Verizon Foundation Awards $500,000 in Education Grants to Massachusetts Nonprofit Groups

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BOSTON -- The prospects of moving from high school to a good career are about to brighten for Bay State students across the commonwealth, thanks to Verizon Foundation.

The foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, today gave $500,000 in "EdLink" grants to 20 educational and community organizations to foster school-to-career programs for students in grades seven through 12. The EdLink grant program, now in its sixth year, supports initiatives that link classroom instruction and community-based learning opportunities with the workplace.

This year's grants were presented during a ceremony at the Museum of Science attended by Gov. Jane Swift and nationally recognized education consultant, J.D. Hoye, the former director of the federal School-to-Work Office, a joint initiative of the U. S. Departments of Education and Labor.

"This is an excellent example of how community organizations, businesses and schools can work together to provide our students with the support and resources they need to receive a first-rate education," Gov. Swift said. "These programs will not only provide our children with skills they can use in the classroom but will also give them important practical experience that will help them in the workplace."

Hoye said, "Verizon's EdLink grants support quality programs that prepare young people for the real world they will encounter after they leave high school."

Donna Cupelo, Verizon's region president for Massachusetts and Rhode Island, said, "As the largest private employer in Massachusetts, we are committed to work with schools, communities and other businesses to encourage students to discover links between academics and the workplace. The growth of our economy depends on their success."

Sixteen partnership projects received grants of up to $40,000 and four classroom and teacher internship projects received grants of up to $10,000. The partnership grants are awarded to collaborative projects between schools and one or more community organizations, while the classroom grants are open to entries from individual teachers. (A complete list of recipients follows this release.)

The following are among the major grants:

TechBoston -- $30,000. The TechBoston initiative is a partnership between the Boston Public Schools and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship New England. Its objective is to develop teams of high school juniors and seniors who will provide computer assistance to worthy community-based organizations. Experience from this innovative endeavor will be shared with school districts throughout the state.

Barnstable Public Schools -- $35,000. The Barnstable Public Schools initiative, Career Connection 2002, run by the Barnstable Public School's Career Academies Program, is designed to enable students in grades seven through 12 to develop the academic, technical and employment skills needed in today's job market. Students will participate in internships, job shadows, career seminars, career exploration and mentor activities.

Greater Gardner School to Career Partners -- $38,000. The Greater Gardner School to Career Partnership program, called Project WATCH, will teach young women to design, build and maintain computer networks. The goal of the project is to prepare high school girls in their junior and senior years for careers in information technology, particularly in communications and engineering. Under the guidance of the Massachusetts Work-Based Learning Plan, students will analyze requirements of a real-world problem, design a solution, develop a prototype and implement a solution.

Information on previous EdLink projects, including an electronic portfolio with last year's project summaries, is available online at http://foundation.verizon.com/edlink.

This year, Verizon will invest more than $3 million in a variety of literacy, workforce development, community technology, civic and cultural programs in Massachusetts.

Verizon Foundation is committed to helping individuals and communities make progress every day. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit the foundation's Web site at www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.

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Verizon Foundation EdLink Award Winners

Winners of Partnership Grants (up to $40,000) include:

Attleboro Area School to Career Partnership -- $13,900
Barnstable Public Schools -- $35,000
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke -- $25,000
Bristol Workforce Investment Board (Fall River) -- $25,000
Brookline School-Community Partnership -- $30,000
Charles River Museum of Industry (Waltham) -- $15,000
Girls Get Connected Collaborative (Boston) -- $39,400
Gloucester High School -- $10,200
Greater Gardner School to Career Partnership -- $38,000
Lynn English High School -- $38,000
MIT School of Engineering (Cambridge and Boston) -- $20,000
Mohawk Trail Regional School District (Shelburne Falls) -- $38,000
Patriots' Trail Girl Scout Council (Boston) -- $35,000
Taunton Area School to Career -- $35,000
TechBoston -- $30,000
Worcester State College -- $35,000

Winners of Classroom Grants (up to $10,000) include:

Newton Public Schools -- $10,000
Southwick Tolland Regional School District -- $9,500
Stonehill College (Easton) -- $8,000
USS Massachusetts Memorial Committee (Fall River) -- $10,000

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