Monday, February 25, 2008

Verizon Wireless Funds $100,000 HopeLine Scholarship at Rutgers University School of Social Work

OK -- here is a company looking around and seeing the importance of addressing domestic violence not only within its own workplace, but also looking at prevention and the idea of helping fund educators and professionals who can make a difference.

Continuing its commitment to domestic violence prevention and awareness, CAEPV Member Verizon Wireless joined with CAEPV Member Rutgers University on February 19 to announce the creation of a new $100,000 scholarship fund at the Rutgers University School of Social Work and its Center on Violence Against Women and Children.

Named the Verizon Wireless HopeLine(R) Scholarship, income generated by the endowment will be used to award scholarships, annually, to at least three Rutgers graduate social work students enrolled in the School of Social Work's Master of Social Work (MSW) specialization on violence against women and children, the first such program in the country. The Rutgers University School of Social Work is one of the largest social work programs in the country. This groundbreaking scholarship on violence against women and children will prepare future social work professionals to work as executives or advocates in domestic violence and sexual assault organizations nationwide.

How did this get funded? By recycled cell phones donated throughout New Jersey! The Verizon Wireless donation was made possible through the company's HopeLine phone recycling program, which collects old, no-longer-used cell phones at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores throughout New Jersey. The phones are refurbished, recycled or sold and the proceeds are donated to domestic violence advocacy groups in the form of cash grants and prepaid wireless phones for victims. Phones that cannot be refurbished are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.

Verizon Wireless was the first wireless carrier in the nation to collect and recycle old cell phones and has done so since January 1999, first in New Jersey and then across the U.S. Nationally, the HopeLine program has collected nearly 4.2 million wireless phones, and given more than $4 million in cash grants and nearly 40,000 phones with airtime to domestic violence prevention organizations.

In addition to a successful phone recycling program and funding for non-profit domestic violence prevention organizations, HopeLine includes free wireless service and voice mailboxes for survivors, community and corporate awareness initiatives, and a bilingual "Invest in Yourself" program designed to help survivors re-enter the workforce. HopeLine phone donations also are accepted at all Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the nation. For store locations and additional information, visit

For more information about the Center on Violence Against Women & Children at Rutgers University, visit

It will be interesting to see what comes of this new scholarships program. And imagine if MBA programs started training HR professionals about domestic violence as a workplace issue before professionals entered the workplace. . . wow, what an impact that would make!

If you are interested in what you can do in your workplace today, as always, you are welcome to visit our website at

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