SBC Foundation: Gives $1 Million Grant to Amber Alert Network to Improve Technology to Find Missing Children

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Howard Riefs


U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and SBC Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre
announce SBC Excelerator grant for state law enforcement to enhance AMBER Alerts

MILWAUKEE, August 2, 2004 – SBC Communications Inc. is answering the call of the national AMBER Alert Plan with a $1 million grant in technology funding to support law enforcement officers in protecting families throughout the SBC 13-state region. The national SBC Excelerator AMBER Alert grant program is provided through the SBC Foundation – the philanthropic arm of SBC Communications – to help law enforcement agencies enhance the management and dissemination of their AMBER Alerts.

In a ceremony held today at the Heidi Search Center in San Antonio, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO of SBC Communications Inc., jointly announced this new national grant program. Mark Klaas, a nationwide advocate for the protection of missing children and father of Polly Klaas who was kidnapped and murdered, joined Sen. Hutchison and Mr. Whitacre in making the announcement. Also participating were members of the law enforcement and broadcast media communities with responsibilities for the AMBER program.

“This grant initiative will be a valuable companion to my bill implementing a nationwide alert system,” said U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. “Accurate and timely information is essential when searching for a missing child. History shows that acting quickly in the hours after an abduction can make all the difference. This program will give law enforcement new allies to help them return kids safely to their homes. I deeply appreciate SBC’s generosity and continued commitment to public service.”

SBC Communications has supported the AMBER Alert program for two years through a network paging system that sends AMBER Alerts to field technicians. This program puts thousands of extra eyes and ears on alert in SBC communities to help recover missing children. The company is now providing funding to support the technologies that powers AMBER alerts across each of the 13 states in the SBC service area.

“We commend U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in creating policy that helps us protect our families, and we are pleased to collaborate with her and the state law enforcement agencies that have AMBER program responsibility,” said Ed Whitacre, chairman and CEO, SBC Communications Inc. “This SBC Excelerator grant will aid state law enforcement with the technology required to enhance their AMBER programs and help the families and children in the places where we live and work.”

The AMBER Alert program was created in 1996 when Dallas/Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find 9-year old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then murdered. On Sept. 3, 2002, Sen. Hutchison, co-introduced legislation to establish a nationwide communications-warning network in child abduction cases. Her proposal was signed into law by President George W. Bush on April 20, 2003 as part of the PROTECT Act.

The SBC Excelerator AMBER Alert grant program is invitational and available to the law enforcement agency with responsibility for AMBER Alert management in each SBC state. The program will fund projects that build the technology infrastructure of law enforcement to enhance AMBER Alert capabilities. Examples of qualifying projects include technology upgrades to the emergency alert system (EAS) for improved AMBER Alert dissemination, network connectivity to enable easy sharing of database applications used in the AMBER Alert program, video-conferencing or Web-based training that supports AMBER Alert activities, and new or enhanced software that aids in the management and dissemination of AMBER Alerts.

Projects funded through the SBC Excelerator grant will be awarded to one qualified law enforcement agency that meets the criteria outlined in the request for proposal in the following SBC operating states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. SBC Excelerator, the SBC Foundation’s signature grant making initiative, funds projects that use technology to build stronger communities. The 2004 SBC Excelerator program will provide $9 million in national and competitive grants to help nonprofits fully integrate technology into their ongoing operations and community outreach.

The AMBER Alert program is the third $1 million 2004 SBC Excelerator national grant recipient. A $1 million SBC Excelerator grant to the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the National Urban League was announced in July. In coming months, the SBC Foundation will announce additional regional nonprofit recipients benefiting from $5 million in competitive grants awarded throughout the SBC 13-state region. Since SBC Excelerator’s inception in 2002, nearly $20 million in technology grants has been awarded to more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations.

The SBC Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2004. In the past two decades, SBC Communications and the SBC Foundation have contributed more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations and affiliates across the country.

The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc. The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Foundation Center has consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation’s top six corporate foundations. In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities.

SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 24 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation’s leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also now offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at