NEW YORK (March 31, 2015)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has named Russell Shaffer the recipient of the 2015 Stephen Garff Marriott Award. The award honors a blind or visually impaired individual who has served as an extraordinary mentor or who has attained remarkable professional success.

"Russell Shaffer serves as an exceptional mentor, role model, and inspiration for the millions of Americans living with vision loss. In his role at Walmart, he has provided a voice to diverse populations, including aging Americans and persons with disabilities," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "Through his many accomplishments, he has shown the world that vision loss need not stand in the way of success."

The Stephen Garff Marriott Award was established in honor of the late Stephen Garff Marriott, who lost his vision later in life and served as an exemplary role model to others with vision loss. He rose to the upper ranks at Marriott International through hard work and tenacity, and was known for being a talented executive, sales manager, and ambassador of the Marriott brand.

The Stephen Garff Marriott Award will be presented at the 2015 AFB Leadership Conference in Phoenix, on April 10.

About the Awardee

Russell Shaffer serves as Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs – Constituent Relations for Walmart. He manages Walmart’s relationships with national stakeholder organizations in the aging and people with disabilities communities, partnering with these groups to develop and execute programs to help older adults and people with disabilities to live better.

After graduating from Malone University with honors and a B.A. in Communication Arts and Business Administration, Russell became the public relations coordinator at The Society of the Blind in Akron, O.H. He then went on to work for the Ohio Optometric Association, heading up their public relations efforts before moving to St. Louis to take a position in the advertising department at Famous-Barr/May Department Stores. In 2006, he accepted a position as a Communications Manager in the Walmart Benefits Division, moving up through the ranks in various internal communications positions, including Manager of Global Associate Communications, prior to accepting his current position in 2014. Russell is active with AFB as a CareerConnect mentor, helping others with visual impairments with career advice. He is a member of the U.S. Business Leadership Network’s Corporate Advisory Board, past chair for Walmart's Advocates for Disability Awareness and Education resource group and has been a board member of Sources for Community Independent Living in Fayetteville, Ark. since 2012.


About AFB
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. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

Amanda Kolling
Communications and Marketing Manager
American Foundation for the Blind
Tel. (304) 710-3031