A Brief List of Charities for the Blind — Giving Tuesday 2019

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For those not familiar with Giving Tuesday:

Giving Tuesday is defined by www.givingtuesday.org as “a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. It was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past seven years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”

In honor of this generosity-based month, we decided to compile a short but non-exhaustive list of charities for the blind. Inclusion in this list does not equal an endorsement.

 

Helen Keller International

Mission:

Helen Keller International saves and improves the sight and lives of the world’s vulnerable by combating the causes and consequences of blindness, poor health and malnutrition.

This charity, founded under a familiar name, started out in 1915. Their website mentions “we currently have more than 100 programs in 20 African and Asian countries, as well as in the United States.”

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Seva Foundation

Mission:

Seva works with local communities around the world to develop self-sustaining programs that preserve and restore sight.

This foundation’s about us page highlights that “Seva has helped 5 million people regain their sight in more than 20 countries.”

The same page also sheds light on their name: “Seva (pronounced Say-Va) is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service to others” and came to represent for us the dream of relieving suffering and reducing poverty in the most effective ways possible.”

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Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind

Mission:

To improve the quality of life for people who are blind, have low vision, or have other special needs.

Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind is all about training dogs, and placing them with those who need them. According to their site, “It costs over $50,000 to breed, raise, train, and place one assistance dog; however, all of the Foundations’ services are provided at no charge to the individual.”

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Blinded Veterans Association

According to their website, “The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) was formed in 1945 and was chartered by Congress in 1958. BVA is comprised of Staff and National Officers, 6 District Directors overseeing 50 Regional Groups, coupled with various Auxiliaries and several structured Committees.”

This organization provides a plethora of services to blind veterans across the United States. These services include scholarships, peer support, advocacy, and more.

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American Council of the Blind (ACB)

Mission:

To increase the independence, security, equality of opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired people.

The ACB website states “The American Council of the Blind (ACB) was founded in 1961 but many of its state affiliates and local chapters have a history that can be traced back to the 1880s.”

This group provides advocacy, programs, and services for those who are blind or visually impaired.

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American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)

Mission:

The mission of the American Foundation for the Blind is to create a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. We mobilize leaders, advance understanding, and champion impactful policies and practices using research and data.

AFB supports widespread research, education, and strategic partnerships. Their website features a robust and in-depth Public Policy and Research Center.

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Foundation Fighting Blindness

Mission:

The mission of the Foundation Fighting Blindness is to fund research that will lead to the prevention, treatment and cures for the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome, Stargardt disease and related conditions. These diseases, which affect more than 10 million Americans and millions more throughout the world, often lead to severe vision loss or complete blindness.

The FFB website notes that “Today, the Foundation is the world’s leading private source for inherited retinal disease research funding.” which is no easy task.

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Lighthouse Guild

Mission:

To overcome vision impairment for people of all ages through worldwide leadership in rehabilitation services, education, research, prevention and advocacy.

This New York-based charity provides similar services to other charities listed.

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National Federation of the Blind (NFB)

Mission:

The mission of the National Federation of the Blind is to serve as a means for blind people to come together to work collectively to improve our lives.

The official NFB website states that “[The NFB]… is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans.” This charity has affiliates, chapters, and divisions in all fifty states.

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Society for the Blind

Mission:

To empower individuals living with low vision or blindness to discover, develop and achieve their full potential.

Beginning as just a grassroots movement in Sacramento, this charity grew to supply programs and services for over 5,000 visually impaired individuals.

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Lions Club International

Mission:

To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

While this charity provides services to non-blind individuals, they’re worth a mention. The Lions Club International provides grants, assistance, and repurposed/recycled eyeglasses to those in need.

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Orbis International

Mission:

With our network of partners, we mentor, train and inspire local teams so they can save sight in their communities.

This entity focuses on training for those in communities that are often under-served. One of their most notable resources is a flying eye hospital—a cargo plane fully converted into a mobile hospital, complete with an operating room.

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No matter who you donate to, or if you donate at all—keep in mind the impact you can make. Whether via monetary donations, volunteer hours, or item donations—they all matter. They all make a difference.

Happy Giving Tuesday!