Self-Help for the Elderly and Congress of California Seniors Receive $150,000 Grant From Verizon to Address Elder Abuse in the Bay Area

Self-Help for the Elderly and the Congress of California Seniors announced Tuesday (Dec. 8) that they have received $150,000 from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, to continue an elder-abuse awareness program for senior citizens in Santa Clara and Ventura counties.

Including this contribution, Verizon has awarded a total of $300,000 to the organizations for the Commitment to End Abuse of Seniors and Elders program (CEASE). 

Through the program, Self-Help for the Elderly and the Congress of California Seniors have partnered with local senior service providers and domestic violence prevention groups to implement an education and outreach campaign, publish multilingual education materials, and direct information about local resources available to victims and family members.

"Our seniors are very vulnerable and we must make every effort to protect them," said Anni Chung, president and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly.  "I look forward to working with the Congress of California Seniors and Verizon to educate the public and families about the effects and consequences of elder abuse."

Hank Lacayo, president of the Congress of California Seniors, said, "In recent years, financial abuse, physical assault and family-related violence have increased while public resources to identify abuse and to protect victims have been cut back, creating a budget crisis for agencies fighting abuse. The continued funding from Verizon will help us prevent ongoing abuse and raise awareness of this critical issue through advocacy, education, training, public awareness and coordination of services."

State Sen. Leland Yee said, "While our resources are shrinking, the need for these types of programs is growing.  As a result, this help is more important than ever.  It is these community partnerships that are truly making a difference."

Every year, nearly a quarter of a million Californians are victims of elder abuse and dependent adult abuse. It is estimated that one of every 20 California elders is a victim of neglect or physical, psychological or financial abuse, according to the California Department of Justice, yet only one in five of these cases is reported. 

Raising awareness of domestic violence and aiding in its prevention is a key social issue for the Verizon Foundation.

"Our senior citizen population is among the most vulnerable when it comes to the issue of abuse," said Elva Lima, Verizon vice president, strategic programs. "This partnership allows Verizon to continue to use our resources to support an organization that has a proven record of creating positive change in the lives of our seniors."

Verizon supports the survivors of domestic violence through a myriad of programs, including Verizon Wireless' HopeLine® program. Through the program, no-longer-used phones are collected and provided to nonprofit organizations that assist domestic violence survivors. This year, Verizon Wireless has distributed 2,700 HopeLine phones in California. Each phone comes with 3,000 minutes of usage, for a total of 8.1 million minutes of airtime.

The Verizon Foundation supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

About Self-Help for the Elderly
Originally created as a "War On Poverty" program, Self-Help for the Elderly began serving seniors in San Francisco's Chinatown community in 1966. It provided social services and hot meals to low-income and isolated elderly. Today, Self-Help for the Elderly serves over 25,000 seniors each year in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. It is a multi-service organization providing programs along a wellness continuum ranging from employment/training and social activities for those who are more independent to in-home assistance and residential board and care to those who are frailer.

About Congress of California Seniors
The Congress of California Seniors (CCS), founded in 1977, is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organization and is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) California corporation. Our board of directors is comprised of senior leaders and advocates from among the Congress of California Seniors' 105 affiliated organizations. The organization is funded through membership dues, contributions from affiliated organizations, individual donations and corporations.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 89 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.