NEW YORK: Verizon Foundation has pledged dollars 3 million to
literacy organizations in the US for the creation of an online Web
coalition known as the Verizon Literacy Network. The foundation is the
telecom company's philanthropic operation.
The first dollars 1.5 million of the donation was paid two weeks ago to
the American Library Association, the National Center for Family
Literacy, the National Institute for Literacy and Reading is
The group is building a Web site called verizonreads.com, the first
component of which is already in operation. Utilizing Ask Jeeves
technology, it allows people to plug in key words and be routed to
information on one of the organizations' own sites.
'It is built for use by people who are helping those with reading
difficulties,' said Bobbi Hennessey, media outreach director for Verizon
Plans to expand the network's features this year include establishing an
online distance-learning program to certify literacy volunteers. A
literacy directory, allowing users to find organizations by zip code,
will also be added.
The National Adult Literacy Survey states that 92 million US adults have
poor literacy skills. Hennessey said that, given First Lady Laura Bush's
commitment to literacy, there has never been a better time to promote
the issue. 'Our goal is to become America's literacy champion,' he
'Now is the time for the issue to really catch fire.'