LAUREL, MD — To commemorate October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Foundation are making a $40,000 donation to the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation. The donation augments an earlier contribution of $34,500 in October 2010 as well as a $60,000 contribution in February 2009, bringing total support for the innovative, one-stop center to $134,500.
This year’s $40,000 grant will be used to purchase forensic interview equipment for the Montgomery County Family Justice Center (MCFJC), which opened in Rockville, Md., in April 2009. The Center is among the first of its kind in Maryland and brings together law enforcement, prosecutors, health and human services, as well as other community partners under one roof to help domestic violence victims achieve safety, receive appropriate treatment and get accurate and timely legal advice. Family justice centers first opened in San Diego in 2002 and are considered a “best practice” by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.
Verizon Wireless’ original $60,000 donation was used to support the MCFJC’s Video Protective Order Project, a pioneering method of utilizing videoconference communication between domestic violence victims and courts. As a result of this technology, victims have been able to receive protective orders more quickly and from the safety, security and comfort of the center, thus reducing the number of places a victim has to travel to for services.
The contributions from Verizon Wireless were funded through the company’s HopeLine® Phone Recycling Program, which collects used cell phones to be recycled or sold and donates the proceeds in the form of cash grants and pre-paid wireless phones to advocacy groups for use by survivors.
Since 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 8 million phones nationwide, awarded more than $10 million in cash grants, 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. In addition, proceeds from HopeLine have funded 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.
“Verizon Wireless believes in putting technology to work in the communities we serve,” said Mike Maiorana, regional president, Verizon Wireless. “Domestic violence victims face many challenges. By combining service providers in one location at the Center, and enabling victims to communicate with judges and attorneys via videoconferencing, we’re helping to remove some of the barriers to victims’ safety.”
Verizon has been a longtime supporter of Family Justice Centers across the country, beginning with a Verizon Wireless HopeLine grant to the San Diego Family Justice Center in 2002 and including a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation in April 2008 to establish the Family Justice Center Institute. A technology and training arm within the National Family Justice Center Alliance, the Institute uses technology and best practices to streamline services and coordinate trainings. In addition, Verizon Wireless has supported Family Justice Centers serving Buffalo, Essex County and the Brooklyn/Queens/Bronx areas of New York.
According to Resa Levy, executive director of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, “Verizon’s initial 2009 gift literally saved lives and changed the way the Court system handled initial orders. The company’s additional gifts continue its legacy commitment to the issue of helping to end the scourge of domestic violence and relationship abuse by directly impacting the lives of women, children and families.”
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 106.3 million total wireless connections, including 89.7 million retail customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit http://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.
About the Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation uses its technology, financial resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, with a focus on education and domestic violence prevention. In 2010, the foundation awarded nearly $67 million to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad. Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation’s largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered nearly 6 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.