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Safeway, Inc. and The Safeway Foundation raised $10.7 million in April during the company’s annual Support for People with Disabilities Campaign and pledged to continue its efforts to back two of the most prominent organizations that assist people with disabilities: Easter Seals and Special Olympics.
“We are moved and gratified by the generosity of our customers and employees,” said Larree Renda, Safeway EVP, chief strategist and administrative officer. “A fundraising result like this will help Easter Seals and Special Olympics continue to make a real and measurable difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”
The April campaign is one of two annual Safeway fundraisers supporting organizations that focus on the specific needs of people with disabilities. Besides Easter Seals and Special Olympics, the organizations include the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Augie’s Quest. In 2009, Easter Seals named Safeway one of its all-time top corporate partners: the grocer has raised and contributed more than $100 million during a more than three-decade relationship.
Safeway launched its Support for People with Disabilities campaign with a special event in Alameda, Calif., that celebrated and honored its own employees with disabilities who work in Safeway stores, offices and various support facilities. The company was joined at the launch event by a host of elected officials, sports legends and media personalities. U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and NBA superstar Sam Perkins were in attendance, as well as Easter Seals CEO James E. Williams and Special Olympics executive Tanya Baskin.
Additionally, as part of the April campaign, the Safeway Foundation gave a $275,000 donation to the nonprofit Rebuilding Together to help renovate homes and facilities that serve people with disabilities. Several hundred Safeway employees volunteered their time on rebuild projects in Dallas; Denver; Chicago; Montgomery County, Md.; Oakland, Calif.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; and Seattle.
Safeway also contributed to organizations that assist people with disabilities with job placement, using the campaign to urge employers to build a better workplace by hiring people with disabilities.
“Employers must understand that physical or intellectual disability does not predict poor employability or productivity,” Renda recently wrote in an op-ed piece published in several newspapers. “In fact, our experience proves the opposite. We employ nearly 10,000 people with disabilities, and they are among our most loyal and productive employees, covering a broad range of jobs both in our retail and support operations.”
Beyond organizations that assist people with disabilities, Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway contributes to a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2009 donated more than $250 million to education, hunger relief, health and human services, and cancer research.
Safeway operates 1,725 stores in the United States and western Canada, and had annual sales of $40.8 billion in 2009.