Cell Phones For Soldiers reaches a milestone on April 12, 2019, as we celebrate our 15th anniversary! A lot has happened since the morning in 2004 when co-founders Brittany and Rob Bergquist, then 13 and 12 years old, piled their spare change and allowance savings to help an American soldier in Iraq who’d run up an $8,000 cell phone bill calling home.
Their first effort—raising $21 to help the soldier—quickly turned into Cell Phones For Soldiers. The siblings soon created a plan to turn donated cell phones and mobile devices into free talk time for our brave men and women in uniform around the world.
While completing middle school and earning their high school and college degrees, Rob and Brittany grew the nonprofit into a sophisticated, international operation. The organization, which uses the income from donated mobile electronic devices to buy calling cards for the troops, has collected more than 15 million devices. This has allowed us to provide well over 300 million minutes of free calling time to deployed troops through our Minutes That Matter program. With support from corporate partners such as AT&T, CapitalOne, Liberty Tax, Chevrolet, Santa Rita Wines, KIND and many more, as well as countless individual contributors, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided communication services to our military, helping families stay connected.
In 2012, Cell Phones For Soldiers expanded its services to a new program, Helping Heroes Home. We use income from recycling and cash donations to help veterans needing help with the transition to civilian life. We have assisted more than 3,000 veterans with one-time grants to avoid eviction and foreclosure, as well as meet communication and household needs.
In the past 15 years, Cell Phones For Soldiers has been featured in local, national and international media. This week, as we #CELLebrate15, we’ll share some of our best memories and we encourage you to please help us ring in our anniversary by donating $15. Your donations will help us continue our mission to help America’s bravest.