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LULAC Literacy Program for Hispanic Children Receives $1 Million Grant From the Verizon Foundation

Grant presented at LULAC’s National Legislative Awards Gala; Continues Verizon’s Decade-long Support of LULAC’s Young Readers Program

For more information contact:
Brian C. Malina, 908-559-6434
Lizette Jenness Olmos, 202-833-6130 ext. 16

WASHINGTON – The League of Latin American Citizens’ Young Readers program has received a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to expand the program, which is aimed at improving literacy and academic achievement among Hispanic children in grades 1-3.

The grant was announced Wednesday evening at LULAC’s annual National Legislative Awards Gala here.

Through the grant, LULAC’s National Educational Service Centers, which operate the Young Readers program, will expand the number of schools participating in the program in six cities: Dallas; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia.; and Washington.

“For almost two decades, the Young Readers program has helped instill a love of reading in children, allowing them to secure a basic building block needed to achieve academic success,” said LULAC National President Rosa Rosales. “We are proud to partner with the Verizon Foundation on this valuable program.”

LNESC Executive Director Richard Roybal said, “The Young Readers program is designed to help children improve their reading skills by utilizing a curriculum that focuses on reading aloud and uses a variety of reading materials including children’s books, magazines and other academic and cultural media.”

In addition, under the $1 million grant, the Young Readers program will also begin utilizing Thinkfinity.org.

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation’s free comprehensive program and online portal to more than 55,000 educational resources, including grade-specific, K-12 lesson plans, and other student interactives provided in partnership with 11 of the nation’s leading educational organizations.

It also includes the Thinkfinity Literacy Network, which offers teachers, parents and community groups free online courses, best practices and program assessment tools to help improve literacy development for children and adults.

“Thinkfinity.org will give the Young Readers program access to thousands of engaging educational resources to capture the imagination of their students,” said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. “The addition of Thinkfinity.org resources to the Young Readers’ already impressive curriculum will give children the tools they need to improve student achievement.”

Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation’s leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Reading Association, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its signature program, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence. In 2007, the foundation awarded more than $67.4 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $25.1 million in combined contributions. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since Verizon’s inception in 2000.

For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

The League of United Latin American Citizen (www.lulac.org) advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 700 LULAC councils nationwide.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, 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 66 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 235,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

VERIZON’S ONLINE NEWS CENTER: Verizon news releases, executive speeches and biographies, media contacts, high-quality video and images, and other information are available at Verizon’s News Center on the World Wide Web at www.verizon.com/news. To receive news releases by e-mail, visit the News Center and register for customized automatic delivery of Verizon news releases.

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