Verizon Foundation President Joins Government, Silicon Valley Leaders to Outline Technology Strategies for America's Schools

At a conference on education in the digital age, attended by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and leading education and technology executives, Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston stressed the importance of broadband technology in expanding educational opportunities for students.

"Verizon's broadband technology can play a key role in providing solutions to large societal issues, such as education," Gaston said. "Broadband technology can help level the playing field to ensure that students -- whether they go to school in a suburb, an inner city or rural America -- have access to world-class educational resources, putting them in better position to succeed in the classroom today and the workplace tomorrow."

Gaston spoke during a panel discussion on innovation and education at the conference, Back to School: Learning & Growing in the Digital Age, which was held Tuesday (Sept. 21) in Mountain View.

Gaston said Verizon's signature education program is Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), a comprehensive website that provides free educational resources to make learning fun and improve educational achievement. In addition to providing free resources, Verizon Thinkfinity offers a comprehensive professional development program that allows teachers to sign up for free online training.

Gaston was joined on the panel by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski; Karen Cator, director of education technology, U.S. Dept of Education; Shawn Covell, vice president, government affairs, Qualcomm; and Murugan Pal, co-founder & president, CK-12 Foundation.

The panel was part of the day-long conference, which was sponsored by the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy, Common Sense Media, PBS and the Children's Partnership. The conference was designed to provide a public forum for leaders from Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., to discuss the best strategies to bring technology innovation into schools and other learning sessions, and bringing the benefits of the digital revolution to parents and children while addressing online risks.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational website, Verizon Thinkfinity (www.thinkfinity.org), and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2009, the Verizon Foundation awarded $67.9 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $26.1 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 5 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 mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 92 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.