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2013 ABVI President and Chair Lunch

What do cement paint, neurologic vision rehabilitation, and shopping have in common?

All three of these things are something that donors to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired have supported over the years. And at this year’s President and Chairman’s Luncheon honoring and thanking our donors, these three very distinct things culminated in awards for foresight, vision, and community partnership.

Foresight Award

As ABVI President and CEO Gidget Hopf stood before the assembled donors at the event, she told them that the Foresight Award recognizes individuals whose generosity truly demonstrates a commitment to ABVI’s mission to prepare and empower people who are blind or visually impaired to be self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities and to preserving the agency’s future.

Gidget highlighted the commitment of Philip and Beverly Gelsomino, this year’s award recipients, who generously supported the construction of our new Vision Rehabilitation Center.

“One of the true focal points of our mission, the Vision Rehabilitation Center allows us to provide critical services to those facing loss of vision, and with our new state-of-the-art space, we can provide unparalleled support to the thousands who turn to us every year,” said Gidget; noting “without Philip and Beverly Gelsomino, we might not have been able to bring this wonderful new space to fruition.”

However, it was the less glamorous donations, like funds to purchase cement paint for a warehouse, which demonstrated the foresight of Philip and Beverly Gelsomino have.

Visionary Award

The Visionary Award, as described by Board Chair Marty Quinn, honors an individual or organization that has supported ABVI is promoting its mission. Seems simple enough. Yet, this year’s recipient has not just supported the promotion of our mission. This organization has actually helped to extend it into the future.

Through a generous grant from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, ABVI is able to provide a growing population of individuals who have suffered a neurological impairment, such as a stroke, and who also have an accompanying visual impairment with the neurological vision rehabilitation services that will empower them to be self-sufficient. The funding will also help to educate medical providers working with those who have neurologic visual deficits.

Community Partner Award

Gidget once again took to the podium to finish out the awards by presenting the Community Partner Award to a recipient who has helped to carry out our mission in the community in countless ways.

We honored the iconic American retailer Macy’s for the multiple ways they have supported ABVI and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, including through event sponsorships, program grants, in-store promotions like “Shop for a Cause,” and many others.

“Through a generous grant this year, Macy’s supported our LifeSkillz program. This week-long residential program for teens who are blind or visually impaired provides experience and learning opportunities in a safe, supportive environment that simulates independent living,” said Gidget; adding “The lasting impact of this program on its participants cannot be measured in words and we are so grateful to Macy’s for their support.”

Gidget concluded the lunch with a positive message about the importance of donors in the foundational structure of ABVI and Goodwill of the Finger Lakes.

“Thanks to our award winners and to all of you for being part of our vital work and for believing and knowing that we make a difference,” concluded Gidget.