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Literacy: Verizon's Silver Bullet

May 1, 2009


At ProLiteracy’s annual conference in Little Rock last year, I was fortunate to attend a reception underwritten by the Verizon Foundation.  Dennis Russell, Verizon’s VP of Outreach, spoke about Verizon’s social and charitable causes:

Verizon Foundation

For many years, when we were GTE, our corporation invested in America by becoming engaged in and funding efforts in three areas:  Education, Workforce Readiness, and Crime Prevention.

But after 20 years of investing in these causes, we came to realize that Literacy was the issue that under-girded them all.  

  1. If you can’t read, education is beyond your reach.  
  2. If, then, you can’t get a good education, you will not be qualified to enter the workplace at a level of competence that will provide sustainable income.  
  3. And all the research demonstrates that underemployment is a primary if not the primary contributor to crime.

So now Verizon places the vast majority of charitable investments in Literacy initiatives.


And Verizon places millions of monies where its mouth is, becoming one of America’s biggest funders of literacy initiatives  and operating one of the most important tools for literacy available–

Why bother?  First and foremost, for Verizon–as for any corporation that employs humans–an investment in literacy is an investment in its own future.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2009 10:10 am

    I just read your article in the IBPA Independent- “Diagnosis – Big Trouble: The Case for a Reader Creation and Development Board.” I am in total agreement with everything you say.

    David, as an author with limited funds, I have been hampered by “lack of interest” and “gatekeepers” at every turn and a disinterested public – disinterested in books. Even though my book won the gold fantasy award at Mom’s Choice, was one of the most watched book videos on the web – my sales are very slow. Two years ago I put postcards in my books – I got one back – this past Thursday! Two years after it was given to the reader! Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled this reader took the time to reply!

    You mention you’d like to form this board. I’d like to be considered for one of your members. I agree. Teachers, Librarians, Verizon, . . .on and on….are NOT reaching readers. A few blogs like “Goodreads” are…but that is very slow as well. One brick at a time. I agree…we need an MTV approach. People’s attention span is 3 minutes or less. You can’t read a book in 3 minutes. THAT is our challenge.

    Please contact me.
    Ellen Grau

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