Relationships are key to the work of the National Federation of the Blind. Our organization is a very large family, comprised of blind people, our families, and our friends. The loving relationships we have with each other form the bonds that help us to accomplish our goals as an organization and to support each other’s dreams.
We also seek to expand the relationships we have outside the organization. Increasing understanding among the public about our capacity to live the lives we want, and the expectational and societal barriers that need to come down for us to live them, is a critical part of our mission. Although each of us help to accomplish this goal through our participation in our workplaces, schools, churches and communities, it’s important that we also seek partnerships with companies and organizations that are willing and able to help amplify our message.
Partnerships with organizations and businesses large and small make our fifty-two affiliates and their hundreds of local chapters strong as well. If your business or organization has partnered with a state affiliate or local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind to raise funds or just raise awareness, we thank you for your love and support. I also want to thank each of you who have made personal contributions to our movement, through volunteering, financial support, or both. The National Federation of the Blind looks forward to partnering with you again, or perhaps for the first time, throughout 2019 and beyond.
Mark A. Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind leads the way when it comes to public awareness and relationship building. But more outreach can help raise expectations for more blind people. Our last pillar boldly states our vision for public awareness, relationship building, and fundraising:
The National Federation of the Blind builds synergistic community and corporate relationships that are mutually enriching. The stories of our impact and of members' achievements are widely known and celebrated. Our brand is so well recognized and respected that it empowers our members and enables us to expand our reach to our community, new members, and the world.
Our ambitious objectives for this pillar are:
- To ensure that we have the financial resources needed to continue and expand the transformational work we do
- To create new relationships and develop existing partnerships into true synergistic collaborations
- To ensure that the general public and the blindness community understand that the National Federation of the Blind makes a difference, creates opportunities, and is the voice of the nation’s blind
You can read our strategic plan here.
There are many reasons to build relationships with us. Some of our partners are interested in developing a qualified workforce. Others want to tap into the largest organization of the blind in the United States. Some of our most long-standing relationships focus on education and literacy. Still others want to give to a community long disadvantaged. Our partners recognize that the NFB possesses unique expertise.
Inventor and author, Ray Kurzweil, says, that “doing real world projects is, I think, the best way to learn and also to engage the world and find out what the world is all about.” For decades Ray Kurzweil and NFB have worked together to invent the first scanner using OCR, to develop the first hand-held reader to convert text to speech on the fly, and more recently to fund scholarships. These synergies work for Ray Kurzweil, the Kurzweil Foundation, and NFB. Dr. Kurzweil enjoys interactive relationships with blind people who present real world problems for him to solve. The Federation benefits in a myriad of ways.
All of our partnerships are mutually beneficial. Each and every partnership is unique in the synergies which emerge. Moving forward the possibilities are endless, filled with hope and energy, and above all exciting.
You can learn about our dynamic new partnerships with the Baltimore Orioles and Kellogg in our 2018 Annual Report.
National Convention: It’s just around the corner!
There is still time to register and attend the 2019 National Convention that will take place July 7 through 12. This is the first time that the convention will be held in Las Vegas, and we can’t wait to take over the city. Here are some exciting things to know:
- An exclusive sale on the Orbit Reader 20 will be available at convention for the special cost of $549. This is a sale you won’t find anywhere else.
- We have partnered with Lyft to hold an autonomous vehicle demonstration at national convention! While there are limited spaces at the demo, autonomous vehicles are also available to ride while in Las Vegas with the Lyft app. (Note: safety pilots are in the vehicles at all times).
- Our convention agenda is ready for review!
Learn more at https://nfb.org/get-involved/national-convention.
Employment Advocacy: One settlement down, more to go. Our fight for equal employment opportunities.
Our goal is for all blind Americans to have equal employment opportunities in order to live the lives they want. Sometimes that means that we help people vindicate their rights.
Toward that end we assisted Alfredo Estrada in reaching a settlement with Amazon.com recently. Mr. Estrada alleged that despite his being highly qualified for a sortation position and his long work history, Amazon.com failed to provide reasonable accommodations after he was hired. Read more about the settlement with Amazon.com here.
Blind Parents Connection Podcast and the Nation’s Blind Podcast
As part of our blind parents initiative, new episodes around feeding and traveling are available. Listen and learn about personal stories, tips, and tricks from blind parents themselves. This podcast is supported by the Gibney Family Foundation and brought to you by the National Federation of the Blind.
Additionally, check out our newest episode of the Nation’s Blind Podcast that discusses preparing to attend a summer program. The National Federation of the Blind is proudly affiliated with the country’s leading training centers for the blind, which offer a variety of programs for all ages that help build blindness skills and encourage independence.
Subscribe and listen by searching for Nation's Blind Podcast in your podcast client.
Throughout our local chapters and state affiliates, to our national headquarters and diverse committees, the National Federation of the Blind is an organization of collective action. Here’s what you can do to get involved this month.
- Make a contribution to help us to reach all the objectives in our strategic plan.
- Share our 2018 Annual Report.
- Read about the results of our latest ride share testing to see if Uber and Lyft continue to deny rides to passengers with service animals in our latest blog.
- Share a speech from our archives.
Mark your calendars with these upcoming events, workshops, and deadlines.
- June 16-22, 2019: NFB EQ, Baltimore, MD
- June 25, 2019: Accessibility Boutique - Nonvisual Accessibility of G-Suite Products, Baltimore, MD
- July 7-12, 2019: NFB National Convention, Las Vegas, NV
- February 10, 2020: Washington Seminar Great Gathering-In, Washington, DC