by Sarah Johnson

Donate Old Cell Phones to Domestic Violence Victims

Jul 01, 20012 mins

That old cell phone sitting in your desk drawer?the one that saw you through both Clinton administrations?could help save someone’s life.

The Wireless Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that was established by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, launched the Donate a Phone program in 1999 to help domestic violence victims. The group, in partnership with Motorola and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, reprograms used cell phones and gives them to shelters and police departments, which in turn distribute them to victims. The phones are programmed to dial 911 and one non-emergency number. The airtime is free, thanks to wireless carriers like Cingular and Verizon Wireless.

“These phones act as a lifeline to a victim who is in danger,” says Heidi Fincken, director of programs for the Wireless Foundation. “These phones have saved lives.”

More than 30,000 phones have been donated to victims since 1996, when Motorola jump-started the first version of the program by providing new phones to the Wireless Foundation. The foundation will take any cell phone. Even if you have an old clunker that no longer works, the foundation will try to fix it or sell it with proceeds going to domestic violence prevention programs.

You can send your phones to the foundation through the mail (Call to Protect, c/o Motorola, 1580 E. Ellsworth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108). All it costs you is the postage. For more information, visit