Sofia Sees Hope Pays It Forward With Verizon Wireless Donation

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Verizon Wireless donates Samsung Tablets to local nonprofits in southeastern Connecticut.

From left, Patti Coan, Sofia Sees Hope board member; Erik Garofano, Mystic Lions; Laura Manfre, co-founder of Sofia Sees Hope; Neil Ryan, co-owner of Verizon Wireless; Jane Cable, Safe Futures; Jeff Anderson, executive director of Always Home. Verizon Wireless donated Samsung tablets to area nonprofits.

Ledyard, CT (June 19, 2018) — When local Wireless Zone franchisees Scott Gladstone and Neil Ryan decided to donate seven Samsung Galaxy 8” tablets to Sofia Sees Hope (SSH) to help the nonprofit modernize its fundraising efforts, SSH President and Co-founder Laura Manfre was nearly overwhelmed by the generosity.

“Having run a small nonprofit for five years, from start-up through initial growth, I know how hard it is to find funding to buy items like new technology,” Manfre said. “So when Scott and Neil said they wanted to give us not just one or two tablets to be able to use at our fundraising events, but seven, I knew this was a great chance to pay it forward.”

Sofia Sees Hope reached out to other area nonprofits, and offered to give them each a tablet. The deal was that the NPOs would create an informal “loan pool” of the technology to share when each is having a big event.

The other nonprofits receiving the tablets are: Always Home, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Mystic Lions Community Foundation, Lions Low Vision Center of Eastern Connecticut, and Safe Futures.

“Over the years we have seen that the nonprofits in our community have different needs at different levels,” said Scott Gladstone, co-owner of the local Wireless Zone franchises. “When we learned that the donation of a few tablets would greatly help some wonderful local non-profits with planning and events we were more than happy to help.  We are all a part of the communities we live in and it’s up to us to do our part to help when there is a need.”

“We are grateful to Verizon Wireless Zone and Sofia Sees Hope for organizing this collaborative effort to share technology,” said Tricia Cunningham, director of development for Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. “There are not extra funds in the budget for items like this and we look forward to putting this to use.”

“Always Home is grateful for the gift of the tablet,” said Jeff Anderson, executive director of Always Home. “The use of the mobile device will allow our case workers to access data and enter client information while out in the field.  This will allow us to work more efficiently and deliver urgent client services quicker.”

About Sofia Sees Hope

Sofia Sees Hope was founded in 2014  by Laura Manfre and Charles Priebe, whose daughter Sofia has Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). This rare degenerative genetic condition is characterized by severe vision loss at birth and leads to total blindness.

The mission of Sofia Sees Hope is to transform the lives of those affected by blindness caused by rare inherited retinal disease. The nonprofit organization generates awareness, raises funds for research, and provides outreach, support and education to those affected by LCA and other rare retinal diseases.