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San Diego’s Lucky Duck Foundation, a charitable group, has announced two $15,000 gifts to the Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation is dedicated to helping individuals with physical challenges participate in sports. The locally based group has provided over $30 million in funding since 1994 for specialized equipment and programs nationally and globally.

"We are humbled by this incredible gift from the Lucky Duck Foundation that will help us fund our mission to significantly enhance the lives of those with physical challenges by providing adaptive sports equipment, coaching, training and competition expenses – items typically not covered by insurance, yet they serve to increase self-esteem, encourage independence and provide a springboard to success in life," said Virginia Tinley, Executive Director of Challenged Athletes Foundation in a press release.

The grant to the Helen Woodward Animal Center will go toward funding the group’s Pet Encounter Therapy program, which brings animals to visit patients in hospitals and care facilities, children’s shelters, and senior centers. According to the group’s website, “[s]tudies document that holding and caressing an animal provides benefits such as relaxation, lower blood pressure, improved long- and short-term memory, and sensory stimuli.”

Lucky Duck has donated more than $2 million since its founding in 2005 by Pat and Stephanie Kilkenny. Most of the group’s funding is raised at its annual Swing & Soiree event, a golf tournament, cocktail reception, and auction. This year’s event will be held October 24 at the Santaluz Club in north San Diego.

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