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> Foundation > News Release Sep. 13, 2005

BellSouth Foundation launches $20 million e-Learning initiative
~ Initiative designed to address growing achievement gaps and improve graduation rates ~

For More Information Contact:
Karen Pace
BellSouth Foundation
(404) 249-2504
[email protected]

ATLANTA, November 28, 2005 – To ensure that today’s students are armed with the resources and knowledge that will make them successful, the BellSouth Foundation today announced a new e-Learning initiative, BellSouth’s 20/20 Vision for Education. The $20 million initiative is designed to bring engaging, rigorous, online instruction to students throughout the Southeast – particularly low-income and minority students – to address the growing achievement gap and increase graduation rates.

BellSouth’s investment will commemorate the Foundation’s 20 year commitment to supporting education improvement and reform in the region. The $20 million will be spent over five years on support for state-led virtual schools and technology based learning. In addition, the initiative includes a robust volunteer strategy that will harness the talent and expertise of BellSouth’s 100,000 volunteers to accelerate the work in this new focus area.

“A focus on e-Learning is a natural fit for BellSouth and builds on our history of support for education,” said Dick Anderson, chairman of the board, BellSouth Foundation and vice chairman for BellSouth Corporation. “Our investment in e-Learning will prepare students to not only succeed in high school and college, but will also give students real world experience that will enhance their ability to succeed in the workforce.”

Key partners in BellSouth’s 20/20 Vision for Education initiative include state-led virtual schools, the Southern Regional Education Board, One Economy and others. In addition, BellSouth has partnered with the National Governors Association in an effort to improve high schools by promoting online learning as a viable tool to close the achievement gap and improve graduation rates.

By the Numbers:

  • Nationally, only 50 percent of African-American, Latino and Native American students earn high school diplomas.
  • Graduation rates for minorities are even lower in the South, where the graduation rate is well below 50 percent.

~ The Civil Rights Project - Harvard University, “Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis in the South”, 2005

“The need to address the graduation rates in our nation’s high schools is paramount,” continued Anderson. “We believe that e-Learning can be an important strategy to help improve our high school drop out rates and turn the dismal statistics around.”

In an effort to improve student achievement, BellSouth will also work to expand access by supporting efforts to provide affordable technology options to low-income students and their families, allowing them to take advantage of virtual courses and other e-Learning opportunities.

Carver School of Technology, part of the Atlanta Public School System’s New Schools of Carver, will serve as a pilot site. In addition to funding seats for Carver students to take virtual courses, BellSouth will engage volunteers in various technology-based learning programs, such as Job Shadowing, Project:Connect, e-Tutoring and e-Mentoring.

About the BellSouth Foundation

The BellSouth Foundation is an endowed trust of BellSouth Corporation that is devoted to education in the South. Since its creation in 1986, the Foundation, which holds investments in excess of $57 million, has funded over 647 grants and operated numerous special initiatives. For more information about the BellSouth Foundation, please visit

About BellSouth Corporation

BellSouth Corporation is a Fortune 100 communications company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. BellSouth has joint control and 40 percent ownership of Cingular Wireless, the nation’s largest wireless voice and data provider with 52.3 million customers.

Backed by award-winning customer service, BellSouth offers the most comprehensive and innovative package of voice and data services available in the market. Through BellSouth Answers®, residential and small business customers can bundle their local and long distance service with dial-up and high-speed DSL Internet access, satellite television and Cingular® Wireless service. For businesses, BellSouth provides secure, reliable local and long distance voice and data networking solutions. BellSouth also offers online and directory advertising through BellSouth®® and The Real Yellow Pages®.

BellSouth believes that diversity and fostering an inclusive environment are critical in maintaining a competitive advantage in today's global marketplace. More information about BellSouth can be found at


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