Brief History of TGFF
The Gibney Family Foundation was incorporated in Sarasota, Florida on August 23, 1991. The concept of being part of a Private Foundation was new to our family at the time. Initially, the Foundation members consisted of Al Gibney and his three children; Joan, Sue and Frank. Now, there are fifty plus family members involved with TGFF spanning several generations.
Seeking to make a difference and achieve an impact within a community, Al knew TGFF needed a narrow focus. The blindness cause was chosen as the focus for TGFF because Al Gibney’s mother & sister were inspired by Helen Keller and they dedicated their philanthropic interests toward translating kids’ books into braille.
Additionally, the four original founders agreed to honor that the money was preserved by our ancestors for a greater cause. They further honor their cause with a commitment to preserve at least 51% of the grant making to support blindness. The remainder balance of funding is to foster the passion of TGFF family grant sponsors. Pursuing individual passions gives family the energy and interest to keep The Gibney Family Foundation alive thus creating “Sustainable Solutions for Independence,” TGFF’s vision, for all kinds of folks who might benefit.
Today, our actual support for the Blind and Visually Impaired Community is over 60% of our grant making. TGFF Family has embraced its narrow focus, and has incorporated annual service projects, that include folks who are blind and visually impaired, as part of our Family Foundation Annual Meeting.
TGFF is happy to report that family involvement is what has preserved Al Gibney’s vision. We strive daily to involve, invest, and inspire those who we partner with and ourselves. -The TGFF Board
How did the Foundation Start?
The Foundation is born – by Suzi Young, daughter of Al Gibney
Over thirty years ago Dad, Joanie, Gib and me gathered at Joanie and Chris’ home over Thanksgiving and held our very first meeting as Founders of The Gibney Family Foundation. In this meeting we accepted the responsibility of running the Foundation (having no clue what we were doing!) and also accepted Dad’s recommendation to focus our efforts of helping those who are blind and visually impaired.
There are so many great causes in this world!!! Why did this specific challenge become our focus? It all began with Gammy (Dad’s mother, Ada) hearing Helen Keller’s speech to the Lion’s International Convention on June 30, 1925 where she heard the plea: “Will you not help me hasten the day when there shall be no preventable blindness, no little deaf, blind child untaught, no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing, you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?” Once the Perkins Brailler was invented and available, Gammy went on to translate many children’s books into Braille. Her sister, Della, did this as well. Dad was very close to his mother, very proud of her, and wanted to honor this passion which she pursued over several years.
Prior to Dad’s death in February of 2001, Gib, Joanie and I encouraged Dad (and he agreed) to expand TGFF’s help to other causes that family members were interested in or passionate about that would meet TGFF guidelines. Meanwhile we promised to always grant a minimum of 51% to organizations that serve the Blind and visually impaired.