National Federation of the Blind

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National-federation-of-the-blind
Headquarters Location: Baltimore, MD
Founded: 1940


Mission: The mission of the National Federation of the Blind is to achieve widespread emotional acceptance and intellectual understanding that the real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight but the misconceptions and lack of information which exist. We do this by bringing blind people together to share successes, to support each other in times of failure, and to create imaginative solutions. The ultimate purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. This objective involves the removal of legal, economic, and social discriminations; the education of the public to new concepts concerning blindness; and the achievement by all blind people of the right to exercise to the fullest their individual talents and capacities. It means the right of the blind to work along with their sighted neighbors in the professions, common callings, skilled trades, and regular occupations.


Tags: blind, membership, technology, braille, youth, research, scholarships, 2011


National-federation-of-the-blind
Story: The National Federation of the Blind is the largest organization of the blind in America. Interested sighted persons also join. Founded in 1940, the Federation has grown to include over 50,000 members. The ultimate purpose of the National Federation of… Read the full story.

Expert Reviews: Evidence of Impact
The National Federation of the Blind's legislative work has resulted in national policy change for blind people in law, regulation and court cases. The organization has also dramatically improved accessibility of new technologies in the marketplace for blind people.
See the complete expert review.

Leadership
National-federation-of-the-blind Marc Maurer. Born in 1951, Marc Maurer was the second in a family of six children. His blindness was caused by overexposure to oxygen after his premature birth, but he and his parents were determined that this should not prevent him from living a full and normal life. He began his education at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, where he… See full bio.


Transparency Information
Silver-big
This organization has earned the GuideStar Participation Level Silver, demonstrating its commitment to transparency (learn more)


Financial Data
Charity Navigator Rating: 3stars (profile)
Total Revenue:
$18,793,576


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Contact Info
E-Mail:
pmaurer AT nfb.org
Phone:
410-6599314
Facebook:
Follow_fb
Address:
1800 Johnson Street
 
Baltimore, MD 21230, USA


National-federation-of-the-blind Story: The National Federation of the Blind is the largest organization of the blind in America. Interested sighted persons also join. Founded in 1940, the Federation has grown to include over 50,000 members. The ultimate purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is the complete integration of the blind into society on a basis of equality. This objective involves the removal of legal, economic, and social discriminations; the education of the public to new concepts concerning blindness; and the achievement by all blind people of the right to exercise to the fullest their individual talents and capacities. It means the right of the blind to work along with their sighted neighbors in the professions, common callings, skilled trades, and regular occupations.

Expert Reviews of National Federation of the Blind

Evidence of Impact Summary:

The National Federation of the Blind's legislative work has resulted in national policy change for blind people in law, regulation and court cases. The organization has also dramatically improved accessibility of new technologies in the marketplace for blind people.
See expert comments.

Organization Strengths Summary:

According to experts in the field, the National Federation of the Blind is a large organization with many resources. They have strong executive leadership and professional knowledgeable staff.
See expert comments.

Areas for Improvement Summary:

The organization is relatively unknown outside the disability community and should improve its marketing strategy to strengthen its image.
See expert comments.

Expert Comments: Evidence of Impact

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Represents Interests of its Members Well

N
This organization is one of two major, national organizations representing people who are Blind. It represents the interests of its members well and promotes community integration for Blind people.
N
Strengths: Consumer led and focused.

Strong Advocacy

N
My familiarity with this organization is from its strong advocacy at a national level.
N
NFB along with AFB are very vocal activists who do succeed in getting a lot of federal support, along with NCIL.

Personal Impact

F
National Federation of the Blind has helped friends.

Policy Change

N
The National Federation of the Blind's work has resulted in national policy change in law, regulation and court cases. They have been extremely effective in making change, punching well above their weight.

Accessibility

N
The organization is dramatically improving accessibility of new technologies in the marketplace for blind people.


Expert Comments: Organization Strengths

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Resources

F
The National Federation of the Blind is a large organization with many resources.

Philosophy

N
The National Federation of the Blind has a clear organizational philosophy as well as a dedication to developing leadership in people with disabilities.

Strong Staff

N
The organization has strong executive leadership and professional knowledgeable staff.


Expert Comments: Areas for Improvement

Select the boxes to display the results according to expert type.

Show:
X
Foundation Professionals (F)
X
Researchers and Faculty (R)
X
Nonprofit Senior Staff (N)
X
Other (consultants, journalists, policy makers) (O)

Not Effective

N
Improvement: NFB is a membership organization and a "fundraising" machine that provides benefits to its members only.

External Relations

N
They don't play all that well with other disability groups, although this has improved.

Marketing

N
The organization is relatively unknown outside the disability community.


Leadership

National-federation-of-the-blind
Marc Maurer
President
Born in 1951, Marc Maurer was the second in a family of six children. His blindness was caused by overexposure to oxygen after his premature birth, but he and his parents were determined that this should not prevent him from living a full and normal life. He began his education at the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, where he became an avid Braille reader. In the fifth grade he returned home to Boone, Iowa, where he attended parochial schools. During high school (having taken all the courses in the curriculum), he simultaneously took classes at the junior college. Maurer ran three different businesses before finishing high school: a paper route, a lawn care business, and an enterprise producing and marketing maternity garter belts designed by his mother. This last venture was so successful that his younger brother took over the business when Maurer left home. In the summer of 1969, after graduating from high school, Maurer enrolled as a student at the Orientation and Adjustment Center of the Iowa Commission for the Blind and attended his first convention of the NFB. He was delighted to discover in both places that blind people and what they thought mattered. This was a new phenomenon in his experience, and it changed his life. Kenneth Jernigan was director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind at the time, and Maurer soon grew to admire and respect him. When Maurer expressed an interest in overhauling a car engine, the Commission for the Blind purchased the necessary equipment. Maurer completed that project and actually worked for a time as an automobile mechanic. He believes today that mastering engine repair played an important part in changing his attitudes about blindness. Maurer graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1974. As an undergraduate he took an active part in campus life, including election to the Honor Society. Then he enrolled at the University of Indiana School of Law, where he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1977. Maurer was elected president of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind in 1971 and reelected in 1973 and 1975. Also in 1971 at the age of twenty he was elected vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Indiana. He was elected president in 1973 and reelected in 1975. During law school Maurer worked summers for the office of the secretary of state of Indiana. After graduation he moved to Toledo, Ohio, to accept a position as the director of the Senior Legal Assistance Project operated by ABLE (Advocates for Basic Legal Equality). In 1978 Maurer moved to Washington, D.C., to become an attorney with the Rates and Routes Division in the office of the general counsel of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Initially he worked on rates cases but soon advanced to dealing with international matters and then to doing research and writing opinions on constitutional issues and board action. He wrote opinions for the chairman and made appearances before the full board to discuss those opinions. In 1981 he went into private practice in Baltimore, Maryland, where he specialized in civil litigation and property matters. But increasingly he concentrated on representing blind individuals and groups in the courts. He has now become one of the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys in the country regarding the laws, precedents, and administrative rulings concerning civil rights and discrimination against the blind. He is a member of the Bar in Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, and Maryland and a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Maurer has always been active in civic and political affairs, having run for the state legislature from Baltimore. Through the years he has also served on the board of directors of his apartment complex's tenants association, the board of his community association, and the school board of his children's school. In 1981 Maurer was elected president of the National Association of Blind Lawyers and served in that office until 1985. From 1984 until 1986 he served as president of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland. An important companion in Maurer's activities and a leader in her own right is his wife Patricia. The Maurers were married in 1973, and they have two children--David Patrick, born March 10, 1984, and Dianna Marie, born July 12, 1987. At the 1985 convention in Louisville, Kentucky, Kenneth Jernigan announced that he would not stand for re-election as president of the National Federation of the Blind the following year, and he recommended Marc Maurer as his successor. In Kansas City in 1986 the Convention elected Maurer by resounding acclamation, and he has served as president ever since. From 1997 to 2000 he also served as president of the North America/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union, and he chaired the WBU Committee on the Restoration of the Louis Braille Birthplace in Coupvray, France. In 2004 he became vice president of the World Blind Union North America/Caribbean Region, and in 2006 reassumed the presidency. Maurer was honored with the Maryland Black Caucus's Leadership Award in 1985, the United States Presidential Medal for Leadership in 1990, the 1990 Heritage Award from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and the Baltimore Business Journal's 1999 Innovation Award for Excellence in Workplace Technology. Recent honors include the 2002 VME Robert Dole Award and the Daily Record's 2002 Innovator of the Year award. He joined President George W. Bush in the Oval Office in July of 2001 to celebrate the success of the NFB Everest Expedition and once again when President Bush signed into law the Help America Vote Act of 2002. He received honorary degrees from California's Menlo College in 1998 and the University of Louisville in 1999. In 1987 he delivered an address at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and in 2000 he was invited to deliver addresses on civil rights at Oxford University and Birmingham University in the United Kingdom. He is now editor of the NFB's Kernel Book series of optimistic paperbacks written by blind people about blindness. As president of the National Federation of the Blind, Maurer is boldly leading the organization into a new test of its resolve, beginning with the visionary expansion of the National Center for the Blind--the National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, which was completed in the spring of 2004. The facility, located on the grounds of the National Center, has added more than 170,000 square feet to the NFB's headquarters complex. The Institute, which is the first of its kind, conceived and built by the blind for the blind, is developing innovative education, technologies, products, and services that support independence for the world's blind. One of the early products of the Institute is the Kurzweil–National Federation of the Blind handheld reading machine, produced in conjunction with the noted futurist and inventor, Raymond Kurzweil. Maurer's unswerving determination to succeed and his absolute conviction that the organized blind are the best-equipped people to solve the problems facing them have set the tone and are guiding the organization into this exciting new period of growth and accomplishment.

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