For a powerful country like the U.S., surprisingly, sadly, illiteracy is still a problem. It affects everything from sustainable employment to maintaining good health. Some sobering statistics:
• Adult illiteracy costs society an estimated $240 billion each year in lost industrial productivity, unrealized tax revenues, welfare, crime, poverty, and related social ills.
• Adults with low-level reading skills frequently suffer from health problems because the lack the ability to read medical directions, health-related literature or prescription labels.
• Children of disadvantaged parents begin their school life behind their peers.
• Parents with minimal or no reading skills often cannot provide the kind of support their children need to do well in school.
Thanks to the generosity of Verizon customers who participated in the company’s Check Into Literacy program, grants are now available to nonprofit literacy organizations in New Jersey.
The Check Into Literacy initiative allows Verizon landline phone customers to make a convenient $1-a-month, tax-deductible donation to support literacy programs when customers pay their Verizon bill. Individual grants will range from $1,000 to $25,000. Since the program began in New Jersey in 2000, more than $1 million has been collected for the Check Into Literacy program.
“A dollar a month may not seem like much, but it can go a long way to improving literacy skills in local communities and giving people the opportunity to succeed,” said Dennis Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey. “Literacy is the foundation of a successful future, and Verizon is proud to partner with our customers to assist literacy organizations throughout New Jersey.”
Eligible nonprofit organizations in the state can submit proposals online. More information about the grants, including application instructions and forms, can be found at www.verizon.com/nj.
To qualify for funding, applicants must be a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization providing basic reading skills and computer and Web-based literacy programs to New Jersey residents in underserved communities in Verizon's landline service territory. Grant proposals must be submitted by June 10, 2011. The target date to announce final grant decisions is August 12.