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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Stephen G. Marriott, L'Occitane en Provence, and IBM Corporation Receive a 2008 Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind

New York, NY (October 1, 2008)—Tonight, Stephen G. Marriott, L'Occitane en Provence, and IBM Corporation will be honored with the American Foundation for the Blind's (AFB) prestigious Helen Keller Achievement Award for their extraordinary efforts to improve the quality of life for people with vision loss. The black tie gala will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis, marking the 15th annual Helen Keller Achievement Awards.

"The Helen Keller Achievement Awards recognize corporations and individuals who are making a real difference in the lives of blind and visually impaired people," said Carl R. Augusto, President and CEO of the American Foundation for the Blind. "We are honored to present this year's awards to those who have fought tirelessly to expand possibilities for people with vision loss."

Stephen G. Marriott
Steve Marriott, Executive Vice President, Culture, Marriott International, Inc., will receive the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award for his success, as a visually impaired person, in business and industry, and his work to expand employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired people. He is responsible for perpetuating Marriott's core values and culture throughout the company, and is chairman of the Marriott Business Council.

IBM Corporation
IBM Corporation will be awarded the Helen Keller Achievement Award in Accessibility for providing innovative and accessible products for people with vision loss. Since 1975, IBM has been at the forefront of design and distribution of accessible hardware and software, with the development of products like the braille printer and screen reader. From hiring, to software development, to corporate management and business policies, IBM is dedicated to ensuring people with disabilities have equal access to important technology. John E. Kelly, III, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, IBM Corporation, will accept the award.

L'Occitane en Provence
French beauty company L'Occitane en Provence will receive the Helen Keller Achievement Award in Corporate Responsibility for creating awareness of the many issues facing people with vision loss around the world. In 1997, L'Occitane introduced braille labeling on its packaging as a way to ensure its products were accessible to everyone. In addition, L'Occitane supports programs in Europe, the U.S., Africa, and Asia that promote the health of children, teens, and adults who are blind and visually impaired. Reinold Geiger, President, L'Occitane en Provence, will accept the award.

Dinner Chairpersons for the 2008 Helen Keller Achievement Awards include Richard Kovacevich, Wells Fargo and Company; James Fisher, Fisher Capital Corp., LLC; Donald Goldsmith, Holland and Knight; J.W. Marriott, Jr., Marriott International, Inc.; and Michael Golden, The New York Times Company.

The Helen Keller Achievement Awards were established by AFB in 1994 to acknowledge Helen Keller's extraordinary efforts and promote the notable achievements of individuals and organizations that have improved the quality of life for all people who are blind or visually impaired.

For more information visit: http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=28&TopicID=152.

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The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit us online at www.afb.org.

Contact: Caitlin McFeely
AFB Communications
212-502-7674
cmcfeely@afb.net

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