Author: Paul Schroeder, April 8, 2020

Across the US, businesses, and agencies, and the communities and individuals they serve are struggling in countless ways to maintain well-being – physical, mental and economic. And, our political leaders are also struggling, with limited resources and levers to provide assistance and guidance. Recently enacted legislation has certainly helped and most agree that more action will be needed. In light of these unprecedented times, making our voices heard, on behalf of those we serve, those we employ and those we care for is more challenging than ever. Over the next several issues of Enews, we will try to keep you informed of developments and action needed regarding policy advocacy and provide resources here and on the website. Read on to see current threats to education, accessibility, and voting rights.

Threats to Education

As many are now aware, the recently enacted CARES Act included language directing the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, to report to Congress within 30 days to recommend any proposed waivers of rights and requirements outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. It is obvious that flexibility may be needed concerning direct services and even materials production and distribution during this period of closures. However, the strength of IDEA is its individualized planning and services which allows parents and schools TO WORK TOGETHER.

Congress would likely have to approve any requested waiver of requirements and rights under IDEA or 504, but Congress needs to hear from those of us who have the responsibility to defend opportunities and uphold the rights of individuals we serve and support. To follow this issue, we recommend that you check with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). In addition, VSA members ACB, AER, and AFB are also carefully monitoring this evolving situation and will doubtless have up-to-date information.

Protecting the Right to Vote

Likely many of you live in states that have delayed the political primary. As I write this, Wisconsin is going ahead with its primary election, despite serious concerns about the health of voters and staff at physical polling sites. Many states have increased mail-in or absentee voting for upcoming primaries (and other special elections). By next November, we may be again facing social distancing. Calls for increased mail-in voting will increase, and many in Congress have attempted to push legislation to provide support to states for this purpose. Without commenting on the politics of absentee voting, it is imperative that we make clear that individuals who are blind or low vision have the right to cast an independent and secure vote. ACB, and other advocacy organizations, are leading efforts to push Congress to ensure support for accessible absentee voting measures.

Let us know the policy issues on which you would like VSA or your colleagues to take action. And, we’ll be on the lookout for new legislative or regulatory efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to contact your elected members of Congress:

Contact Info for Your Senators is here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Contact Info for Your House Member is here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

And, contact Info for Your Governor is here: https://www.usa.gov/state-governor

Today VisionServe Alliance joins many other organizations and companies in a collaborative project to collect data and information about the experiences of adults who are blind or have low vision during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our goal is to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the lives of adults with visual impairments and to identify solutions for these challenges. Participants will have the opportunity to share their experiences in the following areas:

• Healthcare
• Transportation
• Employment
• Education
• Social experiences
• Access to meals, food, and supplies
• Voting

This survey is open to anyone over age 18 with a visual impairment in the United States.

To take the Survey, go to: www.FlattenInAccessibility.com

The survey is open until 8 am EST on April 13.

VSA is proud to join this effort to create a world with no limits—which means that people with visual impairments are not limited in our access to healthcare, information, education, online work environments, transportation, food and other supplies, or voting during the COVID-19 pandemic or at any other time. If we’re going to flatten the curve, we need to ensure everyone is included and has access to critical information and services.

We encourage you to participate in this survey and to forward on to your employees and constituents who are blind/have low vision. If you know of an adult who doesn’t have access to an online survey, reach out to help them in filling out the survey. We want all US adults with visual impairments to have a voice in how we can work together to flatten the inaccessibility curve.

Please share! Here is some language for a social media post:
Has the coronavirus left you without needed resources? Leaders in the field of blindness want to know how it has impacted you. We have joined together to create a survey that will better help now, and break down barriers in the future. Help us flatten the inaccessibility curve by taking the survey at bit.ly/fin-a11y #FlatteningInAccessiblity #A11y #TeamAccessibility

 

March 19, 2020 – VisionServe Alliance joined over 144 national nonprofit organizations calling for the federal government to pass a stimulus bill to support nonprofit organizations facing the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter, spearheaded by the National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector can be read HERE.

An excellent article providing good language for grassroots comments to your Senators and Representatives can be found in yesterday’s Nonprofit Quarterly. The National Council of Nonprofits is urging you to write your congresspersons and tell them how this crisis is affecting your organization, your employees and the people you serve.

Writing your senators and representatives is easy; just click those links and find your officeholders. The message is easy: “I want you to understand what this pandemic is doing to the ability of my nonprofit to serve your constituents.” Tell your story. Close with something like, “I urge you to include the policy solutions proposed by the nonprofit community in any COVID-19 relief and stimulus legislation.”

 

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) was signed by President Donald Trump on March 18. A congressional summary of H.R. 6201 can be found here.

The measure is the second emergency aid package that Congress approved amid the coronavirus outbreak. This legislation would provide affected individuals with paid sick and family leave and create tax credits for affected employers, expand food and nutrition services, allow for emergency state unemployment insurance grants, and increase Medicaid funding to states. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the package will cost $104 billion.

On March 6, Congress approved a $8.3 billion emergency aid package, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074), which increased funding for testing of the COVID-19 virus and lower costs for related medical treatments.

Here is a summary of the provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) that are relevant to nonprofit organizations.

 

“There is lots of work to be done, and together we can do it.”

181 leaders in the blindness and low vision field attended VisionServe’s Executive Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this past November. This figure sets a record high attendance for any of our conferences and included representatives from 75 VisionServe member organizations (61% of VisionServe’s total membership).

Attendees came to hear about the latest developments, participate in discussions, and network with other leaders in the field. Admittedly, some were initially both skeptical and curious about the new format for this year’s event which was held as an Open Space Technology meeting. But judging from attendees’ feedback, the unanimous response was that people felt tremendously engaged by the opportunity for their voice to be heard as opposed to being “talked to.”

a man and a woman having fun at the welcome reception“There needs to be greater focus on coming together with a unified message,” said one post-conference survey respondent. “This will help us with soliciting support from donors and legislators. We need to standardize services in the collection of information to show outcomes. We need more opportunities like this for the entire alphabet soup to come to the same table and discuss issues so we can move forward as one united front.”

Having a diverse blend of representatives (the ”alphabet soup”) from the multitude of organizations serving the blind and visually impaired brought a lot of excitement to the conference’s break-out discussions. Attendees included representatives from agencies providing direct services, dog guide schools, state agencies, schools for the Blind (including higher ed institutions that train future personnel), foundations funding initiatives in the field, and vendors specializing in technologies to improve everyday life for people living with blindness and low vision.

1 man talks into a microphone at a discussion groupFunding from The Gibney Family Foundation allowed leaders from an additional 15 non-member organizations to attend the conference. This was all part of VisionServe’s plan to ensure that all voices in our field would be represented.

Discussion topics were wide-ranging from public policy, distance learning, braille literacy, AT equipment, accreditation and certification, early intervention, employment opportunities and challenges, outcome measurement and service data collection, blinded veterans, nonprofit sustainability and transportation issues.

Magnifier display
A magnifier displayed in the exhibit hall at the ELC (photo credit: Candace Wheeler)

VisionServe Alliance was also featured in “A Closer Look with Rose Scott” on WABE, the local NPR affiliate, who interviewed several attendees about the using technology to improve their lives living with blindness and low vision. Sharon Giovinazzo, President of World Services for the Blind in Arkansas, modeled several pieces of technology to the radio show host, including: her OrCam MyEye device recognizing faces; an app on her phone audibly reading the text on a business card; and her digital braille reader.

Another session called “Tech Tools” featured hands-on demonstrations of the latest technology for people who are blind or visually impaired from Aira, OrCam and Vispero.

a woman trying a braille variable display
Neva Fairchild tries a braille variable display tool during Sunday’s Tech Tools session

Some attendees noted that they were surprised to connect with leaders from other states dealing with similar problems. And they took things a step further, coming up with key action items and contacts at other agencies willing to work with them on these issues. “The key is solidarity on all issues. Nationally we are all dealing with the same problems,” remarked one participant.

two dog guides sniffing noses
Everyone (Dog Guides too) enjoyed making new friends!

Thank you to everyone who came to this “tremendous opportunity to network and learn on a professional and personal level.”

November 3 – 6, 2019 at the Georgian Terrace in Atlanta, GA 

St. Louis, Missouri – September, 2019 – Over 220 national leaders will convene in Atlanta, Georgia this fall for discussions on the future of providing services to people who are blind or have low vision. With more than 26.9 million[1] American adults in the US and 226 million[2] more around the world living with blindness and low vision, and  thousands more projected to join these ranks, this is an important national issue.

Event organizer VisionServe Alliance, an association for leaders of nonprofit agencies across the country and Canada, holds its conferences in various U.S. cities twice a year. This year’s Executive Leadership Conference in Atlanta will use some pretty amazing technological adaptions as part of its meeting to ensure the content is accessible to ALL attendees, regardless of their level of sight.

With an average of 15 percent of its meeting attendees themselves being blind or having low vision, VisionServe Alliance is used to employing standard accommodations to make its meetings accessible, like offering its materials digitally or in Braille, and offering tips and training on-site hospitality staff and featured speakers. But this year’s conference presents additional accessibility challenges because the meeting will employ a format called Open Space Technology, which allows participants to set their own discussion topics and attend multiple break out sessions throughout the day. While it’s exciting for the attendees to have control over the agenda, a flexible format presents challenges for visually impaired attendees to fully participate in the activities.

“Open Space creates the possibility for amazing deep dive conversations about the challenges that face our field and the opportunities to innovate our practice,” says David Morgan, President & CEO Future In Sight in Concord, N.H., who is co-facilitating the event.

VSA plans to provide conference attendees access to additional resources from companies on the forefront of vision technology: OrCam’s MyEye, a tiny camera device that fits on the of a pair of eyeglasses and can read aloud any printed material; Aira’s  Horizon Kit including their Smart Glasses that transmit the wearer’s images to a representative who then offers assistance in real time to navigate buildings, streets, airports, stores, etc.; and Vispero’s popular screen reading software called JAWS that allows blind and visually impaired users to navigate the world wide web using audible descriptions of menus and images. Many other companies will be on hand exhibiting and demonstrating the latest tools for accessibility to people who are blind and visually impaired. Volunteers from local vision rehabilitation agency, the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta will also be on-site to provide assistance.

“We want this year’s conference to provide learning exchanges to engage a wider array of current and emerging leaders across sectors, disciplines, demographics, and industry segments including education, rehabilitation, employment, medical, technology and social services for people of all ages,” says President and CEO of VisionServe Alliance, Lee Nasehi. “We are also proud to have the support of other national organizations in the field behind this year’s event.” Co-Hosts of the VisionServe Alliance Executive Leadership Conference include ACB (American Council of the Blind)ACVREP (Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals), AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired), AFB (American Foundation for the Blind), APH (American Printing House f/t Blind), BVA (Blinded Veterans Association), COSB (Council of Schools and Services for the Blind) CVI Atlanta (Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired – Atlanta), NAEPB (National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind)NIB (National Industries for the Blind)NOAH (National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation) , NRTC (National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision), Prevent Blindness, and USABA (United States Association of Blind Athletes).

Kathleen Zeider, President/CEO of ACVREP notes that, “VisionServe Alliance is uniquely positioned to convene this important summit in our field. We are excited that it will refine the collective focus and strengthen the collaboration in our field resulting in a greater impact for those we serve.”

Mike McGowan, Executive Director of NOAH, said his organization, “enthusiastically supports the efforts of VisionServe Alliance to gather the field together to discover ways to build a better world for people who are blind or have low vision. There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together.”

Participants at the VSA Executive Leadership Conference will ask, discuss, and suggest solutions to the biggest challenges in the field of blindness & low vision such as:

  • What can be done to assure access to all digital information including government websites, applications and voting processes?
  • Are public and private education resources meeting the needs of students?
  • What are the emerging challenges and solutions in employment?
  • How can we significantly enhance the resources for training and support for seniors?
  • How can we improve care for our veterans through partnerships with the private sector?

Co-facilitators include David Morgan, President & CEO of Future In Sight, Lee Nasehi, President & CEO of VisionServe Alliance, and John Mitchell, President/CEO of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Board Chair of VisionServe Alliance.

For more information and to register, go to www.visionserveallinace.org/conferences/

About VisionServe Alliance:

VisionServe Alliance is a consortium of Executive Directors/CEOs of 501(c)(3) nonprofits throughout the United States that provide unique and specialized services to people who are blind or with severe vision loss. We bring together the full diversity of services for one conversation with the ultimate goal of unifying the many issues and organizations operating independently of one another in the field. Members include organizations focusing on national advocacy and/or service issues, employment and manufacturing, adult vision rehabilitation, K-12 residential and on-line schools, early intervention and pre-school, dog guides, low vision clinics, and Braille production. Collaborative projects, national trends, stronger management and leadership, and advocacy issues have been born from these conversations and activities including the formation of the Aging and Vision Loss National Coalition, a consortium of leaders comprised from 19 national, state, local, private and public agencies with the goal of advocating for equal access and quality of life for older Americans with vision loss.

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[1] According to the American Foundation for the Blind. See https://www.afb.org/research-and-initiatives/statistics/adults

[2] According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. See https://www.iapb.org/advocacy/world-sight-day/

St. Louis, Missouri – August 7, 2019 – VisionServe Alliance announces it is spearheading the new Aging & Vision Loss National Coalition to tackle critical issues related to older people experiencing impaired sight as the result of age-related eye diseases. The coalition is comprised of 15 national, state, local, private and public agencies representing broad constituencies who will advocate for equal access and quality of life for older Americans with vision loss.

Age-related vision loss is reaching epidemic proportions as baby boomers attain advanced age. Currently, there are 25.5 million adults experiencing age-related diseases impairing vision (National Health Interview Survey, 2016). From 2015 to 2050, the number of adults ages 40+ who are blind is expected to double (Varma, et al, 2016).

Informed by nationwide structured conversations with older people with vision loss and the expertise of the Coalition members, many with over 40 years of experience in the field, the Aging & Vision Loss National Coalition will begin their work by focusing on three key priorities:

  1. Awareness: Increasing awareness among the general public, professionals and especially seniors themselves and their families of the issues faced by older people with vision loss and the significant impact of professional vision rehabilitation services on sustaining their independence and dignity. 
  2. Funding: Enhancing funding for vision rehabilitation services including education, training, assistive devices, and technologies for older people with vision loss.
  3. Expanding Personnel: Expanding the pool of qualified professional vision impairment specialists, through support for university programs and incentives for healthcare students to consider this specialtyand providing broad training for allied health personnel.

The Coalition believes that improving public understanding of low vision and blindness is crucial, starting with older individuals themselves and including policy makers, family members, and service providers. Only through taking this fundamental step can we ensure equal access and promote the highest possible quality of life for older people with vision loss.

Among the Coalition members is the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), which is handing off the 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss to the Coalition. The Coalition will steward this important work initiated by AFB, created to raise awareness, facilitate increased and improved services, and protect and promote the rights of seniors with vision loss to lives of enjoyment, inclusion, and independence.

With appropriate vision rehabilitation services and specific supports, older people with vision loss can age in place in their communities rather than moving into an institution. Vision rehabilitation reduces the hours needed of in-home care; reduces or prevents falls, accidents, and burns; improves communication reducing social isolation; and teaches safe navigation, increasing physical movement and mobility. Yet, less than 3% of older people with vision loss are receiving the services that promote independent living in their home or living option, community and family engagement, and improved quality of life.

The Coalition is issuing a Call to Action and invites interested individuals and organizations to join the work. Make the year 2020 the turning point for access to services older Americans with vision loss require to live independently and be active members of their community and families.

VisionServe Alliance is an association of chief executives (and their leadership teams) of 501(c)(3) nonprofits throughout the United States that provide unique and specialized services to people who are blind or have low vision. We bring together the full diversity of services for one conversation with the ultimate goal of unifying the many issues and organizations operating independently of one another in the field. Members include organizations focusing on national advocacy and/or service issues, employment and manufacturing, adult vision rehabilitation, K-12 residential and on-line schools, early intervention and pre-school, dog guides, low vision clinics, and Braille production. We focus on collaborative projects, national trends, stronger management and leadership, and advocacy issues important to the field. For information visit our website at: www.visionservealliance.org or email us at info@visionservealliance.org

AVLNC Represented Organizations:

  • Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation & Education Professionals (ACVREP)
  • American Council of the Blind (ACB)
  • American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
  • Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER)
  • Florida Agencies Serving the Blind
  • Helen Keller National Center
  • The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute
  • Mississippi State University OIB-TAC
  • National Council of State Agencies for the Blind
  • National Council on Aging (NCOA)
  • NewView Oklahoma
  • Prevent Blindness
  • VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • VisionServe Alliance
  • Independent Advocates

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St. Louis, Missouri—February 20, 2019 – VisionServe Alliance has launched a pilot program of its new web-based patient referral system known as “VisionRefer!” The web-based referral system will help make referrals of low vision patients by their doctors to vision rehabilitation centers nationwide easy, fast, and HIPAA compliant. The goal is to make VisionRefer! available to every ophthalmologist in the country by year end and to increase referrals to VisionServe members.

Developed with seed money from the Gibney Family Foundation and in partnership with the tech team at Lighthouse Works (a subsidiary of Lighthouse Central Florida in Orlando, Florida) the VisionRefer! pilot programs have begun in three states: Florida, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. Florida began its pilot in October, 2018, and Oklahoma and New Hampshire pilots will launch in March at NewView Oklahoma and Future In Sight in New Hampshire to test the efficacy and impact of state-wide single provider systems. It is projected that a nationwide roll out will begin in late summer.

The supervising agency of the twelve-month pilot program of VisionRefer! in Florida is the Florida Agencies Serving the Blind (Florida ASB), where they have begun introducing VisionRefer! to ophthalmologists statewide. Referrals are already successfully being received, beginning with an initial referral made by an ophthalmologist and sent to the Manasota Lighthouse on January 11, 2019.

“VisionRefer! is a 21st-century solution that will allow physicians to easily and quickly refer patients of all ages for vision rehabilitation services,” notes Roxann Mayros, the President of VisionServe Alliance who came up with the idea of VisionRefer!  “I am excited to see the pilot project already generating referrals, just like we knew it would.”

Florida ASB and 17 other Florida VisionServe member agencies received additional funding support for the pilot project from Florida Division of Blind Services to create marketing materials such as a tear- off flyer, a door hanger and print ads. Additional marketing support is being provided by the Florida Society of Ophthalmologists and their partner, Eschenbach Optik, who will begin traveling statewide introducing VisionRefer! to ophthalmologists.

“We hope that this pilot project will share the benefits of vision rehabilitation services to patients and their practices and dispel myths about our professions and fears that patients will be diverted from their care,” says Dr. Elly du Pre, Executive Director of Florida ASB. “Our goal is to make adoption of VisionRefer! easy by helping them put VisionRefer! on their desktops and provide handouts to give to their patients.”

Originally founded in 1987 as the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI) and renamed in 2008, VisionServe Alliance is a consortium of 118 nonprofits located throughout the United States and Canada that provide unique and specialized services to people who are blind or with severe vision loss. Members include organizations focusing on national advocacy and/or service issues, employment and manufacturing, adult vision rehabilitation, K-12 residential and on-line schools, early intervention and pre-school, dog guides, low vision clinics, and braille production. Members engage regional and national leaders in building a better world through services to people with vision loss by promoting leadership development, ethical management, quality services, and professional growth.

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St. Louis, Missouri – June 19, 2018  –  In partnership with the National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB), VisionServe Alliance announces that the results of the 5th Biennial Compensation & Benefits Survey are now available to all participating members. This survey is the only comprehensive survey performed in the field for vision rehabilitation professionals, manufacturing positions, and executives.

The Compensation & Benefits Survey was created in response to numerous requests for comparative salary information specifically about organizations “of and for” the blind and visually impaired. Completed during even calendar years, this year’s survey collected data from a record 93 member agencies of NIB, NAEPB and VisionServe Alliance. Online responses were submitted and held in the survey database and reviewed only by the survey consultant.

Participation in the Compensation and Benefits Survey helps organizations to: set fair salaries and benefits to attract and retain the best employees; evaluate industry standards for compensation for a range of positions; analyze each agency’s own jobs and compensation; compare agency salaries and benefits with others in the blind and visual impairment industry; and document each agency organization’s rationale for setting executive salaries, as now required by the IRS form 990.

Results are currently being sent without cost to all participating agencies. These results are reported in the aggregate so that no survey information can be traced to any particular organization. Data published in each recipient’s copy of the final report will be customized to labor statistics in the recipient’s geographic location.

Members of VisionServe Alliance, NIB or NAEPB who did not answer the survey, may purchase a report specific to local labor statistics for $250 by contacting Lindsay Lutz at VisionServe Alliance, at (314) 961-8235 or by emailing llutz@visionservealliance.org. Nonmembers may purchase an individualized report for $500.

Originally founded in 1987 as the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI) and renamed in 2008, VisionServe Alliance is a consortium of 112 nonprofits located throughout the United States and Canada that provide unique and specialized services to people who are blind or with severe vision loss.  Members include organizations focusing on national advocacy and/or service issues, employment and manufacturing, adult vision rehabilitation, K-12 residential and on-line schools, early intervention and pre-school, dog guides, low vision clinics, and braille production.  Our members engage leaders in building a better world through services to people with vision loss by promoting leadership development, ethical management, quality services, and professional growth.

The Compensation and Benefits Survey is just one of many benefits of being a member of VisionServe Alliance.  To learn more about our member benefits and how to join VisionServe Alliance, visit www.visionservealliance.org/why-join-vsa/

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St. Louis, Missouri – February 5, 2018 – Roxann Mayros, the first CEO and President of VisionServe Alliance, has announced that she will retire from her position effective December 31, 2018.

VisionServe Alliance’s Chairman of the Board, Mark Ackermann, remarked on Mayros’s strong leadership saying, “It is fair to say, without any hyperbole, that VisionServe Alliance would not be anywhere near the organization it is today, were it not for Roxann’s dedication, intellect, and professionalism.”

VisionServe Alliance was founded in 1987 as the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (NCPABVI) and is a consortium of Executive Directors/CEOs of 501(c)(3) nonprofits throughout the United States that provide unique and specialized services to people who are blind or with severe vision loss. Members include organizations focusing on national advocacy and/or service issues, employment and manufacturing, adult vision rehabilitation, K-12 residential and on-line schools, early intervention and pre-school, dog guides, low vision clinics, and braille production.

VisionServe Alliance was volunteer-driven until 2005, when Mayros was hired to become its first President and CEO. Prior to joining NCPABVI, Mayros was the Executive Director/CEO of three major vision rehabilitation agencies serving clients of all ages and served in leadership roles on several national boards of directors and advisory councils that focus on vision loss.

Mayros spearheaded important leadership in and advocacy for the field of vision impairment. Several highlights of her achievements at VisionServe Alliance include:
• In 2006, NCPABVI merged with the National Vision Rehabilitation Association and became the pre-eminent leader in promoting Medicare reimbursement for certified vision rehabilitation professionals, i.e., Low Vision Therapists, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapists.
• In 2007, NCPABVI engaged in a re-branding process which resulted in NCPABVI changing its name to VisionServe Alliance to better represent the commonality amongst its diverse membership – an alliance of organizations providing vision rehabilitation related services.
• In 2012, VisionServe Alliance celebrated its 25th Anniversary, received the “Chairman’s Award” from First Nonprofit Insurance Company for 25 years of accomplishments, and received its first matching grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Gibney Family Foundation of South Burlington, Vermont and First Nonprofit Foundation of Chicago, Illinois to expand the vision rehabilitation workforce.

The Board of Directors has formed a search committee, chaired by Mr. Ackermann, to find a suitable successor and plans to name the new CEO of VisionServe by the late fall. If interested, please send your inquiry and resume/CV to mackermann@lighthouseguild.org

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Colleagues,
Each year, VisionServe Alliance and National Industries for the Blind (NIB)—in partnership with the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB)—host national events bringing together leaders among organizations serving people who are blind.

You may have noticed that the 2018 VisionServe Annual Executive Leadership Conference and the NIB/NAEPB Training Conference and Expo overlapped slightly. After discovering this scheduling conflict, VisionServe and NIB coordinated on a solution to allow our respective members the opportunity to attend both events comfortably.

The VisionServe Annual Executive Leadership Conference has been rescheduled to October 28-31, 2018. The location will remain in Portland, Oregon.

The date for the NIB/NAEPB Training Conference and Expo will not change. The event is still scheduled for the week of November 12, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia.

VisionServe and NIB have enjoyed a decades-long partnership to help improve the lives of those with vision loss. We’re confident this shift in date will allow both organizations to better serve our stakeholders, and we look forward to delivering productive events in 2018.

For questions about the VisionServe Annual Executive Leadership Conference, email info@visionservealliance.org. For questions about the NIB/NAEPB Training Conference and Expo, email conferences@nib.org.

Thank you for your patience and understanding,

Roxann Mayros, MS, CNPM
President and CEO
VisionServe Alliance

Kevin Lynch
President and CEO
NIB

March 28, 2017, St. Louis, Missouri

VisionServe Alliance is celebrating 30 years of incorporation in 2017. Originally named the National Council of Private Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (more commonly known as NCPABVI), the non-profit was incorporated in Washington D.C. in 1987. The original founders were a group of eight executive leaders who met July 17, 1979 in Oklahoma City motivated by the desire to “form an organization to speak for the interests of the private sector.”

Joe Ripp photoWatch Video of Keynote Address by Joseph A. Ripp, Executive Chairman, Time, Inc.

Joseph A. Ripp, Executive Chairman of Time, Inc., gave the keynote address at our 2nd Annual CEO Summit  May 7 – 10 in Charleston, S.C. titled “Transformational Leadership in the Digital Age.” Watch his presentation by clicking HERE.