Leslys Garrow Vedder has always had a passion for causes that help people, particularly children. As a GDB donor, she appreciates that a guide dog is much more than a mobility tool for someone with a visual impairment. A guide dog is a partner, confidence-builder, soulmate, travel companion, and social bridge.
Leslys's involvement with GDB is also the result of her late husband’s visual impairment. Dr. James Forrest Vedder, Ph.D., was a physicist, archeologist, and scholar. He lost an eye as a toddler and received a prosthetic eye while attending the University of California, Berkeley for graduate work.
In December 2020, Leslys offered a generous $100,000 matching gift opportunity in memory of Jim to help GDB raise crucial funds for our mission during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign was a huge success.
Fast forward one year. COVID is still present and pandemic related expenses persist. Leslys decides to offer another $100,000 match to help GDB recover from pandemic economic challenges.
“I know Jim would fully support my decision,” says Leslys noting that Jim loved animals. “For many years, Jim and I had always supported organizations that were important to us,” Leslys says. “And now, years later, I am able to do more. My charitable gifts are always in memory of him.”
“We are so appreciative of Leslys $100,000 matching gift,” says Doria Leong, Head of Philanthropic Gifts for GDB. “Her generous support means all donations to GDB will be matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000.”
Doria wanted to thank Leslys in person for her generosity, so she brought along Terri Sachs, a donor and puppy raiser who adopted career change dogs Wiffle and Moses. The dogs showered Leslys with attention and happily posed for photos.
Later, they wasted no time cooling off in Leslys’ pool. Much to everyone’s delight, Wiffle and Moses happily raced back and forth with balls in their mouths.
“With this generous donation, Leslys is not only honoring her beloved husband Jim, but is also helping GDB create exceptional partnerships between people, dogs, and communities,” notes Doria. “For those who contribute to this year-end match, you are supporting these life-changing initiatives as well.”