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Verizon Expands Program to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Start-Up a Biz

Verizon Expands Program to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Start-Up a Biz

Verizon Expands Program to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Start-Up a Biz

Employee Emeritus Employee Emeritus ‎03-05-2012 07:49 AM

It started in July 2010 when Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program launched an innovative program to provide Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grants to domestic violence survivors to help them start or expand a small or home-based business. 


One of the first to receive a grant is Ebony Fletcher who almost lost her life to an abusive ex-boyfriend after he sat on her back and shot her in the head. The $5,000 grant she received from the Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program in 2011, allowed Ebony to grow her business by purchasing new equipment and expand her line of hair products.


Over the years the program expanded and even more survivors were offered a grant to start-up or expand a business. 


EntrepreneurshipGroupPic.jpgLast week, Verizon launched entrepreneur training programs in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany to continue to support domestic violence survivors and help them rebuild their lives.


Verizon’s $500,000 in grants to five workforce development organizations across New York State will fund the development of training programs to help survivors start or expand their own small or home-based businesses, which can lead to greater financial stability and independence, crucial factors in breaking the cycle of violence.


These five organizations, in partnership with local domestic violence advocacy agencies, are developing programs to educate and mentor survivors to develop a viable business plan for their venture.


Participants who complete one of the five entrepreneurship training programs will be eligible to apply for a Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant, up to $5,000, through the HopeLine program. To date, 14 grants totaling $57,500 have been awarded across New York State, with more planned in 2012.


Below are the five organizations currently recruiting participants for their local program. Each program builds on existing ones and align with the needs of the local community. Courses include financial literacy, taxes, legal issues, time management, conflict/problem resolution, professional etiquette, and more.


For more information on the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant click here or visit the organization’s website below.


•           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 Vera House


For information about domestic violence in the workplace and why it’s your business click here.


If you received a grant for your business, share your story with us.



[Photo from left to right: Dorothy Cucinelli, Equinox, Inc.; Richard Bennett, Hudson Valley Community College; John O’Malley, Verizon Wireless; Kathy Magee, Equinox, Inc.; Ebony Fletcher, Owner, Ebbies Hair and Nails Salon, Inc.; Amy Barasch, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence; and Heather Briccetti, The Business Council of New York State.]


Verizon doesn't really care about small businesses -- at least not based on my experience.  Their cut backs in customer service and they way they dis-empower those on the phone create an environment that doesn't allow for creative problem solving.  Here is my story:  I was concerned about switching from AT&T due to the inability to have international coverage -- I travel for business (my small business).  I was told that I could order a phone to use while out of the country -- just by calling (within enough time for it to be configured and shipped) and I could have it for three weeks.  So on March 1 I called and talked to Josh who reviewed how the program worked, the fees for France/England and ordered my phone.  I leave on March 13 so I became concerned when on March 9 I still hadn't received it.  So I called Verizon on March 10.  The phone was never ordered!  They can't ship until March 12 (which is too late).  They wouldn't ship to my hotel in France EVEN if I gave them a FedEx number or paid for it directly, and absolutely no work around or accomodation was made to get me a phone.  When I asked who I could talk to at corporate to make a complaint I was told "anyone you call and talk to can submit a 360 Form".  Crystal #{edited for privacy} did absolutely nothing to make me a satisfied customer.  No creative work arounds.  No willingness to help find a way to ship the phone on a Saturday (I was told no shipping is done on the weekends), or to work outside the system to make a customer happy.  Due to this I will now have to rent a phone at the airport, find a way to tell all my colleagues that number, etc.  It will take me a while to figure out how to switch my account back to AT&T, but I promised that since I am in marketing and PR that while losing my account doesn't matter to VerizonI will make sure that my local papers know, that everyone I know hears about this, and that every online outlet I can submit to will find out about this.  Their customer service is HORRIBLE (unempowered, uninspired, unhelpful -- and robotic) and they deserve to lose clients.  I wanted all small businesses to know of my experience so they can arm themselves against things like this happening.  Truly unfortunate.  PS  I realize that they probably won't post this but at least I am trying to share my warnings.

Employee Emeritus

I am sorry to hear about the experience that you had transferring over to Verizon Wireless. We really do care about losing your business and would like to help. https://community.verizonwireless.com/welcome is where you can find the Verizon Wireless message board where someone with access to your account and the power to help can work with you on the issue.

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Contact the editor: tumara.r.jordan@verizon.com