Verizon Communications, Inc.

Kathryn C. Brown, Senior Vice President, Public Policy Development & Corporate Responsibility
Christopher T. Lloyd, Executive Director, Public Policy Development & Corporate Responsibility 

Image removed. Image removed. Image removed.

 

Verizon Communications, Inc., headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. 

Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, is one of the largest corporate foundations in the world. With a focus on Education and Safety and Health in the 21st century, the foundation supports Verizon's vision of advancing technology that touches people's lives. 

The foundation's focus is preparing students for success in the 21st century workplace and improving literacy skills of children and adults. The signature initiative is Verizon Thinkfinity.org, a website of free teaching and learning resources for teachers in K-12 classrooms and afterschool programs, as well as parents and students. Among other awards, Thinkfinity.org has earned recognition as the top free educational website for each of the last three years by Edutopia magazine. 

Kathryn C. Brown is senior vice president of public policy development and the Corporate Responsibility Officer for Verizon Communications, Inc. She has been with the company since June 2002. She is responsible for public policy development and messaging, emerging issues management and cultivating strategic alliances with key national and international organizations. She is also responsible for Verizon's domestic and international corporate responsibility initiatives. Brown has responsibility for the Verizon Foundation and its focus on the issues of education and literacy with programs such as the Verizon Thinkfinity.org education website and safety and health, supporting initiatives that further Internet safety, and apply technology to increase access to healthcare.

Before joining Verizon, Brown was a partner at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. Prior to joining the firm, she was the chief of staff to Federal Communications Commission Chairman William E. Kennard, managing the agenda on all telecommunications, broadcast and spectrum matters. 

Christopher T. Lloyd is executive director of public policy & corporate responsibility at Verizon Communications, Inc. He is responsible for developing and implementing Verizon's corporate responsibility strategy. Lloyd began his career in 1983 with New England Telephone.

He has held numerous positions in the accounting, real estate operations, engineering and human resource departments at Verizon's predecessor companies including New England Telephone, Bellcore, NYNEX and Bell Atlantic. For 13 years he managed environmental and safety issues for Verizon and its predecessors. In 2004 he joined Verizon's Public Affairs, Policy and Communications team in Washington, D.C. 

According to Brown and Lloyd, Verizon's philosophy on corporate responsibility is based upon the four core values that guide the way the company conducts its business. Those values are integrity, respect, performance excellence and accountability. 

Read the interview with Kathryn Brown and Christopher Lloyd of Verizon Communications, Inc.:

How does the partnership between Verizon Communications, Inc., and NLC fit into its mission?

Lloyd: If you look across all of our main philanthropic areas Verizon shares similar concerns as NLC. It's about improving the quality of education, reducing domestic violence and making communities safer. We want families to be safe online and we're trying to reduce the incidence of people preying on seniors or children. Our corporate citizenship is all about trying to be a positive influence in these communities; this is good for our employees and good for business. So I think in that sense, we share the same goals as NLC.

What is the mission statement and goals for corporate social responsibility at Verizon Communications, Inc.?

Lloyd: For many, many years, we've had four core values that have guided the way we conduct our business. Those are integrity, respect, performance excellence and accountability.

We're good corporate citizens, and we share our success with the community to make the world in which we work better than what it was yesterday.

We build broadband and mobile networks around the globe, and they are platforms for growth. At Verizon, we define growth not just in terms of creating new revenue for our business, but also as opportunities to help the communities we serve by providing new solutions that address the problems that the communities are facing. We call this philosophy, Shared Success, and it is just as much a business strategy as it is about corporate responsibility.

What are national program initiatives at Verizon Communications, Inc.?

Lloyd: Shared Success is built upon three pillars. Shared Solutions, Shared Service, and Shared Sustainability. The first one, "shared solutions" focuses on how we provide solutions to the communities that we serve - solutions that address the issues with respect to energy efficiency and also health care. So it's all about how we use the transformational power of these networks that we're building - our technologies, our people - to help communities and to create value for communities around smart energy infrastructure and smart energy systems and also improving the quality of health care delivery.

So in health care, it could be about digital medical records and using our technology to break down old barriers to deliver better outcomes for patients by making it easier for doctors to make their practices smarter, benefitting from the technology that has improved so many other industries. It could be about home health monitoring that could enable aging members of the community to continue to live independently, or telemedicine. Energy efficiency in the home is another area where our technology can enable consumers to use energy more efficiently by providing information, which is essential to making better choices, and the opportunity to manage energy drivers like appliances.

This first pillar of our approach is starting in these two areas but obviously looking for others. How do we apply our core competency, which is building and maintaining these networks to help meet unmet needs in communities?

In what ways does Verizon Communications, Inc., demonstrate its corporate citizenship responsibilities at the local level?

Lloyd: The second pillar, "shared service," is really about how we apply our philanthropic assets both domestically and internationally to assist the communities we serve. Through the Verizon Foundation, we have several focus areas. Our signature program in the education space is Thinkfinity.org. It's geared for Kindergarten through 12th grade, and it's all about improving outcomes and really providing robust multimedia content that aids not only teachers and administrators, but also parents. And quite frankly, there are access points for students to get in there and doodle around as well.

We're also focused on the prevention of domestic violence, which affects 1 in 4 women and can often impact future generations. This may seem odd for a communications and technology company, but it was born out of our see wireless business and the notion that a cell phone can serve as a hope line. That's actually how we branded the program; it's called a Hope Line for people that find themselves in circumstances where they need some help.

There are also some really neat ties to the environment and reusing and recycling devices so that we're not creating additional e-waste. In fact, since 2001, more than 200 tons of e-waste and batteries have been kept out of landfills and we've collected more than 8 million unused phones through our stores which have helped provide $10 million in cash grants for domestic violence organizations nationwide.

In addition to programs around domestic violence prevention and online safety, we have a whole host of tools and educational material for parents to make sure that online experiences are safe for their children.

What is the corporate philosophy for Verizon Communications, Inc., employees that want to support their communities?

Lloyd: The third component of our philanthropy is the power of our employees - just under 200,000 employees, their volunteer efforts and the way that the company supports them.

Last year, our employees donated over 700,000 hours of their own time. They choose what community issues are of most importance to them, and the company supports those endeavors, both financially and by helping them find opportunities to volunteer. We've got people all around the country and all around the globe at this point, and we want them to be active members of the communities. So that's something that we encourage through our philanthropy.

Brown: Let me also say, though, when we give, that's a huge part of our giving. But we also have very specific things we do within the communities on education through Thinkfinity.org. We're working very directly with school districts and schools and communities, in our domestic violence programs where we are funding justice centers and shelters and in any number of other ways we locally support the local community. Now, we try to stay within our sweet spot, so that we are not supporting everything and anything, although, our employees can do that and we match their contributions of time and money via the Verizon Foundation.

We tend with our larger grants to stay within education, healthcare and domestic violence areas, mostly around families, women and children.

Does Verizon Communications, Inc., provide employees time during their workday to volunteer for local projects and programs?

Lloyd: Our volunteerism is entirely employee-directed. So the way that it works is, as an employee, twice a year, you get to choose whatever issue in the community you're interested in - "I'm crazy about youth sports," and so forth. So, if I decide to volunteer more than 50 hours of time in a calendar year to coaching or something like that, the company will contribute $750 to the organization with which I work. Every employee is entitled to two of these donations in a calendar year to two separate organizations that they're interested in. So, if I want to work with the Red Cross or the United Way - whoever it is as long as they're a legitimate non-profit organization doing community work - the company is going to support that, and the employee gets to choose, so that they're working on an issue that they feel is most important. The Foundation also provides matching funds for cash contributions our employees make to eligible nonprofits.

Does Verizon Communications, Inc., engage in disaster assistance? With the number of floods and storms that we've had throughout the U.S., does the company have a philosophy around assisting in those areas?

Lloyd: Verizon Wireless and Verizon Business take the lead on a lot of this for us. But basically, what they do is they have these cross-functional crisis teams that are ready to deploy 24 by 7 to go out to communities to help address issues. Think of a big issue you've heard about in the news - last year during the Gulf Coast oil spill, the wildfires in California in 2009 or the flooding that seems to happen every year in the Midwest, most recently in North Dakota. When this happens, as examples, we have teams that can deploy immediately. Verizon Business deploys mobile command centers that keep authorities and response teams connected no matter what and Verizon Wireless brings devices called COWS--cell towers on wheels. And basically, we will come out to a community, and we can provide a temporary cell site that provides additional capacity for all of the emergency responders that are working the particular crisis issue and then also to support the communities. Most recently with the flooding in the City of Minot, North Dakota, and the Mouse River, we were out there with cells on wheels. We provided more than 125 wireless devices to the first responders. And we donated $15,000 to the American Red Cross to help assist those that were impacted by this flooding.

Are there programs or initiatives that are on the horizon at Verizon Communications, Inc., that would be of particular interest to local communities?

Lloyd: Yes, with the leadership of Verizon's new president and chief executive officer, Lowell C. McAdam, there is an increased focus on using our technology to create solutions for communities.

This goes back to how we describe long term growth, as a way for us to generate new revenue by meeting the needs of f the communities we serve and addressing some of society's biggest issues. So, an example that I'll share with you is within the next month or so, we will introduce a new service that we call "home monitoring and control," and it addresses the two solution areas of energy and health care. This service is going to begin to provide some tools to homeowners, so that they can understand how they use energy in their homes, so they can adjust and monitor appliances. They can monitor lighting. They can monitor heating and cooling. Studies demonstrate that once people get more insight into how they are using energy, on average they reduce their use by 10 to 15 percent. This new Verizon service is going to help put real money back into people's pocket, and it enables them to make smarter choices about energy that are essential to reducing energy costs, and be savvier about reducing their carbon footprint. And it's the same thing on the healthcare side - whether you want to be able to put video monitoring in a home so that you can monitor your aging mother remotely, or so that a doctor's office can monitor the vital signs of a patient who wants to continue to live independently.

By investing $95 billion in our networks over the last five years, we have created ecosystems of innovation drawing partners to break down old technology barriers and come up with new ideas and solutions. So in that sense, we're also helping to create new business opportunities, creating jobs as people think about the promise of this technology.

Do you have any additional comments?

Lloyd: Our focus has always been about investing for the future and investing in the communities that we serve so that we're creating long-term value, not only for those communities but also for our shareholders. Just think about how vital communication service is, whether they are wireless services or internet services, to communities. And we want to support them so that they can become vital economic and social organisms.

Read more about NLC Corporate Partner Verizon Communications, Inc.

Read more interviews from NLC Corporate Partners The Home Depot Foundation and Southwest Airlines.

Read more about the NLC Corporate Partner Program.