CHICAGO, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- As the nation focuses on the emerging challenges of people living with autism during April's Autism Awareness Month, Easter Seals today announced it has received $350,000 in grants this month from the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, bringing the total donation from the Trust to $1 million to support Easter Seals autism services nationwide. These grants are part of CVS Caremark's signature program, CVS Caremark All Kids Can(TM), a five-year, $25 million commitment to support children with disabilities.
Easter Seals was selected as a CVS Caremark All Kids Can national partner when the Program was introduced in early 2006. CVS Caremark and its private foundation have since contributed more than $4 million to Easter Seals, including more than $1 million in CVS Caremark All Kids Can Fund gifts to support Easter Seals autism services, $1.5 million in Easter Seals Walk With Me sponsorships, $1 million in Walk With Me pledges from CVS Caremark employee teams, and a $500,000 commitment to Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago's Therapeutic Day School and Center for Autism Research, scheduled to open this fall. Additionally, some 4,000 CVS Caremark employees volunteered at Easter Seals fundraisers and services in 2006 and again in 2007.
The 2008 CVS Caremark All Kids Can Fund recipients include Easter Seals affiliates in Columbus, Dallas, South Florida, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Topeka and Westchester County. Monies will be used to expand and sustain critical local programs and services that create opportunities for children with autism to learn, play and succeed. Children with autism up to age 18, and their families, will benefit from feeding programs, specialized summer camps, weekend respite experiences, inclusive childcare, therapeutic and medical rehabilitation services and more.
"CVS Caremark has been a critical Easter Seals partner for more than a decade. The CVS Caremark All Kids Can Program represents Corporate Social Responsibility at its best," said James E. Williams, Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. "We applaud CVS Caremark for its commitment to children with disabilities and remain grateful for the impact we are able to make in the lives of these children through CVS Caremark's support."
Critical Need for Autism Services
Over the last 20 years, Easter Seals has seen a dramatic increase in the number of children and adults with autism the organization serves. Today, as many as one in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism* -- that's a new diagnosis every 20 minutes -- making autism more prevalent than Down syndrome, childhood diabetes, and childhood cancer combined.
While autism is a baffling, lifelong disability, it is treatable. Every family living with a person who has autism faces unique challenges. Early detection and intervention are the essential first steps.
"There is an urgent need for increased funding and services," adds Williams. "We want to help change all of this and make a difference for families living with autism today."
"CVS Caremark is committed to making a positive impact on the lives of children with disabilities through the All Kids Can Program," said Eileen Howard Dunn, senior vice president, Corporate Communications and Community Relations, CVS Caremark. "We are proud to support Easter Seals in advancing outcomes-based treatments and interventions for children with autism, and by encouraging our associates to volunteer and make a difference in the communities where we live and work."
About The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust
The CVS Caremark Charitable Trust, Inc. is a private foundation created by CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS). CVS Caremark is the nation's premier integrated pharmacy services provider, combining one of the nation's leading pharmaceutical services companies with the country's largest pharmacy chain. The Trust's mission is to provide funding for health care, education and community involvement initiatives in communities where CVS/pharmacy stores are located. General information about CVS/Caremark is available through the Investor Relations portion of the Company's Web site at http://investor.cvs.com/, or through the Web site's press room at http://www.cvs.com/pressroom.
About Easter Seals
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For nearly 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Support children and adults with disabilities at http://www.easterseals.com or http://autism.easterseals.com.
*Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2007
SOURCE Easter Seals