Verizon Foundation Awards $35,000 to Support Domestic Violence Prevention Programs in Rhode Island

To help address the continuing issue of domestic violence, the Verizon Foundation is donating $35,000 to four nonprofit agencies in Rhode Island for awareness and prevention programs that engage teens and young adults.  The grants were awarded at a ceremony Tuesday (Oct. 4) hosted by the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, to kick off Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one of the grant recipients, said, "By supporting innovative programs that encourage a culture of prevention, the Verizon Foundation demonstrates a commitment to eradicating the epidemic of domestic violence.  Their level of concern and support strengthens our families, our agencies and our communities."

Supporting initiatives to increase awareness of domestic violence is a major concentration for the Verizon Foundation.  In the past five years, the foundation has awarded approximately $150,000 to nonprofits that focus on domestic violence in Rhode Island.

"Domestic violence is a problem that affects all members of families and tears at the fabric of our society," said Donna Cupelo, region president of Verizon New England.  "These funds will go a long way in helping to educate people about abuse and the steps needed for prevention, and assisting those who are trapped in abusive relationships to get help and restore their lives."

The organizations receiving Verizon Foundation grants are: 

  • Domestic Violence Resource Center of South County, which will create a teen empowerment program.
  • Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, which will develop a state plan for domestic violence prevention.
  • Sojourner House, which will run a digital media project to promote healthy digital and dating relationships among teens.
  • Women's Center of Rhode Island, which will develop a program to raise awareness among male teenagers of dating violence and domestic violence.

Verizon Wireless' HopeLine program collects devices and accessories at the company's stores or by mail to help victims of domestic violence. The collected phones are refurbished or recycled in an environmentally sound way. The program provides wireless phones and airtime to victims of domestic violence and cash grants to local shelters and nonprofit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy.  Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million phones, properly disposed of 1.7 million no-longer-used wireless phones and kept more than 210 tons of electronic waste and batteries out of landfills.

"Through the HopeLine program, we have been able to help countless families who have been affected by domestic violence," said Christine Berberich, regional president for Verizon Wireless New England.  "We appreciate the agencies that work tirelessly on education and awareness, while providing services that ensure survivors have the resources they need to rebuild their lives." 

In addition, proceeds from HopeLine fund a variety of innovative programs.  For example, HopeLine recently awarded grants to provide for: the printing of training documents that assist employers in recognizing and addressing the threat of domestic violence in the workplace; video technology that allows domestic violence's youngest victims, children, to participate in legal proceedings from a safe environment; and startup funding for entrepreneurial survivors of domestic violence attempting to establish small businesses and economic stability.

For more information on Verizon Wireless HopeLine, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.

About Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon, uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. Verizon has invested more than $28 million in domestic violence prevention.  For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 106 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 196,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.