It starts with our community: the 309,000 talented AT&T employees around the world. We spent $200 million on training and $26 million on tuition assistance in 2007 to prepare our employees for the future and to ensure that they can deliver a superior experience to our customers every day.
By combining our employees' passion to serve with our innovative technology and financial resources, we make the communities in which we live and work stronger, smarter and healthier. Our deep commitment to the community is our heritage and our future.
In 2007, AT&T contributed more than $164 million to nonprofit organizations through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-sponsored giving. Our philanthropy is focused on education and workforce readiness. The AT&T Foundation — widely recognized as one of the most generous corporate foundations — provides more than 55 percent of its grants to underserved populations.
Through the AT&T Pioneers, nearly 350,000 employees and retirees contributed more than 10 million hours of volunteer time to community outreach activities nationwide in 2007. In schools and neighborhoods, the Pioneers strengthen connections and build communities.
AT&T's diverse workforce and inclusive culture are central to our ability to serve our equally diverse global customer base. Forty-six percent of our U.S.-based employees are women; 38 percent are people of color. We have a nearly 40-year legacy as a pioneer in supplier diversity and are one of only 12 U.S. companies that spend more than $1 billion annually with women-, minority- or disabled-veteran-owned businesses. AT&T's commitment to diversity is widely recognized, including our selection as one of the top three among DiversityInc magazine's 2007 Top 50 Companies for Diversity.
We are committed to being good stewards of the environment — that includes efficiently connecting people and businesses worldwide with innovative communications. Our products help reduce the need for carbon emission-intensive travel by facilitating video conferencing, telecommuting and online local search, among others. We work hard to conserve energy in company buildings and are committed to purchasing, when possible, low or partial zero emission vehicles for our fleet. And we encourage our customers to reuse and recycle wireless devices and accessories and our AT&T Real Yellow Pages directories — which are printed on paper that contains at least 40 percent recycled material.
More than 20 percent of eligible voters in the 2008 presidential election will be under 29 — a demographic that includes some of the heaviest users of mobile phones and text messaging. That's why we're working with Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, to connect with these young citizens in their "own tongue," encouraging them to register to vote and receive news and reminders about the election by sending a text message. They can also download exclusive celebrity ringtones that promote the importance of voting.