UMass Amherst alumnus Robbie Bergquist and his sister Brittany, co-founders of Cell Phones for Soldiers (CPFS), have been named to Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 for their efforts to connect military members serving around the globe. Bergquist graduated from UMass Amherst in 2014.
Forbes has been compiling this list since 2012. This year the competition was more extreme than ever: There were more than 15,000 nominations for 600 spots.
CPFS is a national nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing cost-free communication services, devices and emergency funding to active-duty military members and veterans. Founded in 2004 by then-middle school students and siblings Robbie and Brittany Bergquist of Norwell, CPFS has provided more than 300 million minutes of free air time to veterans and military men and women serving around the globe.
CPFS’ Minutes that Matter program mails approximately 130,000 calling cards to veterans each year and provides an average 25 million minutes per year. Since July 2012, its Helping Heroes Home program has assisted more than 3,100 veterans and their families with direct emergency funding. To date, CPFS has recycled more than 15 million cell phones, reducing the impact on landfills.
In the next year, CPFS is looking to provide 60,000 veterans with no-cost, free phones and free monthly network service minutes.