The American Council of the Blind wants change -- yours, in fact

The American Council of the Blind of Colorado's Million Penny Campaign, which kicks off at the first of the year and runs through March 31, is exactly that -- a penny collection drive. The non-profit will also take donations in any other amount, but the penny drive seemed like a great way to ask for a little to go a long way.

"We were brainstorming ways we could access and engage community -- and one of our staff members said, let's make it simple and painless," says Yolanda Innis-Johnson, Development Coordinator for the American Council of the Blind of Colorado of the organization's change drive.

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"We wanted to encourage people not to break the bank, and instead focus on simple things like cleaning out your car and donating the change," says Innis-Johnson. So, the organization set out to collect pennies -- which can be donated through a range of local businesses.

So far Corson Dentistry, Syrup, The Copper pot, True Cuts, Pacifico's Aveda Salon, Blackflip Studios, Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Chicano Studies, Beyond Sight and Crown Lanes have signed on to take donations. The list of participating business continues to grow, and any amount for the Million Penny Campaign can be given through the non-profit's website directly.

The American Council of the Blind of Colorado's 2012 fundraiser, Raisin' Cane, was a "race" of sorts, a modern take on the old ideas around visual impairment awareness -- like National White Cane Day, established in 1964. With the Million Penny Campaign, "We decided to turn a stigma about blind people and make something positive," says Innis-Johnson.

Taking the archaic and inaccurate "blind beggar" stereotype and making the drive itself focus on change, the organization is also able to spread the message that blindness and visual impairment affect everyone.

The non-profit hopes to raise $10,000 during the 90-day span of the fundraiser. The Denver Foundation promises to match all donations up to $7,500, and all donations are tax-deductible. All money raised will go to the American Council of the Blind of Colorado's programs, including "Sights For Seniors," which provides adaptive hearing aids, life-skills training, support groups, workshops, health education and more -- all provided to the more than 300,000 visually impaired people across Colorado at no cost.

To donate directly to the Million Penny Campaign or find out more about the American Council of the Blind of Colorado's non-profit work, visit the organization's website.

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