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    Valero Donates $500,000; Launches Shamrock Fundraiser

    The major oil company's 1,000 stores will participate in raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

    SAN ANTONIO -- Valero's Benicia Refinery recently distributed $516,000 raised during its benefit golf tournament to more than 25 area children's charities, the Times-Herald reported.

    Grants ranged from $12,000 to $50,000 and included the Vallejo Symphony; Fighting Back Partnership; California Maritime Academy (CMA); Benicia Community Arts; Benicia Education Fund; Benicia Public Library; Reach Out Benicia; Foster A Dream; Partners Encouraging Parks and Recreation, according to the report.

    "In this trying economy, we must come together even more to support others," Doug Comeau, Valero's vice president and general manager, told the paper.

    Jennifer Whitty, director of development at CMA, told the paper the money will be used for students who often slip through the cracks at the university's summer enrichment program.

    "We bring children from the inner city who are not the 'A' students, not the bad students, who often need the little additional help because they may be off the radar," Whitty said, noting the camp teaches the students engineering skills "as well as team-building skills and what they need to do to succeed and get into college."

    Meanwhile, the grant to the Vallejo Symphony will support mini-concerts for young people in area schools, said maestro David Ramadanoff. "We're grateful that Valero is making it possible for us to bring music to young people at a time of financial crisis in our country and in our community," he told the paper. "It's at times like this that the arts are needed more then every to give people hope, and to give young people exposure to music that could enrich the rest of their lives."

    In other Valero fundraising news, 1,000 of the company's convenience stores across the country will participate in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's (MDA) largest and longest running fundraising efforts, Shamrocks Against Dystrophy, the charity organization stated.

    From Feb. 15 to March 17, businesses across the nation will sell $1 and $5 paper shamrocks to raise funds.

    Now in its 26th year, the program has raised $191 million to support MDA programs. Since 1987, select Valero locations have participated and raised more than $12.5 million to benefit the MDA.

    "Shamrocks Against Dystrophy is a fun way for everyone to support MDA," Abbey Umali, national goodwill ambassador for the MDA, said in a statement. "The money raised is used for important programs, including my favorite, the MDA Summer Camp."

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