New Grant Brings Entrepreneurial Skills to Domestic Abuse Survivors

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According to a report from, Verizon Wireless has awarded grants to an exciting new project intended to help domestic abuse survivors get on their feet. The grants were given to Vera House, WISE (Women’s Information Service, Inc), and SSIC (South Side Innovation Center). Project Phoenix is said to be the first project of this type for Central New York and gives those who have survived the horrors of domestic abuse the skills they need to become entrepreneurs.

The three organizations are said to be joining forces in order to offer a program to help these abuse survivors become self-sustaining. Sadly, many times the survivors of these situations are women who have no idea how to provide for themselves and lean solely on their husband’s/boyfriend’s income to sustain them. Because of this, they can feel lost when they are finally out of the situation and have no idea where to turn. Some may choose the option to get on welfare and food stamps, while others end up going back to the abuser to survive. Projects such as this one give these abuse survivors the chance to truly start over, in a life where they can care for themselves and their children, and become proud of themselves and their accomplishments.

A $100,000 grant from Verizon will fund Project Phoenix, which launched on Monday morning, April 9. When discussing the program with, Joanne Lenweaver, the director of WISE, stated, “The program is meant for women who are transitioning from domestic violence situations with a possibility of a great opportunity through entrepreneurship.”

John O’Malley from Verizon shared that the company started awarding these types of grants about two years ago. They are given to workforce development organizations as well as domestic violence agencies. Five of these $100,000 grants are currently being awarded across New York State.

The service that will be available to these women will include such things as orientations through the counseling and educational training package at SSIC, business place development, and other areas. Courses will include credit, money and financial education. These are very important issues for entrepreneurs as well as people who are trying to restore their personal finances. They will also be taught time management. In addition, funds will be reserved so that participants can go to the WISE Symposium.

Both Lenweaver and Randi Bregman, executive director of Vera House, point out that the entrepreneurial aspects of the project will help abuse survivors recognize opportunities, explore those opportunities and learn how to use them for their own benefit. Services will be provided on an individual and cohort basis, and will be given to clients as they are ready. Once their training has been completed, these individuals will decide, develop and create their business, and then be eligible to apply for yet another grant, the Verizon Domestic Violence Entrepreneurship Grant, which will give them $5,000 to help launch their dreams.

Angela Kaye Mason is the Head Feature Writer for ‘Inventor’s Showcase Magazine’, an online researcher, writer, and contributor at blog network. She may be reached at Follow Angela on Twitter. Find her on Facebook .

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