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Safeway Inc. last month netted in more than $9 million in donations for Easter Seals and Special Olympics, two organizations devoted to disability programs, so that they can fund community disability centers, programs to support autism, job training, and physical development.
Safeway dedicated the month of April to rallying employees and customers to support the two charities through in-store fundraising and public service messages. Each April and August Safeway raises funds through customer donations and company-sponsored events to support multiple organizations and causes for people with disabilities, including Easter Seals, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Augie's Quest, and Special Olympics.
Over the years, the company and its employees have raised more than $100 million for these causes.
"Our ability to raise significant dollars for these charities is in direct proportion to the dedication of our employees and the generosity of our customers," said Safeway chairman, president, and c.e.o. Steve Burd. "Assisting people with disabilities has become a core part of who we are as a company."
Burd noted that Safeway employs nearly 10,000 people with disabilities and encouraged other businesses to tap this important but often overlooked talent pool. He gave credit to Safeway employees and customers for their contribution to the cause.
Safeway launched its April campaign with events in California, Colorado, Illinois, Texas, and Washington D.C. At the California launch, Easter Seals President, Jim Williams joined Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver, Olympic Gold Medalist Bart Conner, and Los Angeles Lakers legend Sam Perkins in saluting a large group of Safeway employees who benefited from the services and programs provided by Easter Seals and Special Olympics.
The funds raised will support Easter Seals facilities that offer rehabilitation, training and autism services to people with disabilities. Easter Seals will use a portion of the funds to create a special grants program that will be dedicated to provide job training grants and expand autism programs. In Canada, Easter Seals will use funding to develop a "Kids to Camp" program that will allow thousands of children to learn and further develop intellectually and physically. Additionally, through a unique partnership with Special Olympics, Safeway will help fund the Special Olympics mission to provide year-round sports training and competition to people with disabilities which in turn builds acceptance in communities.
Safeway operates 1,740 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $42 billion in 2007. In 2007, it donated more than $172 million, the equivalent of 20 percent of its net income, to causes such as cancer research, education, food banks, and programs focused on assisting people with disabilities.