Donation supports Patterson facility construction and education and volunteer program enhancements
Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the world renowned guide dog school, announced today that it received a $3 million commitment from the PepsiCo Foundation, the philanthropic arm of global food and beverage leader PepsiCo.
The grant will go toward the renovation and expansion of the Canine Development Center in Patterson, N.Y., which will bear the name of the PepsiCo Foundation.
In sharing news of the grant, William D. Badger, Guiding Eyes for the Blind Chief Executive Officer and President said, "For years Guiding Eyes has benefitted from PepsiCo's generosity of expertise and volunteer spirit. On behalf of all of us at Guiding Eyes, we are challenged to find words to express our appreciation and excitement for this incredible financial commitment. We know that it signifies PepsiCo Foundation's dedication to Guiding Eyes' mission and work, and our dreams of building a state-of-the-art facility in Patterson.”
The organization’s existing canine development facility, known throughout the international service dog field for its groundbreaking advances in canine breeding and puppy training, is scheduled to undergo a major transformation in order to support the school's newest initiative, STEP – Successive Training and Enrichment Program. This program focuses on helping puppies learn at earlier ages than ever before, and thus preparing them better for guide dog training. The new facilities will also provide additional teaching space for staff and volunteers to work together and have additional opportunities for orientation and training sessions.
“The PepsiCo Foundation is proud to support the valuable work of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that positively impacts the lives of blind and visually impaired people, as well as people with disabilities and autism,” said Maura Smith, president, PepsiCo Foundation, and executive vice president, PepsiCo General Counsel. “Guiding Eyes embraces our entire community, supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The relationship between our organizations continues to grow based on our shared values and commitment to the community.”
Guiding Eyes is in the final phase of its One Step Ahead campaign to raise $8 million to fund the Canine Development Center. The PepsiCo Foundation's $3 million pledge leaves approximately $1 million left to be raised, and Guiding Eyes is looking to the public to help it reach the finish line by year-end.
About Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Guiding Eyes for the Blind (www.guidingeyes.org), an internationally accredited nonprofit guide dog school, was founded in 1954 to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired men and women by providing them with the freedom to travel safely, thereby assuring greater independence, dignity and expanded horizons of opportunity. Since that time, Guiding Eyes has become one of the foremost guide dog schools in the world, graduating more than 7,300 guide dog teams. It provides superbly bred Guiding Eyes dogs, professional training and follow-up support services to students at no cost to them and depends on contributions to fulfill its mission. The comprehensive cost of breeding, raising, preparing, training, and supporting a Guiding Eyes team is $45,000. Guiding Eyes for the Blind's Headquarters and Training Center is located in Yorktown Heights, NY and the Canine Development Center is in Patterson, NY.
About PepsiCo Foundation
Established in 1962, PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic anchor of PepsiCo, responsible for providing charitable contributions to eligible non-profit organizations. The Foundation is committed to developing sustainable partnerships and programs in underserved regions that provide opportunities for improved health, environment and education. For more information, visit: http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose/PepsiCo-Foundation.html.
PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola – make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo’s people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo’s promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
611 Granite Springs Road
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598