CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy Create Innovative Approach to Supporting Children with Disabilities

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Program 'CVS All Kids Can(TM)' Partners include Easter Seals, National Center for Boundless Playgrounds, Meeting Street and The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

WOONSOCKET, R.I., March 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy today announced the creation of CVS All Kids Can(TM), a five-year, $25 million commitment to making life easier for children with disabilities. At a time when many American children with disabilities continue to need programs and services, CVS All Kids Can is designed to meet the needs of this population.

Through this signature program, CVS/pharmacy and its more than 140,000 employees plan to help children with disabilities learn, play and succeed through partnerships with leading local and national nonprofit organizations including Easter Seals, The National Center for Boundless Playgrounds, Meeting Street, The Heller School for Social Policy and many others.

In its first year, the program will sponsor innovative programs and services that support children with disabilities in select cities, before expanding the program nationally in subsequent years. The CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust will also fund research conducted by Heller School faculty to increase understanding of disabilities, their effects on children and their families as well as the interventions and services needed by impacted households.

Research shows that 14% of Rhode Island's pediatric population ages 0-18 have disabilities. Nationally, 9.2% of American families with children have at least one child with a disability. Nearly 6 million children have a disability according to the 25th Annual Report to Congress on the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

"We know what's possible for children with disabilities and their families. For 85 years, Easter Seals has worked diligently to provide the exceptional services necessary to make sure people with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities," said James E. Williams Jr., president and chief executive officer, Easter Seals. "For eight years, CVS has been a critical Easter Seals partner. Now, as a national partner in the CVS All Kids Can(TM) Program, we look forward to working with the CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust and CVS/pharmacy to expand our innovative offerings and further impact the lives of children with disabilities."

Children with disabilities face challenges in everyday life that children without disabilities may never encounter. For example, many of these children are prevented from using or enjoying a playground with their peers. They may also require special attention and materials to enable them to attend school and learn; and many need continuous physical therapy and rehabilitative care to reach their full potential.

To answer these and other critical needs, CVS All Kids Can will focus on three key areas of support:

  • "Learn"/Awareness: CVS recognizes the importance of providing inclusive opportunities for children with disabilities. CVS will provide funding for programs, adaptive technologies and other services that promote equal opportunity for children with disabilities. In addition, CVS will support activities in schools and in local communities to increase public awareness of disabilities and the importance of inclusion.
  • "Play"/Physical Activity: CVS and the CVS Trust are committed to supporting organizations that provide safe places for children to play and to be physically active. The CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust will provide grants to help build barrier-free playgrounds in communities nationwide, and to expand existing recreation areas for children with disabilities.
  • "Succeed"/Medical Rehabilitation: For children with disabilities, medical rehabilitation and therapies are critical to their development, laying the groundwork for future success in adult life. The CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust has created the CVS All Kids Can Fund to support such care and services for children with disabilities at select Easter Seals centers across the country.

In all of its activities, CVS All Kids Can will strive to create more inclusive environments for children with and without disabilities. Research indicates that inclusive environments are critical in helping children with disabilities build self-esteem, lasting friendships and social skills, and in helping their peers without disabilities learn diversity and tolerance.

By supporting children with disabilities, CVS extends its corporate vision of helping people to live longer, healthier, happier lives. "CVS/pharmacy has a long history of giving back to the communities in which we serve by supporting people of all abilities," said Tom Ryan, Chairman, President, CEO of CVS/pharmacy. "In launching CVS All Kids Can, we will help children with disabilities to reach their greatest potential because we believe that all kids can."

About CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust

The CVS/pharmacy Charitable Trust, Inc. is a private foundation managed by CVS Corporation (NYSE: CVS), which operates more than 5,400 CVS/pharmacy stores in 37 states and Washington, D.C. The Trust's mission is to provide funding for health care, education and community involvement initiatives in communities where CVS/pharmacy stores are located. General information about CVS is available through the Investor Relations portion of the Company's Web site at http://investor.cvs.com, or through the Web site's press room at http://www.cvs.com/pressroom.