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Verizon sustains giving

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By Solja Nygard Frangos

Strong earnings by Verizon Communications will enable its  philanthropic arm, the Verizon Foundation, to keep its giving steady this year, the foundation says.

Grants by the $150 million-asset foundation should total about $70 million for the second straight year, says Suzanne DuBose, the foundation’s president.

New York-based Verizon last year earned $4.1 billion, or $1.49 a share, compared to $389 million, or $0.14 a share a year earlier, the company reported Jan. 29.

The foundation focuses on literacy, community technology and workforce development and encourages Verizon’s 230,000 employees to contribute dollars and time to charities.

The company, for instance, matches up to $2,500 a year in individual contributions by employees. They can also apply for foundation grants of $500 a year each for two charities for which they volunteer at least 50 hours each.

After handling more than 22,000 grant requests last year, DuBose says, the foundation is sustaining its level of giving in the face of growing demand from charities.

“We need to keep up with the community’s top needs,” she says. “The growth of the Hispanic population and its needs is one example of how the society is changing and we don’t want to stay static in this environment.”

Charities looking for corporate support should find “as much as possible about the corporation you seek support from,” says DuBose. “Discover what its priorities are and target your efforts accordingly.”

Formed through the 2000 merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic, the foundation is the fifth-largest corporate foundation in the U.S., according to Forbes magazine.

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