Golisano Foundation Launches Bailey and Friends

First Grant Made to Freedom Guide Dogs

Rochester, NY—November 7, 2019--The Golisano Foundation announced today that it is launching a new initiative, Bailey and Friends, to support animal welfare for cats and dogs in Western NY and Southwest Florida.

A new trust component of the Golisano Foundation, Bailey and Friends will work with shelters, rescue groups, veterinary clinics and other lifesaving programs to promote pet wellness, safety and keeping pets and families together.

Financial support from Bailey and Friends will focus on spaying and neutering, quality shelter care, adoptions and foster care, emergency relief, therapy/companion training, community education on responsible pet ownership and other programs to ensure that dogs and cats have the chance to live healthy, happy lives in stable environments.

Bailey and Friends is named for Tom’s dog Bailey, a rescue, who has been a beloved member of his family.

“Tom and his family have always believed that animals should be treated with compassion and respect throughout their entire lives," said Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation. "In establishing this new effort, we look forward to making a positive difference in the care of dogs and cats, helping animal shelters and clinics, and lifesaving programs access optimal and ethical care procedures, supplies, and flexible options.

First Grant Being Made to Freedom Guide Dogs

Freedom Guide Dogs Logo

Bailey and Friends first grant in the amount of $20,000 is being made to Freedom Guide Dogs, a unique program and one of only two in the United States that serves blind individuals including those with special needs helping them participate actively in their communities.

Freedom Guide Dogs is based in Upstate New York, and breeds, raises, trains and places guide dogs with the blind and visually impaired through a distinctive program called Hometown Training™ that provides guide dog training in an at-home environment.

In 2018 they placed 38 guide dogs including nine in Bailey and Friends geographic target area - six in western New York and three in Southwest Florida. 

Costello said, “We continue to be impressed with the service provided by Freedom Guide Dogs especially the HomeTown Training program. This personalized training method has proven to be successful in placing the right dog with the right person to meet specific challenges. We applaud Freedom Guide Dog’s willingness to place guide dogs with people who have disabilities in addition to blindness such as physical or neurological conditions.”

Eric Loori, Freedom Guide Dogs Executive Director said, “We are so grateful to be the first recipient of a grant from Bailey and Friends. The Golisano Foundation has been a key supporter of our organization for ten years now. Its spirit and mission gives us assurance at Freedom Guide Dogs that we are like minded.

Loori added, “With a guide dog, people have better access to their communities, and more confidence navigating them independently. Our Special Needs program promotes the idea that "exceptional" individuals are vital, necessary members of their community. With a guide dog, they have greater mobility, independence, and companionship. Bailey and Friends’ gift will allow us to continue to meet and expand our services and continue to help visually impaired people remain vibrant and vital members of their communities.”

For information on grant guidelines and how to apply visit Bailey and Friends on the Golisano Foundation web site. The web site will also feature resources for pet owners and organizations dedicated to the care of dogs and cats.

Ryan and Matty

Ryan just graduated from high school and, like all teenagers, is yearning for more independence.

Born blind with Down Syndrome, his ability to overcome his challenges is a source of pride for him and his family. This fall he will be participating in a work-study program with a kindergarten class in his hometown; showing the next generation that "exceptional" people are vital, necessary members of their communities.

Ryan lives at home with his parents and is supported by his extended family. He is working with his Orientation & Mobility instructor to prepare for working with his new guide dog.

After meeting with Ryan and his family, Freedom's trainers believe that, despite his cognitive challenges, a dog with a "generous spirit" can help Ryan get around on his own. We plan to provide innovation and partnership for Healthy Communities across the U.S. and the world, while also providing education for coaches, mentors, athletes, and supporters.


News & Resources

Golisano Foundation launches pet welfare initiative - WXXI - Nov 6, 2019

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