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Foulkes proves to be a worthy asset for CVS

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark has named Helena Foulkes EVP and chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer undoubtedly is significant, as she will be responsible for integrating all the company’s capabilities in branding, communications and healthcare-reform strategy to forge even stronger partnerships and further improve pharmacy care delivery. The responsibilities of this newly created position will be no small feat, indeed, but clearly those at 1 CVS Drive are more than confident in her abilities.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark names Helena Foulkes EVP, chief healthcare strategy and marketing officer. For the full story, click here.)

But what is especially important to note is that it isn’t just about what people think of Foulkes inside the walls of 1 CVS Drive; people in the industry think she’s tops. Upon hearing the news of Foulkes’ promotion, several industry members took the time to comment on her promotion on Drug Store NewsFacebook page. David Biernbaum, president and senior consultant at David Biernbaum & Associates, wrote: "Helena has always been on the leading edge. Congratulations, Helena!"

Executives from Pace Shave wrote: "Big congratulations to Helena — she definitely deserved it. Can’t wait to see what the coming months bring!"

Meanwhile, the governor of Rhode Island in early 2011 appointed her vice chair of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation Board, making her the board’s first female vice chair.

She has been one of the brightest, fastest-rising stars of the retail pharmacy industry for more than a decade, even a bit of a retail prodigy in a sense, given that she was just 35 years old when she took on the massive challenge of building what has become one of the most successful loyalty programs in all of retailing — from scratch. Today, the ExtraCare loyalty program boasts more than 65 million active members.

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Safeway kicks off fundraising campaign for people with disabilities

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Friday announced the start of its companywide fundraising campaign for Easter Seals, Special Olympics, Rebuilding Together and a range of job training programs that help people with disabilities live fuller lives.

“Assisting people with special needs of all kinds has long been a Safeway priority,” stated Safeway EVP and Safeway Foundation chair Larree Renda. “As a company that proudly employs thousands of people with disabilities, Safeway directly benefits from the work of these organizations and is committed to contributing to their success and increasing their outreach.”

During April, the company’s nearly 1,700 stores in the United States and Canada will raise funds for organizations that are at the forefront of providing assistance, training, therapy and social outlets to the millions of people who live with physical or developmental disabilities, the grocer stated.

The company also will be partnering with Rebuilding Together to plan and execute home or community center rehabilitation projects that serve people with disabilities. In the coming weeks, teams of Safeway volunteers will be deployed into each of Safeway’s key markets to assist Rebuilding Together “project managers” with various repair, landscape, paint and remodel work.

Safeway officially launched its “Support for People with Disabilities” fundraiser this past Tuesday with a special event at a store in Alameda, Calif. Company officials were joined by Easter Seals president and CEO James Williams, Special Olympics VP corporate partnerships Kristine Templin, soccer star Brandi Chastain and actress Cathy Rigby. Williams praised Safeway for its longtime support.

“We’ve long counted Safeway among the most important corporate sponsors for Easter Seals,” Williams said. “Their demonstrated abilities as a fundraiser and clear passion for the cause have translated into real improvement in our ability to deliver community based services to people with disabilities.”

Each year Safeway dedicates April to raising funds and bringing awareness to helping people with disabilities. Donations will be collected at every Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Carrs, Randalls, Tom Thumb and Genuardi’s store in the United States and Canada. The company also uses in-store broadcasts and video messages to customers and employees to share information about breakthroughs in research and new programs that help millions of people with disabilities in North America and around the world. To date, Safeway has raised and donated more than $100 million to support such organizations as Easter Seals, Special Olympics and a range of other organizations that assist people with special needs.

"The support of Safeway and their customers for people with intellectual disabilities is a great example of how together we can live in unity," stated Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. "From employment and donations to providing places of welcome and acceptance for our athletes, Safeway is paving the way in building communities of inclusion."

Easter Seals and Special Olympics are just two of the many important organizations and causes that the company supports each year. Safeway contributes to a broad range of charitable and community programs, and in 2010 donated more than $200 million to education, hunger relief, health and human services, and cancer research.

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Whole Foods: Joke’s on you

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN, Texas — Proving that natural food stores have a sense of humor, Whole Foods hosted a faux website home page to celebrate April Fools’ Day.

The homepage featured such items as "insects raised with compassion," stinky cheese lipstick and bizarre recipes. The retailer even featured a video about finding love at its stores on both the website and its Facebook fan page. Needless to say, it received many "likes."

Although natural food stores take themselves seriously when it comes to delivering natural and organic products to customers, it’s nice to see Whole Foods having some fun.

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