Twenty years ago this month, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law, putting the issue of domestic violence on the national agenda and launching a movement backed by survivors, advocates, legislators and businesses – all united for the cause.
Verizon Wireless’ legacy companies were among the first businesses to join the domestic violence prevention movement in 1995 by providing free wireless phones to victims for emergency communications. Through the Verizon Wireless HopeLine Phone Recycling Program, which launched nationwide in 2001, the company helps victims become survivors by collecting no-longer-used wireless phones and turning them into cash support for organizations nationwide. To date, nearly 11 million phones have been collected for recycling, and more than $21 million has been awarded in grants to domestic violence service providers nationwide.
This year, Verizon Wireless has awarded more than $1 million in HopeLine grants to over 250 different organizations from Maine to Virginia, allowing them to introduce new approaches and expand on proven prevention strategies, including:
- School-based dating violence curricula – Stop Domestic Violence in Plattsburgh, N.Y. received a $20,000 HopeLine grant for its “Stand By Me” and “Healthy Relationships” programs geared towards educators and teens. The “Stop the Bull” campaign in Montgomery County, Md. received $20,000 in HopeLine funding for an anti-bullying curriculum. The Center Against Domestic Violence in Brooklyn received a $25,000 grant to support Relationships Are Elementary (RAE), which arms third, fourth and fifth grade students in New York City with the information they need to avoid becoming victims or perpetrators of teen relationship abuse and bullying.
- Family Justice Centers (FJC) – HopeLine continues to support the concept of co-location of services for victims. A $50,000 HopeLine grant to Bridgeport, Conn.’s FJC provides financial literacy and life-skills training to survivors in the Verizon Empowerment Resource Room. The FJC of Erie County, N.Y. received a $50,000 HopeLine grant to support a new technology safety initiative that provides tablets to survivors and helps them scan their cars and Internet-connected devices to ensure no spyware has been installed. A $25,000 HopeLine grant to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) is helping bring a FJC to Staten Island, so that each of New York’s five boroughs will soon have a dedicated place for victims with services all under one roof.
- Putting a Stop to Sexual Assault at Colleges and Universities – Washington, D.C.’s Men Can Stop Rape received $25,000 from HopeLine to bring its proven Campus Conversations on Healthy Masculinity to six universities across Maryland to help engage males in the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault. University of Maryland Baltimore County received a $50,000 HopeLine grant to enhance its resources to educate students and raise awareness about sexual assault prevention, including requiring its 3,000 new students to complete the online survey Haven - Understanding Sexual Assault™ which provides realistic scenarios that resonate with students.
- Leveraging Social Media Engagement – Women Against Abuse in Philadelphia received a $20,000 HopeLine grant for its #PassAlongHope Twitter campaign, which directed $1 to the organization for each tweet with the dedicated hashtag. Maryland’s Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence received a $35,000 HopeLine grant to expand its social media channels to assist victims and raise awareness with an interactive website, active Twitter feed, Facebook page and YouTube channel, with plans to expand into Instagram and Snapchat soon.
Verizon Wireless remains committed to helping victims become survivors by supporting innovative initiatives and providing critical funding to domestic violence services providers. If your organization has received a HopeLine grant, please share your story with us by tweeting @VerizonNews using the hashtag #makingadifference. To learn more about HopeLine, visit: http://www.verizonwireless.com/aboutus/hopeline/