Verizon Wireless Partners With Local, Non-Profit Organizations To Build Safe Communities

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SEATTLE - Whether it's supporting the volunteerism of an employee, loaning wireless phones for safety and security at events, or making cash donations to charities, Verizon Wireless in the Northwest Area (formerly AirTouch Cellular) continues to demonstrate its desire to be a good neighbor in the community.

"We've developed a tradition of supporting many community activities and charitable organizations in the neighborhoods in which we did business as AirTouch Cellular," said Kelley DeLaney, regional president for Verizon Wireless in the Pacific Northwest region. "Our name has changed to Verizon Wireless, but we remain committed to giving back to the communities we serve, particularly in ways that promote safety and enhance the quality of life."

The Northwest Area Verizon Wireless Community Relations program includes four components - Community Partners, Employee Volunteers, Corporate Focus and Community Phone Loan. The program is available in 14 states, including Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The Community Partners aspect of Verizon Wireless's program provides charitable contributions, auction items, non-profit event sponsorships, and in-kind donations such as surplus computers. These gifts are one-time only commitments and benefit charitable groups ranging from local branches of established national charities such as the Arthritis Foundation and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to local groups supporting safety initiatives, children and family programs and elementary school PTA auctions.

The Employee Volunteers component of Verizon Wireless' Community Relations program offers modest cash donations to eligible non-profit organizations for which employees actively volunteer. By assisting local agencies such as the March of Dimes, Youth Soccer, Boys' and Girls' Clubs and Senior Centers, Verizon Wireless is reinforcing the value of volunteerism and providing support for a wide variety of community services.

Verizon Wireless in the Northwest area also has adopted safety, including domestic violence prevention and education, as a platform to guide its corporate giving. "Verizon Wireless takes the issue of safety very seriously," said DeLaney. "We remain committed to our focus on assisting domestic violence organizations through the donation of wireless phones. We also recently announced industry-leading initiatives to enhance the awareness and availability of hands-free devices to make using wireless phones in cars easier and ultimately safer."

In support of Verizon Wireless' emphasis on safety, the Northwest area is in the process of launching a high school drivers' education program to teach young drivers that when operating a car, the first responsibility is safe driving.

Verizon Wireless also will continue responding to local needs by donating loaner phones and local airtime to organizations during emergency situations and to enhance safety at community events. "When disaster strikes, we've always been there to keep people in touch, and that's not going to change," said DeLaney.

Non-profit organizations in Washington and Oregon seeking assistance through Verizon Wireless may request a guidelines brochure and application from Susan Shepard at (425) 603-7955.

"We recognize that we can't solve all the problems in the world, nor can we meet every challenge or pursue every opportunity, " said DeLaney. "Through Verizon Wireless' Community Relations program, we plan to make the most of our resources and continue to accomplish great things with our employees and local non-profit agencies."

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 18 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. When the merger is complete, the new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at:

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