Verizon Foundation Awards $150,000 in Grants to Save the Children, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and World Wildlife Fund

In First 'Spirit of the Season' Campaign, Employees' Choices Directed Distribution of Grants

NEW YORK – Three international nonprofit organizations will each receive a $50,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation as a result of the company's first Spirit of the Season employee-participation campaign, which ran from Nov. 26 to Dec. 14.

As a way to provide much-needed resources to communities around the globe, the Verizon Foundation invited employees to choose one of three nonprofit organizations that most resonated with them and were consistent with the foundation's focus on health care, education and sustainability - the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Save the Children and the World Wildlife Fund.  The foundation committed to award a grant of up to $50,000 to each of the organizations, based on employee participation.

Verizon employees from around the world joined the Spirit of the Season online campaign, with nearly 19,000 employees participating in the first week.  As a result, each organization received the maximum grant.

"The Spirit of the Season campaign symbolizes Verizon's commitment to shared success," said Jayne Mayer, director of employee engagement for the Verizon Foundation.  "The campaign was launched to engage our employees, involving them directly in our efforts to make communities around the world better than they were yesterday.  It also demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical societal needs in health care, education and sustainability."

The organizations will use the grants for the following programs:

  • U.S. Fund for UNICEF - To support the organization's efforts to reach a day when no child dies from preventable causes and every child has a healthy childhood. The organization works in more than 190 countries and territories to save and improve children's lives - providing health care, clean water, emergency relief, vaccination, education and more.  For more information, view US Fund for UNICEF's video on ZERO.
  • Save the Children - To provide quality early childhood education to give children an early start.  The organization works in more than 120 countries to create lasting, positive change in the lives of children by providing families and communities with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.  For more information, view Save the Children's video of two preschoolers
  • The World Wildlife Fund - To support a project in a rural part of China that is heavily populated by pandas.  The project is aimed at preserving the pandas' natural habitat by providing fuel-efficient cook stoves to the local population, thus reducing the massive amount of wood that is collected for use as fuel for cooking.  The wildlife fund, the world's leading conservation organization, has been protecting endangered species and their habitats for more than 50 years, helping local communities conserve natural resources, and working to reduce the impacts of environmental threats.  For more information, view World Wildlife Fund's Cookstoves Project in the Panda Landscape.

Luciana Bonifacio-Sette, director of corporate partnerships for Save the Children, said: "We are very grateful to Verizon Foundation and its employees for this generous support during the holiday season. When employees chose one of Save the Children programs during the Spirit of the Season campaign, they are supporting a bright future for millions of children. This grant will help Save the Children provide quality basic early-childhood education and literacy programs, as well as school health and nutrition programs.  These programs help kids get an early start on learning and ensure they stay healthy so they can remain in school."

The Verizon Foundation is focused on accelerating social change by using the company's innovative technology to help solve pressing problems in education, health care and energy management. Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon's employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities. For more information about Verizon's philanthropic work, visit www.verizonfoundation.org; or for regular updates, visit the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/verizonfoundation) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/verizongiving).

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 consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with nearly 96 million retail customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of 184,500.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.