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New York Gap Employee Wins Global Founders’ Award For Dedication To Community Service


$50,000 Grant to Go to Constantina Petallides-Markou’s Work with Abilities, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO (September 21, 2006) – Gap Inc. will award Constantina Petallides-Markou, a Gap associate store manager in Bayside, N.Y., with a $50,000 grant and 80 hours of paid time off in recognition of her community service as the winner of the second annual Founders’ Award. Constantina –Tina to her friends – will be honored for her community service work with Abilities, Inc., a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities transition into the workforce. The grant and paid time off will be used to modernize Abilities, Inc.’s mock retail store where youths and adults with disabilities learn key retail skills to gain successful employment.

“I grew up with many friends and family members who had disabilities, and I witnessed firsthand the struggles they faced when looking for a job,” said Tina. “The training at the mock store provides real world experience that helps people to find solid, meaningful jobs and enables them to excel in these positions.”

Tina, a 17-year Gap employee, was one of more than 100 Gap Inc. employees from nine countries in the running for the company’s annual Founders’ Award.

Tina plans to add new merchandise, update the check-out area and create a more realistic retail atmosphere for the mock store at Abilities, Inc. Additionally, Tina is creating a job-shadowing program at her Gap store location in Bayside. She will also continue holding seminars for Abilities, Inc. students on interviewing, networking and resume writing to help students return to the workforce and make a good first impression.

“In the past, persons with disabilities were at a disadvantage to their non-disabled peers when it came to workplace hiring,” stated Francine Tishman, president and chief operating officer of Abilities, Inc. “Now, thanks to Tina’s commitment and this award from Gap Inc., we will be able to provide our students with a state-of-the-art retail employment training facility.”

Tina first connected with Abilities, Inc. five years ago at an Americans with Disabilities Act conference, and has volunteered with them ever since. As a hiring associate manager at a Gap store, Tina understands the importance of customer service and merchandising training and wanted to share her expertise with Abilities, Inc. participants.

“We encourage our employees to dedicate themselves to causes that are meaningful to them,” said Bobbi Silten, chief foundation officer of Gap Inc. “Tina took her retail experience and found a way to improve the lives of people with disabilities in her community, so we’re proud to honor her with the 2006 Founders’ Award.”

The Founders’ Award was established in honor of the philanthropic example of Gap Inc.’s founders, Doris and Don Fisher. Last year’s award was granted to Sarah Heitkamp, a Gap store manager in Grand Forks, N. D., who created a program that provides travel, lodging and nutritional assistance to cancer patients who travel to the Altru Cancer Center.


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