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Goodwill President & CEO Receives Leadership Award

Sep 14, 2011

Rochester, NY (September 14, 2011) – Goodwill of the FIgner Lakes President and CEO A. Gidget Hopf, Ed.D is one of two inaugural recipients of the Chairperson’s Award for Leadership given out by the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. The Committee administers the AbilityOne Program, which is the largest source of employment in the United States for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities, and which Goodwill of the Figner Lakes affiliate ABVI participates in.

The Chairperson’s Award for Leadership recognizes leaders who consistently meet or surpass the Committee’s statutory and regulatory requirements, who fulfill its guiding principles for a Quality Work Environment (QWE), and exhibit business acumen that leads to increased employment opportunities for the AbilityOne constituency.

Award recipients also demonstrate leadership on behalf of the AbilityOne Program that has impact across the entire AbilityOne community and the nation. Two such awards may be given to AbilityOne nonprofit agency CEOs each year – one nonprofit CEO associated with National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and one associated with NISH-Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Significant Disabilities.

“AbilityOne authorized nonprofit CEOs demonstrate exceptional leadership and results; I’ve often recognized how essential they are to the success of this employment program, and now we have an award to officially honor their contributions,” said Chairperson Andrew D. Houghton.

According to Houghton, both Hopf and co-recipient Richard (Rich) Gilmartin of Lakeview Center in Pensacola, Florida embody the AbilityOne Program’s vibrant spirit and vital mission.

“To me, a leader is someone who does more than simply comply with the basic requirements. Leaders have vision, quality work environment principles, strong business acumen and national impact,” said Houghton.

During her 25 years as President and CEO, Gidget Hopf has transformed the organization into a leader in the field of vision rehabilitation services and has established it as a model of innovation in the nonprofit world.

Through her service on the AbilityOne Enterprise CEO Forum, NIB Board, and National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB), she has been a strong advocate for the AbilityOne Program. She was instrumental in establishing the original celebration for the Program’s enabling legislation, “JWOD Week.”

Hopf’s work on other constituency boards, such as the General Council of Industries for the Blind and the Board of the American Foundation for the Blind has been extensive. An early adopter of the Committee’s QWE, in fulfilling the Committee’s guiding principles, she ensured ABVI was among the first 10 NIB-associated agencies to complete the self-assessment and roll-out.

Hopf continually meets or exceeds the statutory and regulatory employment requirements of the Committee and places emphasis on upward mobility through continual ABVI production goals.

Hopf also led the effort at ABVI to develop a co-branding initiative within the industry, creating and implementing a nonprofit affiliation model. This initiative, and the model that was developed proved instrumental in successfully guiding the affiliation ABVI underwent with Goodwill Industries International.

Photo caption – Left to right: NISH COO Dennis Fields, Committee COO Kimberly Zeich, Honoree Gidget Hopf, Chairperson Andrew D. Houghton, Honoree Rich Gilmartin, and NIB COO Scottie Knott.

About the AbilityOne Program

The AbilityOne Program is the largest source of employment for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities in the United States, providing more than 47,000 job opportunities at 600 nonprofit agencies nationwide in FY 2010 alone. The AbilityOne Program is administered by the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, an independent Federal agency, with assistance from National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and NISH Creating Employment Opportunities for People with Significant Disabilities. The Committee is comprised of 15 Presidential appointees, with 11 representing Federal agencies, and four serving as private citizens who are knowledgeable about the obstacles to employment of people who are blind or have other significant disabilities.