Verizon Wireless Awards Entrepreneurship Grants to Domestic Violence Survivors

Helping Survivors Regain Financial Independence

-- Funds being used to help survivors start or expand small businesses

-- Nine grants totaling $35,000 awarded to date

-- Part of $45,000 committed across New York State

Jul 07, 2011, 14:44 ET from Verizon Wireless

ROCHESTER, N.Y., July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon Wireless announced it has awarded nine grants totaling $35,000 to domestic violence survivors across New York State to help them start or expand a small or home-based business. The grants are part of $45,000 committed to the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant Program announced last year in conjunction with the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The grants are available to individual domestic violence survivors living in New York State

Grants awarded so far include:

  • Two $2,500 grants awarded to a downstate consultant assisting other small businesses with business continuity planning
  • $2,500 to purchase materials and equipment, and to establish a website for a designer of hand-crafted jewelry and ornaments in Rockland County
  • $2,500 awarded to provide on-camera coaching and training to help individuals in the Capital Region prepare for important life events
  • $5,000 to provide workshops and counseling to student-parents in the New York City area to help them apply to college
  • $5,000 to secure a location, equipment and supplies to open a hair and nail salon in Brooklyn
  • $5,000 to help establish a one-stop center for domestic violence support in Dutchess County
  • $5,000 for working capital to help a Rochester-area entrepreneur acquire rental property for domestic violence survivors and their children
  • $5,000 to help launch a home decorating and design business in Rochester

The Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant Program is based on the premise that many domestic violence survivors have developed strong coping and problem-solving skills, as well as a strong incentive to be self-sufficient and violence-free, that can be applied to successfully getting a small or home-based business off the ground. Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 and the funding can be used to make a down payment on a workspace, purchase a computer or other office equipment, purchase initial product inventory or supplies, etc.

"The Verizon Entrepreneurship Grant has inspired and empowered me to fulfill my dream of owning my own hair and nail salon," said Ebony Fletcher, who received a $5,000 grant to open Ebbies Hair & Nail Salon in Brooklyn.

"With this commitment, Verizon understands that for domestic violence survivors, getting to safety must include economic self-sufficiency," said Amy Barasch, Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. "This wise investment of resources has a variety of benefits: Starting a small business is an option that may resonate with many survivors' need for independence and flexibility, and at the same time, these new ventures will help grow the state's economy."

"Escaping the cycle of violence is merely the first step on the road to true independence and safety for many domestic violence survivors," said Russ Preite, president of Verizon Wireless' Upstate New York Region. "Financial stability is key to a survivor's ability to rebuild her life and take back her future."

Planning is currently underway to expand the program in New York State to create or expand workforce development/small business training programs for survivors and to provide ongoing business mentorships for grantees. The program is also being implemented in Virginia.

More information and application materials are available at

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless operates the nation's fastest, most advanced 4G network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 104 million total wireless connections, including more than 88 million retail customers.  Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD).  For more information, visit 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

SOURCE Verizon Wireless