Society for the Blind Receives $10K from Golden 1

Society for the Blind recently received $10,000 from Golden 1 Credit Union to provide Braille literacy for children in Sacramento and across Northern California who are blind or have vision loss.

“Today, less than 10 percent of children with vision loss are literate,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “They are not learning Braille and are unable to read, write and comprehend. By third grade they are significantly behind their sighted peers, and 50 percent of high school students who are blind drop out before graduating. Literacy is key to improving academic outcomes and pointing these children toward college and careers. We are grateful to Golden 1 Credit Union for helping us fill this gap so children with vision loss can be successful and independent when they grow up.”

The grant will allow Society for the Blind to provide Braille literacy classes, instruction materials and training in assistive devices for up to 100 new children who are blind or have low vision in elementary through high schools across the region. Through Society for the Blind’s After-School Academy for children from first grade through high school, students will learn Grade 1 Braille, including the alphabet, spelling, numbers, reading and writing. Middle and high school students who pass Grade 1 Braille will learn Grade 2 Braille, which includes shortened or contracted words as well as the Nemeth Code-Braille for math and science. Students also will receive subject-based tutoring based on an initial assessment upon entering the program.

“As we continue to learn more about the short- and long-term educational impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our vulnerable populations, we know it is especially important to provide support to organizations that enrich the minds of future generations,” said Erica Taylor, vice president of communications and community relations. “Golden 1 is inspired by the mission of Society for the Blind, and we are honored to help them continue to serve their community.”

For 67 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of Northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for nearly 6,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to donate, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

The Golden 1 Credit Union Community Grant Program funds nonprofits serving communities in the Sacramento and Central valleys that are working to address children’s literacy and transition-age foster youth. In 2021, the program awarded grants to 33 nonprofits in California.  For more information, visit Golden1.com.

Society for the Blind Receives $10K from Maximus Foundation

The Maximus Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant to Society for the Blind in Sacramento for its Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older with alternative, non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform day-to-day tasks and activities so they can stay independent.

“This year has been difficult for everyone, but for seniors losing their vision, it has been especially challenging,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “We are grateful to Maximus for recognizing how critical our services are for seniors who are losing their vision and want to stay independent. We are now providing safe, socially distant training so our community’s seniors can continue to live life to the fullest.”

Society for the Blind’s Senior IMPACT Project includes an eight-day retreat offered monthly that gives seniors an immersion experience where they learn alternative techniques and skills to travel, cook, clean, shop, maintain their home, conduct their personal finances and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join in discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities.

“During these extraordinary times, many organizations have stepped up to continue to be cornerstones of the community,” said John Boyer, Maximus Foundation chairman. “Not only is Society for the Blind providing essential services, but through their programming and leadership, they uplift the most vulnerable members of the community during particularly challenging and important times. Society for the Blind supports people, addresses their needs, and helps them keep reaching their goals and aspirations. With this award, we recognize Society for the Blind for their critical role in building a foundation of strength and support within our community despite the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For 66 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to donate, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Since 1975, Maximus has operated under its founding mission of Helping Government Serve the People®, enabling citizens around the globe to successfully engage with their governments at all levels and across a variety of health and human services programs. Maximus delivers innovative business process management and technology solutions that contribute to improved outcomes for citizens and higher levels of productivity, accuracy, accountability and efficiency of government-sponsored programs. As the philanthropic arm of Maximus, the foundation extends the mission of the company by identifying and awarding grants to partners with specialized expertise to deliver results within the same populations and communities served by the public programs the company operates. The Maximus Foundation is completely funded by Maximus and its employees, and provides grants to local community organizations with programs and projects in the areas of child and youth development, health and community development. For more information, visit Maximus.com.

Society for the Blind receives $25K from M&M Whitmire Foundation

Society for the Blind recently received $25,000 from M&M Whitmire Family Foundation in Granite Bay to provide classes and training for seniors with vision loss and blindness. The grant will fund the group’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older with alternative, non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform day-to-day tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase independence.

 “Our Senior IMPACT Project is life-changing for the growing number of seniors in the Sacramento region who find themselves losing their vision and are unsure of how to continue living independently,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “Increasingly, more seniors are still working and need to learn how to do their jobs using non-visual techniques. Thanks to this funding from the M&M Whitmire Family Foundation, hundreds of seniors with vision loss can live life to the fullest.”

The Senior IMPACT Project includes an eight-day retreat offered monthly at Society for the Blind that gives seniors an immersion experience where they learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice alternative techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join in discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities. For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources. The Senior IMPACT Project includes monthly peer support groups for English and Spanish speakers and workshops throughout the year.

“On behalf of the M&M Whitmire Family Foundation, I would like to thank Society for the Blind for letting our foundation be a part of such a great organization,” said Jessika Cano, director of senior outreach at the foundation. “Blindness comes in various degrees and knows no discrimination. It is something that all can experience in some degree, and something we can adapt to and still have productive and great lives. Society for the Blind makes this possible by having amazing programs and a wide range of tools with great employees and volunteers willing to teach. Thanks again to Society for the Blind for continuing their support and care within our community now and in the years to come.”

For 66 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for nearly 6,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

M&M Whitmire Family Foundation’s mission is to assist children in need and senior care within the Sacramento area.

Society for the Blind Celebrates Grand Opening of Annex

More than 130 guests celebrated the grand opening of Society for the Blind’s Carl R. Otto Annex earlier this month, an expansion of the nonprofit’s facility in Midtown that now includes a training center, senior teaching kitchen and dedicated music room. The event included performances by the music program, ribbon cutting, champagne toast and speeches by Vice Mayor Jeff Harris, Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen and California Department of Rehabilitation Director, Joe Xavier.

The annex is named after Carl Otto of Otto Construction, who passed away in 2007 and served on Society for the Blind’s board of directors. Otto led the initial campaign to renovate the building, and his company, Otto Construction, played a key role. His daughter, Allison Otto, is past president and current secretary of Society for the Blind’s board of directors and co-chaired the group’s Vision 2020 campaign to expand services for the more than 100,000 people with vision loss living in the greater Sacramento region. The campaign raised $4.5 million to complete the annex, serve the growing number of seniors in need of services to stay independent, empower clients through education and training, create an endowment, expand the onsite Low Vision Clinic and upgrade technology.

“We are grateful to the many people in the Sacramento region who contributed to the Vision 2020 campaign and are making it possible for the growing number of people living with vision loss to access our services, workshops and events,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “The Otto Annex will increase our ability to serve more people who need to learn blindness skills and who are looking for fun social events with other people experiencing vision loss.”

For 66 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for nearly 6,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Society for the Blind Receives $30K Grant From Ability Central

Ability Central recently awarded Society for the Blind in Sacramento a $30,000 capacity building grant to create a leadership program for staff. Of the first seven staff members to be trained for management roles, six are visually impaired.

“Cultivating our employees’ leadership skills and moving them into managerial positions at Society for the Blind is our mission in action,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “Having leadership and staff that reflect the people we serve will position us even better to be the provider of choice for people with vision loss.”

With several long-time employees nearing retirement, the organization is working to cultivate leadership from within. The grant from Ability Central will allow Society for the Blind to conduct an assessment, generate a strategic plan and create an accessible leadership program over the next year.

“Ability Central is excited to support Society for the Blind’s leadership and capacity building efforts,” said Silke Brendel-Evan, associate program officer, Ability Central. “We are impressed by Society for the Blind’s inclusive practices – emphasizing the importance of stakeholder input and empowering individuals with vision impairments to become leaders – and the overall thoughtful planning for sustainable leadership development.”

For 66 years, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Ability Central works to improve communications access for people with disabilities. Formerly known as Disability Communications Fund, Ability Central awards grants to community-based nonprofit or educational organizations in California that establish projects and programs to benefit the communication needs of Californians of all ages with disabilities. For more information, visit DCFund.us.

Society for the Blind Receives $20K from Wells Fargo for Seniors

Wells Fargo recently awarded Society for the Blind in Sacramento a $20,000 grant to provide education, training and assistive devices to 500 Sacramento-area seniors who are blind or have low vision. The funding will support the group’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older who have vision loss with alternative non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform daily tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase independence.

“With Sacramento’s rapidly growing senior population, requests for our services are higher than ever,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “Thanks to Wells Fargo’s generous funding, we can provide even more seniors who are blind or have low vision with the support they need to age safely, preserve their independence and connect with their community.”

Society for the Blind is the sole provider of comprehensive rehabilitative services for people who are blind or have low vision throughout 27 counties in northern California. The group’s Senior IMPACT Project includes a monthly eight-day retreat that gives seniors an immersion experience to learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice alternative techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities.

For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources. The project also includes monthly peer support groups for English and Spanish speakers and workshops throughout the year. The project recently expanded services to the Asian community, offering a monthly support group for Asian language speakers.

“As our loved ones age, one of the highest priorities is to ensure they can navigate the world around them with dignity, even if they experience declines in health or mental and physical agility,” said Kären Woodruff, community relations associate manager, Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to continue support for Society for the Blind’s Senior IMPACT Project, which provides tools for seniors facing changes in their vision or vision loss, allowing them to remain self-sufficient and independent into their golden years.”

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

The Wells Fargo Foundation is the company’s primary philanthropic funding arm. As part of Wells Fargo’s long legacy of investing in community impact, the company has increased its philanthropic giving 25 times over the past 28 years. In 2018, Wells Fargo reached a new milestone of donating $444 million to directly benefit nearly 11,000 nonprofit organizations. To learn more, visit WellsFargo.com.

Society for the Blind Receives Grant to Expand Literacy for Kids

The ECMC Foundation’s GO! Program recently awarded Society for the Blind in Sacramento a $25,000 grant to expand its academic program for children who are blind or have low vision and increase their educational outcomes. Grant funding will help Society for the Blind provide Braille literacy classes, an After-School Academy and accessible STEM workshops through its CareersPLUS Youth Program that works to combat the 70 percent unemployment rate for people who are blind. The grant will help expand the program’s reach beyond high school to elementary and middle school students.

“Society for the Blind is truly grateful for this grant funding from ECMC Foundation,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “Literacy is vital to improving the academic futures of visually impaired children, yet today less than 10 percent of children with vision loss are literate, meaning the majority cannot read, write or comprehend. This grant funding provides necessary programs to help kids succeed in school, college and career, and it helps us reach kids even earlier.”

More than half of high school students who are blind drop out before graduating, and without access to Braille education, they cannot read or communicate effectively, Roeseler said. Through literacy classes, assistive technology such as screen readers and video magnifiers, and accessible STEM workshops, Society for the Blind is improving academic outcomes for children and ensuring they can access the information they need to succeed, starting in elementary school.

Brenda Anderson, an employee from Mather-based ECMC, nominated Society for the Blind for the grant provided through ECMC’s affiliated organization ECMC Foundation.

“I am thrilled that Society for the Blind will be receiving this grant,” Anderson said. “Knowing that the dollars will be used to help students receive the specialized tutoring and Braille skills development they need so that they can continue to be educated and succeed is amazing.”

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes – especially among underserved populations – through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas – college success and career readiness – and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. For more information, visit ECMCFoundation.org.

Lions Donate $150,000 to Society for the Blind

Society for the Blind recently received a Vision 2020 campaign donation of $150,000 from the Northern California Lions Sight Association (NCLSA) and the Lions Clubs International (LCIF) to support the expansion of the group’s Low Vision Clinic and training space for people who are blind or have low vision. NCLSA donated $75,000 to purchase equipment and vision testing devices for the clinic and secured an additional matching grant of $75,000 from LCIF to add an indoor orientation and mobility course.

“Lions Clubs across the world have a long history of supporting organizations that help people with vision loss, so we are deeply honored that the Lions chose to invest in Society for the Blind here in Sacramento,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “As the only comprehensive vision rehabilitation center in the Sacramento region, Society for the Blind is a critical resource for people who are blind or have low vision. The generosity of the regional and international Lions means that more people across California who are experiencing vision loss will have access to critical assessment and treatment.”

Society for the Blind’s Low Vision Clinic is one of the longest running community-based clinics in the region. The Low Vision Clinic provides care, vision rehabilitation, low vision devices and transportation assistance to more than 375 people each year. Clinics are staffed by three optometrists with special training in low vision eye care and serve patients with cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other congenital and degenerative eye diseases. Clinic staff includes a vision rehabilitation therapist who works with patients with some functional vision, teaching them techniques to use their remaining vision safely and effectively and providing training on assistive devices.

“It’s in our Lions Club DNA to help organizations like Society for the Blind,” said Douglas Wight, governor, Lions District 4-C5. “Across the world, we work to bring greater stability and independence to people with vision loss by providing services and supporting organizations that do this work.” 

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Lions Clubs International is the largest service organization in the world with more than 1.4 million members. The organization’s mission is to support the efforts of Lions clubs and partners in serving communities locally and globally, giving hope and impacting lives through humanitarian service projects and grants. For more information, visit LionsClubs.org.

Society for the Blind Breaks Ground on New Training Center

More than 70 guests attended the groundbreaking celebration of Society for the Blind’s new training center – an expansion of the Sacramento nonprofit’s current facility that also will include a teaching kitchen for seniors and a dedicated room for the music program. The April 8 event included refreshments, a program and a wall smashing ceremony.

“Monday night was the culmination of years of work as we raised funds to begin the final build-out of our training center, teaching kitchen and music room,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “We are extraordinarily grateful to all of our donors who have helped this dream come to fruition, and we are excited to provide this additional space for training to empower people with vision loss to live their lives to the fullest.”

The expansion is part of Society for the Blind’s Vision 2020 campaign. There are more than 100,000 people with vision loss in the greater Sacramento region, but Society for the Blind is working at capacity serving more than 5,000 children, working-age adults and seniors each year. The campaign has raised more than $3.5 million to serve the growing number of seniors in need of services to stay independent, empower all clients through education and training, create an endowment, expand the onsite Low Vision Clinic, upgrade technology and complete the training center.         

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

Society for the Blind Receives $25K From Whitmire Family Foundation

Society for the Blind recently received $25,000 from M&M Whitmire Family Foundation in Roseville to provide classes and training for seniors with vision loss and blindness. The grant will fund the group’s Senior IMPACT Project that empowers people age 55 and older with alternative, non-visual techniques and skills that enable them to perform day-to-day tasks and activities so they can maintain or increase independence.

“One out of four seniors in Sacramento is struggling financially, and most seniors in California do not have retirement accounts,” said Shari Roeseler, executive director, Society for the Blind. “As this rapidly growing population begins to lose their vision, programs like the Senior IMPACT Project can help these seniors achieve their goals and gain skills that allow them to stay independent. Thanks to this vital funding from M&M Whitmire Family Foundation, hundreds of seniors with vision loss can enjoy life to the fullest.”

The Senior IMPACT Project includes an eight-day retreat offered monthly at Society for the Blind that gives seniors an immersion experience where they learn alternative techniques and skills to travel safely, efficiently and independently. They practice alternative techniques and use adapted tools to perform tasks of daily living including cooking, cleaning, shopping, home maintenance, organization, personal finance and more. They learn how to use the latest in assistive technology to operate computers and mobile devices for home, school and work, and they learn Braille. Participants receive individualized attention from instructors and mentors who are blind or low vision, and they have the opportunity to join in discussion groups with peers on issues around vision loss and participate in community activities. For those unable to attend retreats, Society for the Blind sends instructors to their homes to teach skills and offer resources. The Senior IMPACT Project includes monthly peer support groups for English and Spanish speakers and workshops throughout the year.

“We are extremely honored to work with Society for the Blind on the ongoing support, programs and tools they provide to individuals and families with a wide variety of vision impairments,” said Jessika Cano, director of senior outreach, M&M Whitmire Family Foundation. “The Senior IMPACT Project is such a unique program that is much needed in our community, so we are humbled to be able to donate to such a program. Individuals with little to no vision have so much to offer our community and we are so glad that Society for the Blind is here locally to facilitate such training and support for individuals to maintain their independence and have their families keep flourishing in our community.” 

Celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, Society for the Blind has created innovative ways to empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Society for the Blind has grown from a dedicated group of volunteers to a nationally recognized agency and the only comprehensive rehabilitative teaching center that provides services for a 27-county region of northern California. The nonprofit provides low-vision eye care, life and job skills training, mentorship, and access to tools to maintain independence for more than 5,000 youth, working-age adults and seniors experiencing vision loss each year. For more information or to make a donation, visit SocietyfortheBlind.org.

M&M Whitmire Family Foundation’s mission is to assist children in need and senior care within the Sacramento area.