BUFFALO, NY — Buffalo resident, Sharon Morgan holds many titles in her life – mother, daughter, domestic violence survivor. Today, she is working her way to a new title – small business owner – with the help of a program that provides business education and training for domestic violence survivors in the community.
Morgan, who is striving to succeed in a one-of-a kind handmade jewelry business, currently attends entrepreneurship classes with fifteen other survivors. They are increasing their knowledge in small business ownership at Everywoman Opportunity Center, Inc., a local nonprofit that helps women achieve economic and personal self-sufficiency. This has been made possible through a grant from Verizon, one of five $100,000 grants awarded to five workforce development organizations statewide. The program is called Project Fresh Start. Everywoman Opportunity Center is working in tandem with SCORE, the Small Business Development Center, and the Family Justice Center of Erie County, tailoring the program to meet the needs of domestic violence survivors.
“Each of our participants is making the most of this opportunity,” said Myrna Young, executive director and CEO of Everywoman Opportunity Center. “They have broken the cycle of violence and have taken charge of their lives.”
Successful graduates of the program will develop a business plan for their new venture and be eligible to apply for a Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant of up to $5,000. These grants, provided by Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program, help women like Morgan turn their business ideas into reality.
To date, 14 grants totaling $57,500 have been awarded across New York State, with more planned in 2012.
The following organizations received first grants:
- Albany – Hudson Valley Community College Workforce Development Institute and Equinox, Inc.
- Buffalo – Everywoman Opportunity Center and the Family Justice Center of Erie County
- New York – Sanctuary for Families, Inc.
- Rochester – Monroe Community College Workforce Development Office and Alternatives for Battered Women
- Syracuse – WISE Women’s Business Center and Southside Innovation Center with Vera House
Information on the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grants is available at http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/communityservice/YourArea.html
For small business news, free resources, tips and exclusive insights from Verizon, read the Verizon Small Biz Blog (www.verizon.com/smallbusinessblog); follow VZSmallBiz on Twitter (www.twitter.com/VZSmallBiz)
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 nearly 108 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 with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.
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About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 93.0 million retail customers, including 88.0 million retail postpaid customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit 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.
Since the national recycling program began in 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 9 million phones nationwide; awarded more than $14 million in cash grants to prevention and awareness programs nationwide; and donated more than 123,000 HopeLine phones with more than 406 million minutes of airtime to domestic violence victims, survivors and organizations. The program has also disposed of more than 1 million phones in an environmentally sound way and refurbished the remaining units. To learn more about HopeLine from Verizon and to become involved, visit www.verizonwireless.com/hopeline.