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Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Guide Dogs for the Blind President and CEO Christine Benninger Joins the Board of the International Guide Dog Federation

October 6, 2021 GMT
Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. (Photo: Business Wire)
Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. (Photo: Business Wire)
Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. (Photo: Business Wire)

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct 6, 2021--

Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB), has been elected to the board of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), the world’s largest membership organization of guide dog schools, whose members’ purpose is to train and provide guide dogs for people who are blind or have low vision around the globe.

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Christine Benninger, president and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind. (Photo: Business Wire)

Benninger’s IGDF board participation further solidifies GDB’s leadership role on the global stage in improving mobility, inclusion, and independence for people who are blind or visually impaired, and in advocating for policy reforms that change how the world views blindness.

“I am delighted to welcome Christine to the Board of the IGDF,” said William Thornton, chair of the IGDF. “Christine is commencing a four-year term as a director, working with six other board members, all from different countries. Having the United States represented on our international board is vitally important, as it provides 33 percent of the world’s guide dogs.”

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“It is my pleasure to join the board of a thriving organization such as IGDF, which enables its members around the world to come together to better serve people who are blind or visually impaired,” said Benninger. “I look forward to collaborating with the board to help advance the exchange of knowledge and best practices among its membership.”

Since joining GDB in 2014, Benninger has overseen the building and opening of a new state-of-the-art Puppy Center at its San Rafael campus, and has expanded the organization’s program offerings to include orientation and mobility training to give individuals the skills they need to qualify for guide dogs. In addition, she has expanded GDB’s services for youth, based on the success of its Camp GDB and its K9 Buddy Program, which matches specially selected dogs to become companions to visually impaired children and teens. GDB recently added Guide Dog Lifestyle Workshops for youth, and launched a series of virtual workshops for youth and their families called Ready, Set, Forward!

Benninger has also been instrumental in implementing organizational initiatives such as Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), as well as full accessibility throughout GDB and its communications channels.

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Prior to joining GDB, Benninger spent 17 years leading the Humane Society Silicon Valley. She also served for 15 years at Hewlett Packard, where she held managerial positions in the U.S. and Europe. Benninger holds an MBA from Stanford University.

IGDF board members serve four-year terms, with the possibility of serving two consecutive terms.

About Guide Dogs for the Blind

Headquartered in San Rafael, Calif., Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) is the largest guide dog school in North America. It is a passionate community that prepares highly qualified guide dogs to empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired to move through the world more safely and confidently. More than 16,000 guide teams have graduated from GDB since it was founded in 1942. GDB not only improves mobility for its clients, but it also furthers inclusion and advocates for policy reforms that change how the world views blindness. All of GDB’s services are provided free of charge, and it receives no government funding. The organization was the subject of an award-winning 2018 documentary feature called Pick of the Litter, which was developed into a television docu-series by the same name that debuted in 2019 on Disney+. For more information, visit guidedogs.com, or call 800.295.4050.

Guide Dogs for the Blind’s sister organization, Guide Dogs for the Blind International (GDBI), is a registered charity in Canada that helps pair Canadians who are blind or visually impaired with highly qualified guide dogs. For more than 50 years, Canadians have been matched with guide dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind. GDBI receives no government funding and is supported entirely by private contributions. All donations will receive a charitable tax receipt. Learn more at gdbinternational.ca.

About The International Guide Dog Federation

The International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) was formed in 1989, following meetings over several years of guide dog organizations around the world. The IGDF is comprised of 99 member organizations, whose purpose is to serve people who are blind or have low vision around the world, by training and providing guide dogs. The IGDF facilitates a sharing of knowledge, experience, the highest quality standards, methodologies, and help for new or existing schools wanting to improve the quality of their operations. All of this is focused on improving the safe, independent mobility of people who are blind or have low vision throughout the world. Learn more about the IGDF at www.igdf.org.uk.

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CONTACT: Barbara Zamost

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KEYWORD: CALIFORNIA UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CANADA

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SOURCE: Guide Dogs for the Blind

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PUB: 10/06/2021 10:00 AM/DISC: 10/06/2021 10:02 AM

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