NEW YORK - The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has chosen Verizon Communications as its Corporation of the Year. The award is presented to the corporation that best demonstrates a strong commitment to the Hispanic community.
Verizon was selected for its leadership in promoting economic development, procurement, philanthropy, marketing and employment for Hispanics. Verizon Chairman and Co-CEO Charles R. Lee accepted the award at the chamber's 22nd annual conference recently in Atlanta.
"I am grateful to the national Hispanic business community for selecting Verizon as Corporation of the Year," said Lee. "We value our relationship with the Hispanic community and recognize that Verizon has a direct stake in its future. The Census shows that Hispanic Americans now number more than 31.7 million and represent 11.7 percent of the nation's population. Hispanic purchasing power exceeds $450 billion, three times greater than the much-courted teenage market. Numbers like these clearly demonstrate the importance of the chamber's mission to facilitate the success of Hispanic businesses -- a mission that Verizon is proud to support."
George Herrera, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said, "Verizon is truly a good business partner and strong ally for our communities. We are proud of the many achievements our partnership with Verizon has produced. And we look forward to many more successes."
Verizon has demonstrated its commitment to Hispanic economic development and employment in a number of ways. The company contributed $10 million in the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Private Equity Fund in 2000. The fund invests in small and medium-size Hispanic-owned businesses operating in the 50 states and Puerto Rico.
The company also purchased approximately $341 million last year in goods and services from Hispanic-owned businesses. In addition, Verizon Foundation, the first corporate foundation to develop a bilingual Web site, contributed nearly $10 million to Hispanic non-profit organizations in 2000.
Verizon also aggressively implemented a Verizon Diversity Strategy to ensure that its workforce better reflects the marketplace it serves. The company also established a Development and Leadership Initiative that focuses on employee career development, retention and advancement and includes professional mentoring, career tracking and educational seminars. Verizon's Hispanic employees are the first to participate in the initiative.
Working with the chamber and other national Hispanic organizations, Verizon Foundation assisted in the development of a "Best Practices" handbook highlighting corporate Best Practices in procurement, employment, philanthropy, corporate responsibility, education, community development and consumer issues. Verizon's $1.5 million investment has helped interested businesses qualify to be part of a national database of organizations seeking a partnership with corporate America.
The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1979, represents the interests of more than 1.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States and Puerto Rico which earn more than $200 billion annually. It serves as an umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers nationwide, and it actively promotes the economic growth and development of Hispanic entrepreneurs.
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 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.