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Corporations Receive Award for Dedication to Foundation

April 2, 2007

Airgas Corporate Champion
Mike Thomas, area vice president of Airgas Mid South (second from right), accepts the Corporate Champions of Hope Award on behalf of Airgas Puritan Medical.
Not willing to sit and wait for a cure for cystic fibrosis, corporations such as Airgas, Altus Pharmaceuticals, Foresters, Wal-Mart, BJ’s Restaurants and Solvay Pharmaceuticals created their own unique fund-raising plans to support the CF Foundation. For their dedicated efforts to accelerating CF research, each company received a special award at the Foundation’s annual Volunteer Leadership meeting held on March 9-10. 

Airgas, Altus Pharmaceuticals, Foresters and Wal-Mart were honored with the Corporate Champions of Hope Award. The award, created in 2005, is given to businesses whose generous support, through direct corporate donations and sponsorships, helps to raise funds for critical CF research and specialized care.

In its role as a Great Strides national partner, Airgas has raised nearly $300,000 by forming walk teams, contacting company vendors for contributions, organizing letter-writing campaigns and holding competitions between departments. In addition, many vice presidents pledged to match all of the money raised by the company’s walkers in their region.
 
Altus Pharmaceuticals began working with the Foundation in 2001 to develop an enzyme that will help people with CF digest food and absorb proper nutrients more efficiently. The company soon went beyond their commitment in the laboratory and began participating in fund-raising events such as the Ultimate Golf Experience and Great Strides and sponsoring local CF ski events.

For several years, Foresters participated in local CF-related events, but soon committed to expanding their involvement. By 2004, they volunteered at wine openers and tailgate events. Their biggest role is in Great Strides, for which many of its eastern U.S. branches formed teams and became sponsors. Solidifying their reputation as a company committed to family and community, Foresters has donated more than $500,000 to the fight against cystic fibrosis. 

When it comes to giving, Wal-Mart is a leader in the field. For years, Wal-Mart served as a presenting sponsor for the Jeb Bush Florida Classic; in 2004, the company took its support to a new level and signed on as the event’s title sponsor. Several of its employees also sit on the committee for the Jeb Bush Florida Classic and many more participate in the tournament.

BJs Corporate Champion
Paul Motenko, co-chairman of BJ's Restaurants (second from right), first became devoted to the CF cause when his daughter, Stacy, was diagnosed with the disease almost two decades ago. Since then, the company has been an ardent supporter of the CF Foundation.
BJ’s Restaurants and Solvay Pharmaceuticals were also recognized at the VLI meeting with the Spirit of American Award, created in honor of the Foundation's Outstanding Corporate Partner, American Airlines®. The award is given to companies who have demonstrated long-standing commitment to the Foundation, through special event involvement or direct gifts, and reflect the level of support of American Airlines®.
 
Year after year, BJ’s Restaurants continues to find new ways to increase its support of the Foundation. Through its "Cookies for Kids" program, a portion of the sale of every signature Pizookie® dessert goes to the CF Foundation. In 2006, to inspire more schools to get involved in CureFinders, the company matched up to $2,000 of money raised at each participating school located nears its restaurants. Overall, BJ’s Restaurants has contributed a tremendous $3 million to the Foundation.

Solvay Pharmaceuticals has been a tremendous supporter of the CF Foundation for many years. The company implemented a program that provides the pancreatic enzyme CREON® MINIMICROSPHERES® during the first two years of life for individuals with CF, as well as vitamins. Aiming to advance the Foundation’s fund-raising efforts, Solvay has been a Great Strides National Corporate Partner for many years and, in 2006, 230 of its employees came out to participate at the Atlanta walk.

“I am privileged to honor all of these generous companies for their support, for giving new hope to individuals with CF and for what we know will continue to be a great joint effort to find a cure for cystic fibrosis,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., the Foundation’s president and CEO.

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The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.