Area Lions Clubs and Guiding Eyes for the Blind have completed a major milestone in the GEB Vehicle Project Two-for-One Challenge with approval of a $75,000 matching funds request from Lions Clubs International. The Lion/Guiding Eyes fundraising project has now achieved over 75% of its total fundraising goal of $300,000.
“Our students come from around the world,” explains Sue Dishart, GEB - VP for Development and Marketing. “We need to get incoming students from local airports and train stations to our Yorktown campus, and then to appropriate environments for them to train.”
“We really appreciate the support of the Lions. Along with clubs throughout the tri state area, we have received donations from Lions Clubs as far away as Kansas and Arizona,.”
Led by theVan Tassell Society, a group of local Lions dedicated to increasing volunteerism at the guide dog school, Lions Clubs raised $75,000. Guiding Eyes asked supporters and patrons to raise an additional $150,000 --- the Two-for-One Challenge.
The Lions took the project one step further, applying to Lions Clubs International for a $75,000 matching grant, bringing the total to $300,000. “Donors are gratified to know that their gifts will go further due to the Lions’ generosity,” said William D. Badger, Guiding Eyes’ President and Chief Executive Officer.
Guiding Eyes took delivery of the first vehicle early this summer, and is planning to introduce the second vehicle at the beginning of the fall. “This will help us to better support our blind students, as well as the students in our Heeling Autism program,” said Ms. Dishart.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind is an internationally accredited 501(c)(3) nonprofit guide dog school founded in 1954. In 2008, the school launched Heeling Autism, a service dog program designed to provide safety and companionship for children on the autism spectrum. Guiding Eyes provides all of its services at no cost, and is dependent upon contributions to fulfill its mission. The organization’s Headquarters and Training Center is located in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. and its Canine Development Center is in Patterson, N.Y. Donations can be made to Guiding Eyes for the Blind and send to the attention of Lions Challenge at 611 Granite Springs Road. Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. For additional information, call 914-245-4024.
Lions Clubs International is the largest service club organization in the world. Its 1.35 million members in more than 46,000 clubs are serving communities in 207 countries and geographical areas around the globe. Since 1917, Lions clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired, championed youth initiatives and strengthened local communities through hands-on service and humanitarian projects. For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit lionsclubs.org. For information on Lions Clubs in the Westchester/Rockland/Putnam area, contact Lion Public Relations Co-Chair Carl Anderson at LionCAA11@gmail.com.