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ABVI Visionary Award Celebrates Hopf's Legacy

Mar 28, 2017

Rochester, NY – The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI), an affiliate of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes has selected organization president and CEO Dr. Gidget Hopf as the recipient of the 2017 Visionary Award.

The Visionary Award honors an individual who exemplifies the spirit of ABVI and demonstrates a commitment to its mission to prepare and empower people who are blind or visually impaired to be self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities.

In 1986, Gidget began her journey as ABVI’s new CEO in 1986 with the commitment to find ways to empower people who are blind or visually impaired. Her vision was to create a dynamic and entrepreneurial organization that would offer opportunities for people with vision loss to achieve self-sufficiency, dignity, and happiness.

“Through a great deal of hard work, determination and transformational leadership, she built a solid social enterprise that has generated good jobs and lasting careers ever since. During these past 30 years Gidget has become a respected and influential leader in the field of vision rehabilitation. As a result of her innovative and entrepreneurial leadership, ABVI is regarded as one of the top vision rehabilitation organizations in the country,” said William Barnecut-Kearns, the ABVI board member who presented the award to Hopf.

After 30 years at the helm, Hopf’s work has shaped Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and its affiliate ABVI into a robust not-for-profit, employing over 700 people and providing services to over 150,000 people a year.

“Gidget’s career at ABVI is replete with many watershed moments, most notably her bold vision and efforts to become a member of Goodwill Industries International. This has led the organization to new heights of achievement and service to our community,” said Barnecut-Kearns.

Hopf has been recognized at the national level as a visionary leader and a champion for individuals with barriers to independence. She has served on many state and national boards and most recently served as the Chair of the Board of Goodwill Industries International. Additionally, Hopf has been appointed by three governors to serve on the College Council of her alma mater, SUNY Geneseo. In 2009, she was named the Not for Profit Executive of the Year by the Greater Rochester community.

“ABVI has flourished under Gidget’s capable and passionate leadership. However, she will be the first to tell you she didn’t do it alone. Gidget is always quick to recognize and credit the incredibly dedicated and courageous Board Members and Team members she has worked with over the years,” said Barnecut-Kearns.

The Visionary Award was presented to Gidget during ABVI’s 2017 Visionary Gala: Through the Looking Glass held at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Rochester on Saturday, March 18, 2017.