February 21, 2001

Literacy programs across the country will benefit from a $100,000 grant awarded to the National Alliance of Urban Literacy Coalitions (NAULC) by Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

The gift was presented to NAULC on March 8 by Marie C. Johns, president of Verizon Washington, D.C., during a ceremony in the nation's capital.

"We are grateful to Verizon for supporting our endeavors to strengthen urban literacy coalitions and for Verizon's commitment to heighten awareness of literacy issues and its advocacy for literacy services," said Darlene Kostrub, president of NAULC's board of directors.

She said that local Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Tampa and Washington literacy coalitions will each receive $10,000. The local coalitions can use the funds for staff, board and fund development; data collection, awareness and outreach efforts. NAULC will use the remaining $40,000 to strengthen the capacity of its national network, benefiting all literacy coalitions across the country, Kostrub said.

"For too many of our citizens who cannot read or write, it is difficult to earn a living wage and everyday tasks become extraordinary challenges," Johns said. "Verizon is proud to partner with NAULC and to help fund local urban literacy coalitions so that more programs can be available to the adults, children and families who need them most."

Citing the gap between the vast educational and employment opportunities in the Washington area and the skill levels of some segments of the local population, Johns said, "Verizon is eager to make literacy programs available throughout the communities we serve and to be a strong literacy champion in the District and beyond."

Verizon is committed to being America's literacy champion by campaigning to raise literacy levels. In 1999, the company launched Verizon Reads - a comprehensive national campaign involving corporate philanthropy, community outreach, employee participation and collaboration with major literacy organizations. Verizon Foundation has made literacy one of its priorities for funding and plans to contribute $10 million annually to promote basic and computer literacy.

Almost 40 million adults in the U.S. are unable to read, while millions more lack basic computer skills. These twin problems touch communities on every level, from individuals and families to businesses large and small. Verizon is working with a network of literacy partners to reach adults and children across America. The company's Verizon Reads program was awarded the 1999 Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership by President Clinton. For more information, visit www.verizonreads.net or call 1-877-483-READ.

The National Alliance of Urban Literacy Coalitions (NAULC) is a network of over 40 local coordinating agencies in major metropolitan areas across the country. They represent over 2,400 service providers and more than 1,2000,000 clients. NAULC's mission is to promote and strengthen urban literacy coalitions in their efforts to create literate communities, thereby enhancing the quality of life and vitality of our cities. This is accomplished by sharing best practices and resources, gathering and disseminating critical information, building awareness of the literacy issue and advocating for literacy services. NAULC believes that 100-percent literacy is a challenge that can be met.

The following organizations are members of the National Alliance of Urban Literacy Councils: Atlanta Metro Literacy Network, Baltimore Reads, Boston Adult Literacy Fund, Capital Area Literacy Coalition (Baton Rouge), Capital Area Literacy Coalition (Lansing), Cleveland Reads, Community of Readers (Greensboro), Corpus Christi Literacy Council, D.C. LEARNs (Washington), Dallas Reads, Delaware Coalition for Literacy, Detroit Area Lifelong Learning Coalition, Greater Hartford Literacy Council, Greater Milwaukee Literacy Coalition, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Houston READ Commission, Indianapolis Adult Literacy Coalition, King County Library System (Seattle), Literacy Assistance Center (New York), Literacy Coalition of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale), Literacy Coalition of Jefferson County (Denver), Literacy Coalition of Stamford, Literacy Council of Central Alabama (Birmingham), Literacy Initiative of Central Ohio (Columbus), Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati, Literacy Network of Greater Los Angeles, Lubbock Area Coalition for Literacy, Mayor's Commission on Literacy (Philadelphia), Mobile Literacy Coalition, NashvilleREADs, New Orleans Area Literacy Coalition, Oahu Literacy Coalition (Honolulu), Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition (Delray Beach), Paso de Norte Literacy Council (El Paso), Project READ Coalition (Dayton), Sacramento Area Literacy Coalition, San Antonio Commission on Literacy, San Diego Council on Literacy, Tampa Bay Reads and Tucson Area Literacy Coalition.

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