The UPS Foundation supports AFB's National Literacy Center
January 21, 2004 (Atlanta)—The UPS Foundation, the charitable arm of UPS (NYSE:UPS), recently issued the final installment of a $1,250,000 grant to the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). This marks the fifth consecutive year UPS made a $250,000 grant to help establish and support AFB's National Literacy Center. This landmark gift was the first grant given directly to the Center and provides vital resources for AFB's 10-year effort to ease the shortage of teachers who provide specialized literacy instruction to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
"UPS and its employees have a long standing commitment to the communities where we live and work. Philanthropy and employee volunteerism are a part of the company's culture," said Evern Cooper, president of The UPS Foundation and vice president of UPS corporate relations. "Together with our nonprofit partners, we work to make a positive impact on the lives of people in need. UPS's support of the American Foundation for the Blind signifies our shared focus and commitment to improve our communities."
AFB conceptualized and launched the National Literacy Center in 1999 to address the shortage of trained literacy instructors for children and adults who are visually impaired, and to promote literacy for people who are blind or who have low vision. Located in Atlanta, GA, the Center occupies a 5,000 square foot facility which includes a state of the art assistive technology training lab, an on-site classroom for instruction of professionals, and a comprehensive library of resources and publications relating to all aspects of literacy and visual impairment.
"Literacy is the key to education, employment, and quality of life," said Frances Mary D'Andrea, director of AFB's National Literacy Center. "The UPS Foundation's support has been critical in helping us expand our work to ensure that people who are blind or have low vision acquire the literacy skills they need to lead independent and productive lives."
The National Literacy Center has four main functions: training teachers and others who provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired; offering teachers hands-on experience with the numerous emerging technologies visually impaired people can use to access the printed word (or words on a screen); maintaining a resource library that provides and develops material on literacy and visual impairment; and supporting researchers who continue to add to the body of knowledge on literacy for blind or visually impaired people.
Established in 1951 and based in Atlanta, GA, The UPS Foundation identifies specific areas where its support will clearly impact social issues. The Foundation's major initiatives currently include programs that support family and workplace literacy, prepared and perishable food distribution, and increased nationwide volunteerism.
The American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life—is a national nonprofit headquartered in New York City whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired.
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