AT&T and the USO Launch New Text Message Donation Program Supporting Military Families on New Year’s Day
Sports Fans at the 2008 AT&T Cotton Bowl Will Be Among the First to Participate in the Program
Dallas, Texas.-AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has announced a new text messaging program that will support the USO — and U.S. military families — with free prepaid phone cards. The program launches at the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Beginning Jan. 1, and running through March 31, 2008, customers can make a $2 donation in support of the USO by text messaging USO to short code 740 from their AT&T wireless devices. In addition to text messaging, anyone wishing to support the effort can donate online at www.uso.org/cottonbowl08.
Donations will support the USO Operation Phone Home® program, which provides free prepaid phone cards to military members serving active duty away from home so that they may stay in touch with loved ones. After callers send the message USO to short code 740, they will receive a response asking them to confirm their $2 donation by replying YES. After text messaging YES back to the 740 number, callers will receive a message letting them know that the donation is complete.
This text messaging program extends the support that AT&T has provided to the USO for the past 20 years, including contributing tens of millions of dollars in support of Operation USO Care Package, USO Operation Phone Home and USO entertainment tours. AT&T also has assisted the USO through funding regional operations in Europe, Southwest Asia and the Pacific.
“This texting program is a simple and convenient way to help support the many military families across the country that may be apart this New Year’s Day,” said Mark Collins, vice president of Consumer Data for AT&T’s wireless unit. “At AT&T, we’re glad to lend one of our most popular messaging tools to make it easy for folks who want to join us in helping to connect military families during the holidays and all year long.”
The new text messaging donation program also builds on the continued support of military members via free prepaid phone cards, compliments of AT&T and the USO: In 2007, AT&T has donated more than 50,000 prepaid phone cards, valued at more than $450,000, for distribution to military personnel in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan and Europe. With the help of the USO, the phone cards were distributed for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day and the November and December holidays.
“The USO is the way Americans support our nation’s troops,” said Edward Powell, USO president and CEO. “We are excited about using this text messaging program to support the USO Operation Phone Home program. This kind of generosity by our Worldwide Strategic Partners, such as AT&T, and the American people helps to make our vital work possible.”
Since 1941, the USO has provided morale, welfare and recreation-type programs and services to enhance the quality of life for military personnel and their families around the world. The USO currently operates more than 130 centers, including 10 mobile canteens, that offer free Internet and e-mail access, prepaid international phone cards, entertainment and lounge areas, libraries, travel assistance, educational programs and refreshments. USO entertainment tours bring volunteer celebrities to entertain and lift the morale of troops and to express the gratitude and support of the American people.
For more than 85 years, AT&T has remained dedicated to supporting active military personnel, their families and veterans through charitable contributions, sponsorships, the hiring of military veterans and maintaining policies that support reservists when called to duty. Since 2000, AT&T has donated nearly $8 million in free prepaid phone cards to military members and has provided nearly $6 million in grants that support military members and related nonprofit organizations. The company also has built 70 calling centers in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan that help keep military members in touch with their families.
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