Evansville, Indiana, Shelter Receives First Two-for-Two Pacers/Verizon Wireless Grant

EVANSVILLE, IN — Hundreds of women and children in Southwest Indiana who need a safe haven from the abuse of domestic violence will soon have a normal bit of everyday life restored while safe in a sheltered environment.

The Albion Fellows Bacon Center, in the heart of downtown Evansville and named in honor of an accomplished female activist, will receive a $4,694 grant from the Pacers Foundation and Verizon Wireless. The grant money was raised during Indiana Pacers regular-season games in 2007-2008. For every two-point field goal scored by the Indiana Pacers, Verizon Wireless donated $2 to the Pacers Foundation.

Just last year, Albion provided 7,000 nights of shelter to 325 women and 280 children, according to Executive Director Candice L. Perry. The shelter serves women in 11 counties, from the heart of the city to remote rural areas of the state.

Perry said the current playground at the shelter is in dire need of a makeover. There are no benches for moms to watch their children play basketball, no shade from trees and aging equipment.

"Having a playground provides a time for these women and their children to reconnect-to just talk and to be," Perry said. "Bringing some normalcy to their lives is important."

This is the second consecutive year that the Pacers and Verizon Wireless have teamed up to raise awareness and help prevent domestic violence. During the 2006-2007 basketball season, the Indiana Pacers produced a Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Darrell and Deidra Armstrong who spoke out against domestic violence. The PSA was shown at Conseco Fieldhouse prior to seven Indiana Pacer games.

"The Pacers Foundation is about giving kids a winning shot," said Jami Marsh, executive director of the foundation. "What we're doing with Verizon Wireless for Albion is exactly in keeping with our mission. These kids and their mothers have suffered so much and survived. We're delighted to be able to bring smiles to their faces with this new playground and bring some sense of normalcy back into their lives."

Quinn Buckner, a Pacers Foundation board member and vice president of communications for the Pacers, said the organization decided to give the entire amount raised to Albion after reviewing the group's grant application. "I'm thrilled that we're working with Verizon Wireless to help Albion meet a crucial need-providing a safe place for kids who've been through so much to let down their guards and just play. It's something that those of us who feel safe take for granted."

Last year, the Indiana Pacers also held a drive to collect no-longer-used wireless equipment to benefit Verizon Wireless' HopeLine® program. Through HopeLine, Verizon Wireless collects old wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider at its Communications Stores nationwide and through special drives. The phones are either refurbished for reuse or recycled in an environmentally sound way.

Proceeds from Verizon Wireless' HopeLine program are used to provide wireless phones and cash grants to local shelters and non-profit organizations that focus on domestic violence prevention and awareness.

"Our successful partnership with the Indiana Pacers and Pacers Foundation brings home the extensive need to serve shelters in Indiana and across the country," said Michelle Gilbert, public relations manager for Verizon Wireless in Indiana. "In 2007, Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation donated more than $300,000 in cash grants, phones and airtime to shelters and other organizations in Indiana working to support victims of domestic violence and their families. We couldn't do it without partners like the Indiana Pacers."

About Albion Fellows Bacon CenterAlbion Fellows Bacon Center, a not-for-profit shelter for victims of domestic violence, is dedicated to improving the quality of life for women and their children in need of safe shelter and services. Albion's mission is to eliminate domestic and sexual violence in our communities through advocacy, education, support services and collaborative partnerships. Since 1981, Albion Fellows Bacon Center has been providing safe shelter, crisis intervention and education to victims of domestic violence and their children. In 1990, Albion moved into a new facility, designed solely for the purpose of serving domestic violence victims and expanded its services to include victims of sexual assault.

About the Pacers Foundation, Inc.Founded in 1993, the Pacers Foundation's mission is to help Indiana youth make winning life choices. Simply put, we believe in giving kids a winning shot and we do that in four primary ways: 1) grants to youth-serving non-profits, 2) scholarships to deserving students, 3) free Pacers and Fever tickets for those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend a game, and 4) community partnerships with non-profits, government and/or corporations that leverage the resources of all for greater impact on kids. Since our founding, we've given away $6+ million in cash and in-kind contributions.

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.  

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