Verizon Foundation Awards Grants of More Than $135,000 to 25 Westchester Nonprofit Organizations

The Verizon Foundation is providing grants totaling more than $135,000 to 25 Westchester nonprofits.  The grants were announced at a reception held Thursday (Nov. 10) at the White Plains campus of one of the nonprofits, the Sisters of the Divine Compassion.

"As a key corporate neighbor in the Westchester community, Verizon places a priority on assisting county residents in any way we can," said Verizon Vice President Jim Gerace.  "We are proud that we are able to help these outstanding nonprofits in their efforts to provide vitally needed services, resources and programs that will impact hundreds of lives in dozens of ways in Westchester.

"Over the past 10 years, Verizon has donated more than $5 million to nonprofits across the county, benefitting residents in areas of technology and education, and raising awareness of domestic violence," he said.

The agencies receiving grants participated in a competitive grant-award process earlier this year, submitting proposals that outlined how the agencies could effectively reach the communities they serve by using technology and education to raise awareness of domestic violence, literacy and health and safety issues.

"In tough economic times, it is critical that business, government and nonprofits work side by side to stretch existing resources and create new ones," said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "The Verizon Foundation is to be commended for all its efforts in strengthening Westchester by putting money, energy and technology to work for our communities."

Speaking at the event was Michelle Ifill, a senior vice president and general counsel for Verizon, who is also a New Rochelle resident and involved with the company's pro bono legal assistance program. 

"One of Verizon's greatest strengths has always been our dedication to improving the lives of people in the communities we serve," she said.

As part of that commitment, Verizon's attorneys provide pro bono legal services to not-for-profits, particularly those that focus on domestic violence and education.  Since the inception of Verizon's pro bono initiative, well over half of Verizon's attorneys have participated.

Examples of the work that the Verizon grants will support include:

  • Westchester Community College - An online math tutor program tailored to students who lack developmental math skills, particularly those who may not have had access to math assistance in high school.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon - A Robotics Club program for middle school students.  Verizon IT managers will volunteer to mentor the students on how to build LEGO robots.  The Verizon grant will help to purchase the robots.
  • Ossining Public Schools - A cybersafety program for elementary-school children, their teachers and families.
  • Junior Achievement of Hudson Valley - Creating mentoring programs for Yonkers and Mount Vernon students.  Verizon engineers partner with Junior Achievement as volunteer mentors.
  • African American Men of Westchester - Hosting a Men Speaking to Men conference for male youth education on the prevention of domestic violence.  Conference attendees will contribute used cell phones to the Verizon Wireless Hopeline, to be refurbished and distributed to victims of domestic violence.
  • Sisters of the Divine Compassion - Initiating a comprehensive sustainability program on the group's White Plains campus, including transformation to an energy-efficient campus and an environmental action program for students.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 107 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with $106.6 billion in 2010 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.