Small Changes Make a Bright Difference

We love to make an impact with our grantees, but sometimes that path takes us into new directions. When we recently went on a sight visit to CReATE, (Citizens Reutilizing Assistive Technology Equipment)  we anticipated helping with their programs to help more Utahans become  independent and mobile again. Upon our arrival,  it was instantly obvious how dark and difficult it was to accomplish their mission.  The workshop only had a few working lights worked and no windows! It was clear the best way to make an impact would be to help them become more efficient, organized and enjoy working in their space.  A small mini grant was funded and with the completion of the project, Tom Boman, Project Coordinator stated,  “The more pleasant environment has made visiting the shop a more positive experience for all. Clients, volunteers, and partners have all noted the improvements. The lighting is a reflection of a conscious effort to improve the program and this positive change is obvious to all those who visit the shop.”

We were happy to help and CReATE’s future looks brighter than ever. To learn more and be inspired by their mission, watch the video below.

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Becoming Helen Keller

BECOMING HELEN KELLER  Film Project: The Gibney Family Foundation has for committed$30,000 in support to the Becoming Helen Keller film project.  You can read about this film-in-process here.  The Disability Museum  currently striving to raise the last 20% of this project’s budget which will be matched by TGFF. Once that task is complete we will return to editing this two hour work which is guaranteed to broadcast on the prestigious PBS biography series American Masters.  We also invite you to like the Becoming Helen Keller project FB page.

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Get HAPI in Vermont

vabviThe Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) was recently granted a $75,000 3-year matching grant from The Gibney Family Foundation to help establish its Helping Adolescents Prepare for Independence (HAPI) teen program. The HAPI program was specifically created to address the daily living skills students need to possess in order to live on their own, establish careers, attend college, and/or become involved in their community. According to the American Foundation of the Blind, an alarming 64% of blind and visually impaired individuals aged 16-64 are not employed (more than double the percentage of the general population not employed). VABVI is working to change this disheartening statistic.

The HAPI program enables VABVI’s licensed Teachers of the Visually Impaired andCertified Vision Rehabilitation Therapists to work one-on-one with students to learn the skills necessary to thrive independently. Skills include utilizing an ATM, navigating public transportation, basic first aid, exploring career options, college preparation, self-advocacy, recognizing social cues, proper dress for various occasions, and fiscal responsibility.

A generous $5,000 grant has already been made by the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation for this program, matched in full by The Gibney Family Foundation. If you are interested in supporting the HAPI teen program, please contact Ayeshah Raftery, Director of Development and Public Education, at (800) 639-5861 ext. 224 or araftery@vabvi.org. You can also make a direct donation online at www.vabvi.org/make-a-donation or via mail or in person at 60 Kimball Avenue, South Burlington, VT 05403.

VABVI was founded in 1926 with the assistance of Helen Keller and the American Foundation for the Blind. We are the only private, non‑profit organization in the state providing comprehensive support services for visually impaired Vermonters of all ages. VABVI offices are located in Brattleboro, Montpelier, Rutland and South Burlington.

Original article is found at vermontbiz.com

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Technology grant to support kids learning

LEWISTON, ID – The Northwest Children’s Home will soon have top of the line technology, thanks to a generous Idaho foundation.

The home that houses 70-to-80-kids was just awarded a $100,000 grant by The Gibney Family Foundation.

Director of Development Erika Allen said this type of generosity will make a world of difference in the way teachers teach. The money will fund five smart-classrooms at the home.

“Interactive white boards that are synced to computers,” said Allen. “In addition to that the kids will be able to utilize clickers iPad. Personalized technology to help out enhancing their learning experience. In addition to that the teachers will be receiving enhanced training.”

The money will be given out over the next two-years,, with the first check for $50,000 given this September. The foundation hopes their gift will spark other donors to do the same, making smart-classrooms at the education center in downtown Lewiston a possibility as well.
See news article here.

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Finding a Touch of Genius

From National Braille Press Blog:

Many of our customers and friends know that NBP, with support from The Gibney Family Foundation, offers a $20,000 prize called the Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation.  What few people know is how this process works.

Louis Braille flaming headTouch of Genius Prize for Innovation logo

The Prize was developed to inspire an innovator to continue the promotion of braille literacy for blind people worldwide.  Each year, NBP puts out a call for applications and receives a wide variety of projects ranging from educational methods to tactile literacy products to high-tech solutions.  This past year was no different with NBP receiving twenty competing applications.

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VABVI receives the final pledge payment of $500,000 from TGFF

From VermontBiz WebsiteVision Center VABVI

The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI) has received the final payment of a large donation from The Gibney Family Foundation. Under the current direction of CEO Frank Gibney, The Gibney Family Foundation – founded in 1992 to develop sustainable resources for organizations that foster independence, particularly for those who are blind – has lead VABVI’s “Expanding Horizons” capital campaign with an unprecedented $500,000 gift.

The Gibney Family Foundation Sight Center opened in February 2009. Thanks to the challenge grant that The Gibney Family Foundation issued, VABVI raised a record $2,000,000 for its new office. This fantastic gift challenged other Vermonters to support VABVI’s mission– to enable Vermonters with vision problems, whether blindness or impairment, to achieve and maintain independence. It not only placed The Gibney Family Foundation as the top donor for VABVI’s ambitious capital campaign, but also demonstrates the Gibneys’ leadership abilities as they continue to set a prime example for other donors who give to our agency.

Their generous offer is not merely the result of The Gibney Family Foundation’s long-standing partnership with VABVI. It also exemplifies the Gibney family’s recognition of how vital this organization is to Vermonters with visual impairments. They are aware of what our programs and services mean to our clients, as well as what they will mean to our future clients. As the Baby Boomer generation reaches its golden days, Vermont can anticipate a sharp rise in age-related eye conditions, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The Gibney Family Foundation has shown that they want to ensure VABVI’s ability to meet future demands. We would therefore like to extend our sincere gratitude, from the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired to The Gibney Family Foundation: Together fulfilling dreams of independence for the visually impaired.

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SNAPS thanks TGFF for service

Over 40 members of the Gibney Family Foundation gathered in Boise for a service retreat to benefit SNAPS, Inc. and it’s youth programs. Their makeover mission: to create an inviting loft space within the newly relocated SNAPS office. The loft will be used by mentor/mentee pairs in the Youth Empowered to Succeed (YES) Mentor Program, which serves teenaged youth living in foster care.

TGFF adults, youth and children applied vinyl lettering to form inspirational wall decor, created multi-dimensional backing for portraits, painted a magnetic chalkboard for captioned snapshots of mentor activities, installed a study counter for the computer lab, blinds, and shelving in a storage area, and repurposed a credenza as a TV and storage stand. Grant funding from TGFF will fund the beautiful leather furnishings and makeover supplies used to create this colorful loft as well as the study and entertainment elements incorporated in its design.

Learn more here

THANK YOU GIBNEY FAMILY! Our mentor pairs will LOVE the new space! It will provide a vibrant space for friendships to flourish in the coming years.


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Supporting VisionServe Alliance

Press Release:

“The Gibney Family Foundation of South Burlington, Vermont, and First Nonprofit Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, jointly awarded grants to VisionServe Alliance of St. Louis, Missouri, to expand the vision rehabilitation workforce and help provide life-changing services to people who are blind or visually impaired.

We are deeply grateful to The Gibney Family Foundation for its generous grant of $75,000 over three years and First Nonprofit Foundation for its challenge grant of $25, 000,” said Roxann Mayros, President and CEO of VisionServe Alliance.

Read more here

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