For more than 30 years California’s private agencies serving the blind have had a loose informal association with one another. In recent years, funding streams for training homemakers, non-vocational services and other key blindness services have diminished or been eliminated. In a historic action, all California blindness agencies have worked to incorporate a new nonprofit arm designed to advocate for our community’s needs. We at Lighthouse are particularly pleased that our former Executive Director Anita Shafer Aaron will lead the new nonprofit. Below is the official press release.
July 26, 2021 -– The California Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CAABVI) announced appointment of Anita Shafer Aaron as founding Executive Director responsible for working with the CAABVI Board of Directors to oversee the creation and subsequent leadership of a formalized not for profit organization consisting of private agencies in California serving individuals who are blind and visually impaired.
Aaron, who served for twenty years as Executive Director of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired headquartered in San Francisco followed by ten years as CEO of World Institute on Disability, will focus on formalizing the CAABVI association; strengthening CAABVI’s advocacy efforts for effective and equitable training, education and services; facilitating the community outreach and education agenda and expanding funding opportunities for a service system where government revenue sources have been severely reduced and competition for private funds has increased significantly.
Appointment of Aaron is a critical step in the CAABVI plan to formalize an historically mutual support and information sharing association into an organization that works to ]bring California stakeholders in vision services together to make California a better place for children, youth and adults with visual disabilities to live independent and fruitful lives.
“The CAABVI Board of Directors and member organizations agree there needs to be a concerted, ongoing, and persistent effort to advocate on behalf of the over 20 blindness- related service providers in California,” said Jay Allen, CABVI Board President and President and Chief Operating Officer of Wayfinder Family Services headquartered in Los Angeles. With the formalization of CABVI inspired by the famous Helen Keller phrase “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,” the newly-formalized CAABVI organization will ensure ongoing support and collaboration for the benefit of California residents who are blind and visually impaired.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work toward strengthening California’s private agencies serving individuals who are blind and visually impaired and also working more closely with consumer -based organizations such as the National Federation of the Blind of California and California Council of the Blind to support their advocacy for better and stronger public policy standards,” said Aaron.
California Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CAABVI) advocates for effective and equitable training, education, and services for all Californians who are blind or visually impaired. Through its Board of Directors, selected for their leadership roles in member organizations, CAABVI serves as the aggregate voice of California’s private, nonprofit agencies serving individuals who are blind and visually impaired, their families and communities.