Verizon’s Bookish With Its Charitable Approach Companies Best Sponsor (Large Firm): Verizon By SLAV KANDYBA Staff Reporter Telecommunications giant Verizon Wireless is a very strategic company. For example, it’s investing $1 billion to build-up its broadband Internet infrastructure. The announcement of that event made headlines, sure. But Verizon’s investing in something much less high-tech didn’t. In fact, it’s not even low-tech or tech at all. It’s literacy. “We’d like to be known as a literacy champion,” said Francisco Uribe, vice president for community and government relations for the area that includes the San Fernando Valley. Verizon certainly puts its money where it’s mouth is, too: Bookends, a nonprofit that provides recycled books for needy children, received $20,000 in 2004, which, when added up, brings the total contributions over the last three years to $95,000, said Robin Keefe, the co-founder of the nonprofit. “Verizon is probably one of the most outstanding corporate benefactors for nonprofits,” she added. “They really set the standard … by their commitment to the community, outreach and putting resources behind it.” According to a tally kept on the Verizon Foundation, the company’s philanthropic branch Web site , one of the few that’s bilingual, both in English and Spanish, Verizon says , the company has given a total of $1,847,428 worth of grants so far this year. The Valley Family Center received $15,000, with the money going towards expansion of the facility that helps children who have emotional or psychological problems, Uribe said. North Valley YMCA received a $5,000 grant towards the establishment of a literacy program, as did Los Angeles Valley College. High-Tech High, a school soon to be opened on the campus of Monroe High School, appears to be the recipient of the largest grant. The state-of-the-art school that will feature “everything on laptops,” Uribe said, is scheduled to have a ribbon-cutting in December with $50,000 worth of Verizon funding already having been invested.