Boston Celtics Owner Helps Host National Braille Press Event, Announces NBA ’Read to Achieve’ Will Reach Out to the Blind

BOSTON (June 10, 2004) - Boston Celtics CEO and Managing Partner Wyc Grousbeck, addressing the National Braille Press fund-raiser, announced that the National Basketball Association's Read to Achieve program will reach out to blind students beginning next season through a partnership with the Boston-based braille printing and publishing house.

The initiative to include blind schools in the popular NBA student literacy program came from Grousbeck, whose son is blind, and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Gordon Gund, who himself is blind.

"Gordon Gund and I have both been touched by blindness in our lives," said Grousbeck, a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Braille Press. "We felt like we'd ask the NBA if it would be more inclusive and develop a program for the blind. The NBA was very enthusiastic about it."

The NBA will support the program by donating $10,000 toward the cost of a special book featuring both traditional printed pages and braille pages. The title has not been selected.

"This shows that reading is not just for sighted kids, but for everyone," Grousbeck said. "I'm very excited about the NBA's involvement."

Celtics forward Walter McCarty and legend Bob Cousy attended the event and spoke to the gathering about the importance of literacy and NBP's new partnership with Read to Achieve.

Grousbeck chaired the event with Joanne Jaxtimer, First Vice President of Mellon New England and Director of Mellon Financial's corporate affairs office, and Paul Parravano, co-director of the Office of Government and Community Relations in the president's office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Ascent! raised more than $300,000 for the National Braille Press. Kent Cullers, the nation's first blind astronomer, served as keynote speaker.

Read to Achieve is an NBA program designed to promote the value of reading, and to building a lifelong love of reading in young people by providing greater access to books. The Boston Celtics Read to Achieve program is sponsored by Shaw's Supermarkets and Aquafina.

Read to Achieve reaches an estimated 50 million children a year and includes the annual donation of more than 200,000 books through a variety of reading events and incentive programs, as well as the development of essay contests and on-line programs. The program is supported by all 30 NBA teams.
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