The Pomona Health Career Ladder program based at Western University of Health Sciences received a $20,000 grant Monday, Dec. 7, 2009 during the third annual Verizon Foundation Grant Funding Reception in Pomona.

The grant will help fund the Pomona Career Health Ladder’s Saturday academies, which educate mostly sixth- and seventh-grade students from Pomona Unified School District (PUSD) about various health professions. The Pomona Health Career Ladder started in 2008 as a joint effort between PUSD, WesternU and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

The grant also will go toward four mailings to publicize the workshops; food; white coats; medical equipment and faculty development, said Sherry Slade, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations at WesternU.

Verizon Foundation gives about $8 million to organizations in California, with $500,000 going to the San Gabriel Valley and western Inland Empire areas in grants ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. Over the past three years, the foundation has invested more than $1 million in the area.

About 25 organizations qualified for a grant this year, primarily in the areas of domestic violence prevention, education technology, engineering and math, literacy and workforce development, health and science technology and telemedicine, said Gary L. George, Director of Government and External Affairs at Verizon.

“”This is not a thank you to Verizon. It’s a chance for Verizon Foundation to thank community organizations that give back to the community,”” George said.

Representatives from each organization thanked Verizon Foundation and talked about how the grants will help them during these tough economic times.

“”We can’t thank Verizon enough, because this year we have sixth- and seventh-graders in our Saturday workshops, and next year we will have sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders,”” said Elizabeth Rega, PhD, Director of Strategic Alliances and Special Projects for