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Kathryn C. Brown

The Verizon Belief

Editors’ Note

Kathryn Brown has been with Verizon since June 2002. Before joining Verizon, Brown was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering and a member of the firm’s Communications and Electronic Commerce practice. Prior to joining the firm, Brown was the Chief of Staff of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She previously served as the Chief of the FCC’s Common Carrier Bureau. Before working at the FCC, Brown was the Associate Administrator, Office of Policy Analysis and Development, at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Brown also worked for eight years at the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) in various capacities, including as the Director of the Consumer Services Division and as Litigation Attorney and Managing Attorney for Telecommunications with the Office of General Counsel. Prior to joining the PSC, she was the Deputy Clerk of the New York State Court of Appeals. Brown received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Marist College in 1974 and her J.D., summa cum laude, from the Syracuse University College of Law in 1980.

Company Brief

Verizon Communications Inc. (www.verizon.com), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass-market, business, government, and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 80 million customers nationwide. Verizon’s wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information, and entertainment services over the nation’s most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 225,000.

The company’s philanthropic arm, the Verizon Foundation (foundation.verizon.com), is one of the largest corporate foundations in the United States and places an emphasis on promoting education and literacy, preventing domestic violence, and supporting the volunteer efforts of Verizon employees and retirees.

Can you highlight the importance of corporate responsibility and community involvement to the culture of Verizon?

At Verizon, corporate responsibility starts with a belief that what we do is important to society. That belief is at the heart of our company and reflected in 125 years of delivering communications technology to the marketplace. This drives the economy and creates the bonds that connect our customers to people, ideas, and opportunities.

But even though we are a network company and an Internet company, our relationship to customers and communities isn’t just virtual; our customers come into our stores. They see our trucks on the street. They talk to our service representatives, and our technicians enter their homes. And with 225,000 employees who live and work in the communities we serve, Verizon has a vested interest in education, safe neighborhoods, and strong local economies.

Our ultrafast broadband network helps businesses and individuals reduce their carbon emissions, allows for the exchange of ideas and commerce, and much more. At all levels of the company, our employees see firsthand how our networks and our services make a lasting contribution to their communities. That’s why the human dimension of business – customer service, ethics and values, and good corporate citizenship – is so deeply embedded in our culture and important to our success.

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A teacher leads students through a lesson using culturally sensitive education materials developed with a grant from Verizon.

How has the Verizon Foundation become a part of Verizon’s culture, and on what areas does the foundation focus its work?

Through one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, the Verizon Foundation encourages employees to contribute their time and talents to the communities where they live and work. Since 2000, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than three million hours of community service.

In our philanthropic giving, we use our technical, financial, and human resources to help bring the benefits of technology to communities, fostering relationships and investing in partnerships that address social and economic needs in our communities.

We focus on the advancement of education and literacy, family health, and safety. Our goal with regard to education is to improve literacy and strengthen educational achievement for children and adults, preparing them for personal growth and success in the 21st century. And through providing education, relief to victims, and empowerment to individuals and families, the foundation helps prevent domestic violence. The foundation also provides underserved populations access to information on critical health issues, increases the efficiency and effectiveness of health care providers, improves the lives of people with disabilities, and teaches children and adults how to safely use the Internet.

In the past five years, the foundation awarded almost $350 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the United States and abroad, much of which benefited these social causes.

Can you provide an overview of Thinkfinity and describe how Thinkfinity has evolved for the organization?

Thinkfinity.org is the Verizon Foundation’s comprehensive Web site containing more than 55,000 educational resources, including standards-based, grade-specific K through 12 lesson plans, online educational activities, and videos for teachers, students, and parents.

Content for Thinkfinity.org is provided through a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 of the nation’s leading organizations in the fields of education and literacy. In the past few years, the Verizon Foundation has committed more than $34 million to update and expand Thinkfinity.org, which has evolved from an educational resource primarily aimed at teachers to a comprehensive resource for parents, students, and after-school programs.

What do you see as the key priorities for Verizon in regard to corporate responsibility in the coming years?

We will remain committed to advancing the social causes that we have supported for many years, but I think you’ll see Verizon playing an increasingly bigger role in reducing carbon emissions in the coming years, both by improving our own operations and by helping our customers use our products and services in their own operations. It’s a natural outgrowth of the technology and ultrafast broadband networks we are deploying, a need to operate more efficiently for businesses and individuals, and an interest in creating a greener economy. Verizon will be a key player in an economy that is likely to grow more high tech across many sectors.