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Verizon Foundation Strengthens Communities

It is about more than just writing checks at the Verizon Foundation. This charitable foundation utilizes its greatest resource- employees- to improve communities all across the U.S.

“We have 192,000 employees,” director of employee volunteerism Jayne Mayer said. “Think of the variety of talent that we have that we can lend to organizations.”

The Verizon Foundation encourages employees to contribute to organizations in two ways. First, Verizon will match donations up to a certain amount made to nonprofit organizations by employees. The second way involves volunteerism. If an employee volunteers 50 hours in one year to a nonprofit, they can request a $750 grant for that organization.

“In many cases it means we are giving support to employees who volunteer with organizations that they are clearly very passionate about,” Mayer said. “We like to recognize and celebrate the work that they are doing.”

Last year, more than 5,000 organizations received these employee volunteer grants from Verizon, totalling more than $4.6 million.

“It’s important because it distributes money to many local nonprofit organizations throughout the country,” Mayer said. “That’s a lot of money that we are able to get in at the grassroots level supporting communities, causes, all things driven by employees.”

Mayer says that one great thing about this program is that the money can make a big difference to small organizations.

“We’ve seen success because we know it’s meaningful to the non profit organizations that receive the money from us,” Mayer said. “Think of these grants as going to primarily very local, grassroots organizations where a $750 contribution can make a difference for the organization and the work that they do and the number of people they can impact.”

Aside from the grant programs, Verizon also encourages employees to serve by organizing various volunteer activities, such as donation drives and Earth Day events like cleaning parks. For activities such as these, the Verizon Foundation allows employees to bring family members to volunteer.

“Feedback that we’ve gotten back from employees is that they appreciate the program,” Mayer said, “because it gives them the chance to show their kids that giving back and supporting those less fortunate is an important thing to do.”

Mayer said that the Verizon Foundation hopes to expand by organizing more activities where employees can involve their families. For now, the Foundation will continue to support employees and the causes that matter most to them.

“It is part of our commitment to Verizon as a company that values employees and values the community and understands that we need to give back on many levels,” Mayer said. “We have a tremendous opportunity to help our communities through employee volunteerism.”