Valero Gives Major Gift to San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind

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Valero Gives Major Gift to San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind


SAN ANTONIO -- Valero Energy Foundation, the charitable arm of Valero Energy Corp., gave a $500,000 gift to the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind. The Lighthouse is in the midst of a $3.5 million capital campaign to raise money for the construction of a new 60,000-square-foot multi-purpose building, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

The total cost of the building at 301 Eads Ave. is $7 million. Lighthouse officials expect to pay for half of the construction with internal funds; the remaining half will be raised in the private-sector through individuals and local foundations like the Valero Energy Foundation.

The new building, which will be constructed across the street from the Lighthouse's main headquarters at 2305 Roosevelt Ave., will house the nonprofit's rehabilitation/training services. The building will also house its U.S. Army helmet chinstrap manufacturing operations for blind and visually impaired children and adults. Other operations to be housed there will be determined at a later date. Construction is expected to be completed in 2012.

Lighthouse President and CEO Mike Gilliam said the nonprofit is excited to have received this "incredible gift" from Valero. "This expansion represents the first and last capital campaign in the 78-year history of the San Antonio Lighthouse and positions it to be self-sustaining, expand rehabilitation services, establish programs for blind youth, generate jobs for people who are blind, increase economic impact on the San Antonio community and improve the overall quality of life for many who are legally blind in Bexar County," Gilliam noted.

Valero Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Bill Klesse, said the company has been a longtime supporter of the Lighthouse, and is "happy to be a part of this very worthwhile capital campaign." Valero's previous support of the Lighthouse enabled the purchase of a cutting machine used to cut fabric for military uniforms. This machine saved the Lighthouse hundreds of thousands of dollars and enabled the hiring of four additional vision-impaired individuals.

The San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves the blind or visually impaired by providing rehabilitation services, as well as employment opportunities through its light manufacturing assembly plant and base service centers.