunities for clients who have little or no access to computers and/or training in technology. Hopelink has found that many students learn computers at a very slow pace. Some of the factors include language barriers, low literacy levels, and lack of confidence. The agency has designed its learning levels and student goal assessment procedures in response to these needs.

Imagine Children's Museum - Everett  $2,500
The grant was used to celebrate national reading month, featuring the book "Bad Hair Day" and inviting children and their families to participate in a special reading event at the museum for Read Across America Day.

King County Bar Institute - Seattle $9,800
The grant underwrote the Loren Miller Bar Associations' leadership lecture series and, specifically, the "Using Technology to Empower Our Communities of Color" lecture, featuring Trish Milines-Dziko from the Technology Access Foundation, an organization that provides technology curriculum and training to students of color.

Mukilteo Schools Foundation -  Mukilteo $5,000
Grant funding supports the Classroom Libraries Literacy Project. During the first year of the project, the Schools Foundation will help raise $20,000 to provide classroom libraries to 44 5th-grade classrooms in the district.

New Beginnings - Seattle $5,000
Funds supported a special event to raise awareness of domestic violence and raise funds to aid victims and their families through the agency's shelter and service programs.

Page Ahead Children's Literacy Program - Seattle $10,000
This grant supports a Vista volunteer through the Washington Reading Corps who will hold ten workshops in non-urban locations in Western Washington to promote parental involvement in reading to children.

Potlatch Fund - Seattle  $18,000
This grant helps fund the Strengthening Technology Literacy for Northwest Native Communities project. Research shows Native people have a pressing need to access culturally appropriate technology training in the communities where they live.  The Technology Literacy project has three main components: 1) Plan and execute a technology curriculum for tribal members; 2) Develop a 3-4 hour technology training that is integrated into current fund-raising trainings; 3) Organize and host a high profile Tribal Technology workshop designed to benefit both resource providers and Native end-users.

Sea Mar Community Health Center -  Mt. Vernon  $5,000
This grant helps fund the Reach Out and Read literacy program in Marysville and Mt. Vernon. The program offers books in English and Spanish, which are distributed as part of the health care visit. During visits, volunteers read out loud to children and discuss the importance of literacy with the family.

Seattle Mental Health Institute Kids Club -  Seattle  $15,000
Child abuse and domestic violence are linked in a number of important ways that have serious consequences for the safety of children. But with effective intervention and a coordinated response to child abuse and domestic violence, battered women advocates, child protective workers, judges and community members can help keep families safer. This grant helps fund Kids Club, which provides coordinated response between domestic violence agencies and mental health agencies.

Skagit Valley College - Mt. Vernon  $5,000
Funding supports the North Whidbey Literacy program, which provides free tutoring and literacy materials for all fundamentally illiterate adults. The grant will help the agency purchase new workbook materials and upgrade existing reading computer software. 

University of Washington School of Law Foundation - Seattle   $9,000
Grant funds will support the Technology Law and Public Policy Clinic at the University of Washington Law School. Funding will support continued opportunities for students to work on high-impact, far-reaching projects focusing on developing the best possible public policy in those areas where law and technology converge.

Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle - Seattle $10,000
The grant supported the summer Children's University Digipen Academy, providing internships for children aged 8-12 to learn 3D animation and receive an introduction to video game design.

Washington Community Alliance for Self Help - Seattle  $10,000
Funds support the Technology Literacy Project, which strives to increase the business success of low-income persons and disabled entrepreneurs through computer training workshops. The objective is to increase clients' computer literacy that can be applied to business settings -- whether that is self-employment or as an employee.

Washington State Mentoring Partnership (Washington Education Foundation) - Issaquah $5,000
Funds supported the sponsorship of a fund-raising luncheon at Qwest Field on Nov. 3. Proceeds from the event benefit school-based mentoring in Washington state. Mentoring is particularly effective for young people who face risks including living in poverty, living in a single-parent home, living in a home where there is substance abuse, domestic violence and other issues.

Washington State Hispanic Bar Association Scholarship Foundation - Seattle   $5,000
Grant funding supports The Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships to deserving law students from each of the three law schools in Washington. The scholarships are intended to promote diversity in the legal profession and support the state's law students of color.

Whatcom Literacy Council - Bellingham  $5,000
Functionally illiterate adults have enormous challenges with basic survival issues, and their children are suffering as well. The grant helps the Talk Time program, which provides customized tutoring to help students achieve self-sufficiency. The goal is to bring functionally illiterate adults up to speed with English reading, writing and speaking. 

Woodinville Rotary Club - Woodinville  $5,000
Grant funds support three literacy projects on the Eastside of King County: a program to provide dictionaries to all third-graders in the Northshore School District; Hopelink/East Side Literacy Program, which helps adults with reading, writing and math skills; and the Kokanee Elementary School Summer reading program.

Zion Prepatory Academy - Seattle  $7,500
Grant supports Zion Prep's annual breakfast, which raises funds for the school's operating needs each year.