Verizon Foundation Provides Funding for 11 South Carolina Literacy Programs

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Eleven South Carolina literacy programs will receive a total of $52,231 from the Verizon Foundation - the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications - to support programs ranging from basic reading skills to learning English to improving computer literacy.  The grants complete the last phase of the foundation's funding in South Carolina for 2006.

The foundation announced in July that it would award grants to support literacy programs conducted by qualifying 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations in the state and asked the organizations to submit proposals.  The foundation received 24 proposals by the deadline at the end of August. 

"A literate society continues to be the key component toward meeting many of the challenges facing America today," said Alan Ciamporcero, Verizon's Southeast region president.  "If you can read, you can do anything - there really is no limit.  That is why the Verizon Foundation has chosen to make improved literacy skills a very important plank in its overall platform of support."

Winners and their specific grant-supported programs are:

Allendale County First Steps Partnership Board - Allendale; Expansion of a book-distribution program for underserved children under the age of 5 in Allendale County.

Briggs-Delaine Cultural Center - Summerton; Funding for Phase Two of the Literacy and Educational Achievement Project.

Fairfield County Literacy Council - Winnsboro; Computer-based pre-GED classes for the citizens of Fairfield County.

Georgetown County First Steps Partnership - Georgetown; Child-care scholarships for at-risk Hispanic families, enabling them to attend a program that includes a strong English-language-learning component.

Georgetown High School/Howard Adult Center - Georgetown; Educational services, including a strong literacy program, incorporating welfare-to-workforce activities in rural areas of Georgetown County.

Greenville Literacy Association - Greenville; Literacy instruction materials for volunteer tutors, to be used in both adult basic education and English as a second language programs.

Laurens County Literacy Council - Laurens; Project Catch Up will provide technology updates for the Learning Lab.

Operation Outreach USA (Bishopville Primary School - Bishopville and St. Teresa Comm. Outreach and Empowerment) - Lake City; Literacy education program for all pre K - third grade students at the school; literacy program for adults and children in the St. Teresa literacy preparedness program.

Reach Out and Read South Carolina - Columbia; Expansion of existing literacy programs in South Carolina.

South Carolina Council on Economic Education - Columbia; Training for K-5 teachers on using children’s literature to enhance economics and history education.

United Way of Sumter, Clarendon and Lee Counties - Sumter; Building literacy through technology will provide classroom computers and children’s books for private childcare programs serving at-risk preschool children.

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 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 55 million customers nationwide.  Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks.  Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of more than 252,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.