Verizon will partner with Encircle, a nonprofit that builds safe spaces by creating homes across the country for LGBTQ+ youth, young adults, and families to help find support and belonging, with the goal to promote digital inclusion across the LGBTQ+ community.
Verizon has committed $US1mn to partner with Encircle to develop custom tech-inspired learning spaces within four new and existing Encircle homes with emerging technology, including 5G connectivity where available, to transform the way the youth connect, learn, and create. Verizon will also supply devices across all Encircle homes, including mobile hotspots, to support fully remote and hybrid operations. Verizon will work with local partners to deliver digital skills training and drive digital inclusion within the Encircle community.
“We believe in the power of technology to transform people’s lives and help to build a more inclusive society,” said Rose Stuckey Kirk, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, Verizon. “We’re excited to partner with Encircle to give LGBTQ+ youth and their families a safe place to receive resources that will help advance their skills and promote our shared goal of equitable economic opportunity.”
“We strive to give LGBTQ+ youth a positive and loving environment that builds support within their communities where they can realise their full potential,” said Stephenie Larsen, CEO of Encircle. “This incredible support from Verizon makes our nationwide expansion possible and will improve countless LGBTQ+ lives, reminding them that they are perfect, just as they are.”
Additionally, Verizon has pledged $250,000 to PFLAG National, the nation’s first and largest organisation for the parents, families, and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. This brings Verizon’s total support of the organisation to $1mn, over the last four years. The donation will focus on PFLAG National’s creation of a virtual community and pathways to support communities of color through national virtual support meetings. The donation will also expand the organisation’s support to parents, families, and allies, with a strategic investment in staffing and technology.
“PFLAG National’s long-term partnership with Verizon has helped thousands of LGBTQ+ people and their families connect to share love,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “The pandemic proved to all of us how important connections on the phone and online can be, and Verizon’s continued commitment will help strengthen those connections through PFLAG Connects.”
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These initiatives are part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. As part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon plans to exceed $3bn in its responsible business investment from 2020-2025 to continue helping vulnerable communities and bridge the digital divide.
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