GRAND RAPIDS — Verizon Wednesday announced its commitment to nine West Michigan nonprofits with donations amounting to $104,295 including grant money to eight organizations dedicated to ending domestic violence.

Grants were awarded to the following entities in west Michigan:

* Center for Women in Transition (based in Holland): The grant will enable the Center to execute a prevention strategy and educate a broader audience about the root causes and effects of domestic violence and sexual abuse. The Center will leverage local media, Web sites, social media and other communications venues to address, reduce, and prevent domestic and sexual violence in Ottawa and Allegan Counties.

* Dwelling Place (based in Grand Rapids): The grant will be used to create quality, affordable housing for low-income Grand Rapids residents who have been impacted by domestic violence.

*    Family Futures (based in Grand Rapids): Funding from Verizon will create an outreach campaign to increase awareness of the RAVE program, which uses a research-based violence prevention curriculum. Grant money will help train individuals who teach students and provide a teen dating violence prevention program for 1,000 youth.

*    Jewish Women International (based in Grand Rapids): The grant was used to build a children’s library at the Safe Haven Ministries emergency shelter in Grand Rapids. JWI’s National Library Initiative is working in partnership with volunteers, businesses and corporations to establish 100 children’s libraries in domestic violence shelters across the United States.

* Project COOL (based in Grand Rapids): Project COOL provides an eight-week summer employment program for 130 young people. The grant will enable students to gain valuable, paid work experience in career-oriented jobs in local organizations and non-profit agencies, as well as provide financial support for the students and their families.

* Safe Haven Ministries (based in Grand Rapids): The grant will fund the expansion of the community education and awareness program. This program includes a full-time outreach and prevention coordinator, and creates protocol and resources for employers and employees when addressing intimate partner violence.

Three other nonprofits in west Michigan also received grants to support their ongoing client services: The Domestic Violence Coalition, in Paw Paw; Women’s Information Services, in Big Rapids; and the YWCA of Kalamazoo.

In 2011, Verizon donated more than $500,000 in grants across Michigan, with two-thirds benefitting domestic violence organizations.

Funding comes from the Verizon Foundation and HopeLine from Verizon. HopeLine collects used wireless phones, batteries and accessories in any condition from any wireless service provider. Verizon then refurbishes the donated items and uses the proceeds to provide wireless phones and airtime to nonprofit organizations for use by domestic violence survivors. The proceeds are also used to make cash grants to local shelters and nonprofits that focus on domestic violence prevention, awareness and advocacy.  Phones that cannot be refurbished are recycled in an environmentally sound way under a zero landfill policy.


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