Easter Seals Applauds its Top Corporate Partner Safeway as the Grocery Retailer Receives Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation Award

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Few companies are more deserving of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2011 Freeman Philanthropic Services Award for Outstanding Corporation than Safeway Inc. Since 1986, the grocery retailer and thousands of its employees nationwide have raised $112 million to help Easter Seals provide services for people with disabilities. Additionally, Safeway has contributed hundreds of millions more to other causes including cancer research, education, and food banks.

Safeway’s in-store cause campaign in April is literally changing the lives of thousands of children and adults living with autism and other disabilities.

Few companies are more deserving of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 2011 Freeman Philanthropic Services Award for Outstanding Corporation than Safeway Inc.

Since 1986, the grocery retailer and thousands of its employees nationwide have raised $112 million to help Easter Seals provide services for people with disabilities. Additionally, Safeway has contributed hundreds of millions more to other causes including cancer research, education, and food banks.

The AFP honored Safeway as the year’s most exemplary philanthropic company, presenting Larree Renda, executive vice president of Safeway and Chair of the Safeway Foundation, with the award at the organization’s Awards for Philanthropy Banquet during its 48th International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago. The award honors a corporation that demonstrates outstanding commitment to important causes through financial support and encouragement, as well as the company’s ability to motivate others to take on leadership roles in their communities.

How Safeway Helps Families Living with Disabilities
One of the largest, most successful fundraising events Safeway hosts is its annual People with Disabilities Campaign held each April during Autism Awareness Month. Here, all 1,700-plus Safeway stores across the United States and Canada -- and its family of brands including Vons, Tom Thumb, Dominick's, Randall's, Genuardi's, Carrs and Pavilions -- raise funds to support Easter Seals services in local communities. This year’s campaign will kick off March 31 and extend through April 2011, giving customers the opportunity to shop where it counts the most -- knowing their dollars will change the lives of families living with autism and other disabilities.

“Safeway’s in-store cause campaign in April is literally changing the lives of thousands of children and adults living with autism and other disabilities,” said James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals.

Safeway supports many programs at Easter Seals including:

  • Expanding its early intervention services. When it comes to autism or developmental delays, getting the right help at the earliest life stage makes all the difference. This critical type of service gives toddlers the skills they need to learn, grow and be school-ready alongside their peers.
  • Growing its Child Development Centers. Easter Seals understands that parents who have young children with disabilities experience far greater levels of stress than parents of typically developing children. Knowing your young child with autism or a developmental delay is well-cared for in an inclusive child care setting, receiving appropriate therapy and instruction, gives working parents not only piece of mind, but the ability to continue working even after a diagnosis.
  • Building its autism transition programs. Transitions, whether large or small, are particularly challenging for many families living with autism. Whether entering school, becoming a teenager, seeking employment or simply taking a family vacation, people with autism often struggle through these types of changes and require personalized supports and services to help get them through.
  • Creating more family supports and autism training programs for parents and siblings of individuals with autism. Families living with autism are desperate to find help, hope and answers. The fact is, an autism diagnosis affects the entire family. Easter Seals offers several programs that provide support to every family member, giving them the resources they need to best care for their loved one with autism.

“We’ve been with Easter Seals all these years because the money we raise stays in local communities,” said Renda. “And, Easter Seals is the best in its class at doing things efficiently so that the dollars raised go directly to help clients served by the organization.”

About the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 213 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to http://www.afpnet.org.

About Safeway
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 50 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. The company operates 1,725 stores in the United States and Canada and had annual sales of $40.9 billion in 2009. For more information, visit http://www.safeway.com.

About Easter Seals
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Support children and adults with disabilities at http://www.easterseals.com.

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Kristen Barnfield
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