Verizon President and Co-CEO Ivan Seidenberg Honored At Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project Conference
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NEW YORK -- The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition today honored Ivan Seidenberg, president and co-CEO of Verizon Communications, with its Trading Partners Award during the Wall Street Project's Fourth Annual Conference in New York.
The award was created to honor those who embody the spirit and mission of the Wall Street Project, an initiative of Rainbow/PUSH's Citizenship Education Fund. The project was launched on the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1997 to advance his message of growth and harmony through economic cooperation and expansion.
The Wall Street Project seeks to encourage public and private industry to improve hiring and promotion practices, name more minorities to corporate boards, award more business to minority-owned companies and increase the amount of business minority-owned firms do with each other. Seidenberg was recognized for initiatives undertaken by Verizon and its philanthropic arm, Verizon Foundation.
"We have a very strong economy and there is no better time to bring economic opportunity and prosperity to people who have been excluded," said Seidenberg. "The Wall Street Project plays an essential role in assuring that all people, communities and interests are immersed in economic life in this country.
"This can be done when public and private industries hire and promote more minorities, diversify their corporate boards and engage in more business with minority-owned companies. We have made important strides in the four years since the Wall Street Project began, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue to address inclusion, promote opportunity and embrace diversity until all Americans benefit."
During last year's Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Project Conference, Seidenberg unveiled a series of Verizon initiatives, including the use of minority-owned firms for financial asset management and increased minority purchasing and subcontracting. The company selected six minority-owned firms to administer Verizon pension assets in a Discovery Fund currently valued at $107.7 million. Minority-owned firms also manage other Verizon pension assets.
Last year, Verizon had more than $1 billion of outstanding commercial paper placed by the Williams Capital Group, L.P., and used the New York-based minority-owned firm as its broker to sell $104 million of publicly traded equity securities. Also in 2000, minority-owned firms underwrote nearly $500 million worth of Verizon bonds. Since 1999, minority-owned firms -- including May Davis Group and Guzman & Company -- have handled 25 percent of Verizon's stock repurchases.
Since 1997, Verizon Foundation (including its predecessors, the Bell Atlantic and GTE Foundations) has invested nearly 40 percent of its budget in supporting educational institutions and other nonprofit organizations serving diverse communities. The foundation has been a major supporter of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, sponsoring its conferences as well as a Rainbow/PUSH Media and Telecommunications Project that provides computer and Internet training for minority-based community groups and minority-owned businesses.
Verizon executives have participated in each of the Wall Street Project conferences and Verizon has taken part in the Career Opportunity and Development Expos held in conjunction with the conferences. Verizon executives speaking this year include: Bruce Gordon, president of retail markets; Shiaygan Kheradpir, president - E-business; Dan Koeppel, executive director for business development; and Marie Johns, president of Verizon Washington, D.C.