verizon.com/2017AnnualReport 8 families, first responders, businesses and individuals across the country. To celebrate the work that our employees do every day and help them share in Verizon’s future success, we recently invested approximately $380 million in them via a special stock-based award as part of our tax-reform reinvestment strategy. Delivering the promise If we are truly serious about building the future and acting as constructive drivers of change, we won’t simply wait to address the problems that affect our customers and fellow human beings – we will actively identify the challenges of tomorrow, and address them today. That brings me to the last topic I’d like to raise here. As the CEO of a major technology company that depends for its very existence upon the development and dissemination of world-class ideas, I am deeply concerned about the growing digital divide not only between industries, but also between people. Far too many of our communities have been left out of the digital revolution. Far too many of our young people are beginning their lives and careers at a crippling disadvantage because their education has not prepared them for the challenges of this increasingly global, technology-driven new economy. Our company has sought to better understand the causes and consequences of this digital divide, teaming up with partners like National Geographic. What’s clear is that if we, and other leading institutions, don’t act now to narrow this divide, it will quickly get worse, with deeply harmful results for our economy and our society. Verizon is helping to close this gap by helping under-resourced urban and rural schools provide high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) instruction. Through Verizon Innovative Learning programs, we’ve served approximately 128,000 students this year. We do it because of our belief that everyone deserves a quality education, regardless of their socio-economic status or geographic location. We do it because we know that the future of our society depends on the ability of our young people to become empowered, engaged participants in tomorrow’s digital world. Toward this end, we have announced plans to increase our contributions to the education work of the Verizon Foundation by $200 million to $300 million over the next two years. When Verizon talks about building the future and giving people the ability to do more, we mean it. We know that it starts with us. We are committed to creating the connections that bring human beings together, and that transform ideas into innovation. Thank you for being part of our journey over this past year. Let’s build a better future together. Lowell McAdam Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Verizon Communications Inc.
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