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Safeway, Inc. raised a record $11.2 million in April during its annual Disabilities Campaign, a month-long fundraiser to support two prominent organizations that assist people with disabilities, Easter Seals and Special Olympics.
The company gave credit to its customers and employees for the success of the campaign. “Our customers and employees deserve the real recognition for this extraordinary outcome,” said Larree Renda, Safeway EVP, chief strategist and administrative officer. “Thanks to their generosity, we are making a real and measurable difference in the lives of people with disabilities.”
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. To date, the company has raised more than $121 million for these organizations.
Safeway launched its 2009 Disabilities Campaign on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, with an event at a Washington, D.C., Safeway store. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), former Texas Rep. Steve Bartlett (R-Texas), U.S. Olympic gold medalists Dominique Dawes and Carly Patterson, and Pete Romero, onetime U.S. ambassador to Ecuador, urged community support of the organizations and recognized Safeway for its leadership in employing people with disabilities. Safeway employs nearly 10,000 people with physical or intellectual disabilities.
The Safeway Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, will be working with recipients to identify specific programs, projects and geographies to receive Safeway’s financial support. The funds raised this year will support Easter Seals programs that offer rehabilitation, therapy, training, employment, recreation 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 providing job-training grants and expanding autism programs. 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 intellectual disabilities, which in turn builds acceptance in communities.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway operates 1,739 stores in the United States and western Canada and had annual sales of $44.1 billion in 2008. It supports a broad range of charitable and community programs and in 2008 donated more than $248 million to important causes such as cancer research, education and hunger relief.