Thank you, Pioneers! Happy 100th birthday!

When the Telephone Pioneers were established one hundred years ago, in 1911, their purpose was mostly fellowship, and Alexander Graham Bell was a member. Very early in their history the group began to focus on community service, and today the Pioneers are the largest industry-related service organization in the world, composed of current and retired telecommunications employees across the United States and Canada.

Education and literacy are a major focus of their work, and early in 2004, the Verizon Pioneers became involved with the Dictionary Project. It was a natural fit for volunteers who made their careers in the field of communications to give dictionaries to children and encourage them to read and learn. The Verizon Foundation supported the project, and it spread quickly among the many chapters of Verizon Pioneers. To date the Verizon Pioneers have donated over 635,000 dictionaries, thesauruses, and atlases to students in 26 states and the District of Columbia through the Dictionary Project.

Because of the involvement of the Verizon Pioneers, other Pioneer Volunteer groups became aware of the Dictionary Project, and we can now count among our sponsors many chapters of AT&T Pioneers, Bell Aliant Pioneers, Centurylink Pioneers, FairPoint Pioneers, New Outlook Pioneers, Qwest Pioneers, and Telcordia Pioneers. Together with Verizon, these groups donated 119,677 books during the 2010-2011 school year. Thank you, Pioneers, for helping so many children with encouragement and resources to develop their communication skills and prepare themselves for a successful future.