Verizon Foundation Awards Grant to Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation

The Verizon Foundation has awarded a one million dollar grant to the Martin Luther King National Memorial Project Foundation to underwrite the educational program of the memorial’s Visitors Center. The memorial is scheduled for completion on the National Mall in Washington next year.

According to a press release put out over the weekend, the Verizon grant, to be presented to the project foundation Monday (Jan. 15), will fund the preparation and installation of a permanent, educational component, also available online, that will bring to life — through streaming video and interactive multimedia displays — the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision and contribution to the civil rights struggle. The educational content will include historical documents, news stories, video clips and archives of King’s extensive writing and speeches, which resonate through history. It will also include rare and previously unavailable material.

The award will be presented to Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the MLK National Memorial Project Foundation, by Patrick Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation, during a Verizon employee luncheon event honoring King.

The Visitors Center is expected to attract up to 5 million visitors annually from around the globe. In addition to informing all visitors to the memorial, the Verizon-sponsored content will serve specific educational purposes for children and young adults. Among the programs that will benefit are Kids for King — featuring essay-writing by as many as 150,000 students (grades 3-12) annually — and the Dream Keepers program, which encourages college students to study the life and legacy of King in campus civil rights forums.

Verizon is also extending this educational effort beyond the visitor’s center and the walls of the memorial. Lesson plans and interactive educational tools that bring to life the civil rights struggle are available at the Verizon Foundation’s Thinkfinity, a free, online resource with more than 47,000 standards-based and interactive multi-disciplined educational resources that help teachers engage students in 21st century learning.

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is committed to improving literacy and K-12 education; fostering awareness and prevention of domestic violence; and promoting the use of technology in health-care delivery. In 2006, the foundation awarded more than $69 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad. The foundation also matched charitable donations from Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in $29 million in combined contributions.

For more information, check out the Verizon Foundation website.

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