Verizon and the NFL’s William Gay are teaming up to support victims of domestic violence. Verizon HopeLine is launching a 1 Million Phone Drive to Stop Domestic Violence with the goal of collecting one million donated phones by the end of 2015. The company created a moving new PSA with the Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback that tells the story of Gay losing his mother to domestic violence when he was seven years old.
HopeLine collects no-longer-used wireless phones, batteries, chargers and accessories in any condition, refurbishes and recycles them in an environmentally safe way, and donates the proceeds to domestic violence awareness and prevention initiatives. The program also donates refurbished phones, complete with service and data, to domestic violence shelters and organizations for use by victims and survivors.
Since its launch in 2001, HopeLine has collected more than 11 million phones, donating almost $30 million in grants to domestic violence organizations and over 190,000 phones to domestic violence victims and survivors. We sat down with Jessica Shih, Verizon’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Relations, to learn more.
Verizon has demonstrated substantive and continuous commitment to helping survivors of domestic violence. Why is the issue of domestic violence so important to Verizon?
When we look at the statistics that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are affected, it was pretty clear this was an issue that no one is immune to. We felt we could make a difference by leveraging our technology to provide victims with a way to reach out for help and stay connected with friends and family. When HopeLine started back in 2001, domestic violence wasn’t getting the attention and corporate support was needed to help the survivors and educate the next generation, so we created HopeLine’s phone donation program to turn old phones and accessories into support for organizations that work on the frontline every day.
What have been the biggest successes of Verizon HopeLine’s previous phone drives? Where have you seen the biggest impact?
The successes really belong to the survivors, and their stories of courage inspire us to continue our work to make Verizon’s HopeLine program even bigger. Some of our greatest contributions including championing research that shows the greater impact of domestic violence and women’s long term health or developing programs to train healthcare professionals and advocates on how to identify and treat victims of domestic violence when they come in for help.
What can you tell us about the upcoming Verizon phone drive?
We really want to provide more funds to support organizations that are working tirelessly to end this epidemic, and we need the public’s help. Verizon wants to get 1 million phones donated to the HopeLine program by the end of this year. We’re asking people to join us and help stop domestic violence by donating their used and unwanted phones and accessories to a local Verizon store.