Helen Keller International, Inc.

Continuing her work.

New York, NY   |  https://helenkellerintl.org/

Mission

Helen Keller International is a global health organization dedicated to eliminating preventable vision loss, malnutrition, and diseases of poverty. Co-founded by Helen Keller—and guided by her fierce optimism and belief in human potential—the organization delivers life changing health solutions to vulnerable families in places where the need is great but access to care is limited. In the U.S., Africa, and Asia, Helen Keller’s proven, science-based programs empower people to create opportunities in their own lives and build lasting change.

Ruling year info

1963

Principal Officer

Ms. Kathy Spahn

Main address

One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza Floor 2

New York, NY 10017 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Helen Keller Worldwide

American Foundation for Overseas Blind

American Braille Press

Permanent Blind Relief War Fund for Soldiers & Sailors of the Allies

British, French, Belgian Permanent Blind Relief War Fund

Helen Keller International

EIN

13-5562162

NTEE code info

Management & Technical Assistance (E02)

Nutrition Programs (K40)

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Right now, there are 285 million people worldwide who are blind or suffering from vision loss. 80% of them don't have to be.

Two billion people worldwide suffer from malnutrition. Each year an estimated 6.6 million children die before celebrating their fifth birthday, with about half of these deaths due to poor nutrition.

There is a group of infectious diseases that many in the developed world rarely encounter or hear about. These neglected tropical diseases—often referred to as diseases of poverty—affect one in six people around the world, including 875 million children, and cause about 500,000 deaths each year.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Health Care Programs

Benefiting millions of people each year, Helen Keller International combats malnutrition, cataract, trachoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness) and refractive error in 19 countries in Africa and Asia, as well as in the United States. The goal of all Helen Keller programs is to reduce suffering of those without access to needed health or vision care and ultimately, to help lift people from poverty. Helen Keller International builds local capacity by establishing sustainable programs, and provides scientific and technical assistance and data to governments and international, regional, national and local organizations around the world.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Families

People with healthy vision depend on their eyes for as much as 80 percent of what they learn. Despite the importance of clear eyesight, an estimated 16 million people in the United States have impaired vision due to uncorrected refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism), including as many as 4 million children. Left untreated, vision impairments significantly impact quality of life, and can compromise a child’s development, comprehension, and academic performance. Although refractive error is easily addressed with a pair of prescription eyeglasses, many families in the United States – where as many as 1 in 7 people live in poverty – cannot afford or easily access an eye exam or a pair of prescription eyeglasses. As a result, thousands of people throughout the country face unnecessary obstacles in life simply because a treatable condition goes unaddressed.

Helen Keller Intl’s US Vision Programs are prepared to address this need, making clear vision easily accessible to the most vulnerable among us. Our programs provide free vision screenings and, when needed, new prescription eyeglasses to children and adults in high-poverty communities in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Texas. Our programs fill a critical health services gap for those with limited, or no access to quality basic health or vision care services.

We partner directly with schools and community-based organizations serving at-risk youth, adults & families in crisis, underserved veterans, and refugees & recent immigrants, among other vulnerable populations in our program locations. The US Vision Programs offers services on-site to help break down the many barriers to care faced by our recipients. Our program provides a complete range of services directly on-site, from free vision screenings and eye exams to prescription eyeglasses and further treatment referrals for individuals diagnosed with more complex conditions.

Since 1994, Helen Keller Intl has provided free vision services to more than 2.1 million people in the United States and provided more than 350,000 of them with prescription eyeglasses. For too many of these individuals, a pair of eyeglasses from Helen Keller Intl may be their only opportunity for clear vision.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Where we work

Awards

Vision Award 2009

Antonio Champalimaud Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of treatments provided to people at risk of five disabling and disfiguring diseases

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of vision screenings for disadvantaged youth in the United States

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

US Vision Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Services in 2020 and 2021 disrupted due to Covid-19 school closures.

Number of free prescription eyeglasses provided to disadvantaged youth

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

US Vision Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Services in 2020 disrupted due to Covid-19 school closures.

Number of people screened for trachomatous trichiasis

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of sight-saving eyelid surgeries provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of trachomatous trichiasis surgeons trained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people trained to screen for trachomatous trichiasis

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of cataract surgeries performed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of people treated for diabetic retinopathy

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Health Care Programs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Helen Keller International is dedicated to saving the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. We combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health and nutrition. We currently have more than 100 programs in 20 African and Asian countries, as well as in the United States.

We envision a world where…

No one suffers from preventable or treatable blindness or low vision;
No one suffers from malnutrition; and
Fewer people suffer loss of their productive years due to disability and premature death.

Part of our work is focused on preventing blindness and vision loss by providing better access to basic eye care services like prescription eyeglasses and cataract surgery; screening and treatment for diabetic retinopathy; vitamin A supplementation for young children at risk of malnutrition; and prevention and treatment of neglected tropical diseases.

We are also dedicated to reducing malnutrition, especially for women and children. Our programs promote positive nutrition practices for mothers and young children; ensure the fortification of staple foods like wheat flour and cooking oil with essential nutrients; help reduce instances of vitamin A deficiency through supplementation for children under five; improve food security for impoverished communities through family-led agricultural practices; and build the capacity of local health workers to manage cases of acute malnutrition in their communities.

Through our work, we provide access to resources and education for under-served communities, professional training for doctors and health workers, and a voice for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged through advocacy at the government level. We also conduct extensive research and evaluation of our programs to ensure that the solutions we provide are effective.

Helen Keller International designs programs to have lasting impact by building local ownership and capacity, strengthening existing systems, and focusing attention and resources on building resilience. Achieving sustainable development requires full partnerships with governments, communities, civil society and the private sector that are based on a shared vision, open communication and mutual accountability.

Helen Keller Intl believes the most effective programs and operational systems are evidence-based and contextually relevant. They are rooted in state-of-the-art knowledge and local situational analysis. We design and test innovative approaches to current challenges and utilize rigorous evaluation to maximize impact and develop new knowledge.

Helen Keller Intl holds ourselves to the highest ethical standards. We are a responsible steward of resources and we conduct all our activities with integrity and transparency, continuously striving for increased efficiency and effectiveness. Read more.

Last year alone, we helped provide many tens of millions of people with treatment to prevent diseases of poverty including blinding trachoma and river blindness. Surgeons trained by our staff also performed tens of thousands of cataract surgeries in the developing world. And in the United States, we screened the vision of nearly 66,000 students living in some of our country's poorest neighborhoods and provided free eyeglasses to just over 16,000 of them.

Since 1990, our Enhanced Homestead Food Production programs throughout Africa and Asia have empowered thousands of families to provide better nutrition for themselves and ensure food security by producing their own nutritious foods in home gardens and farms.

Targeting communities with high malnutrition and child mortality rates, we promote positive nutrition practices including breastfeeding and complementary foods to ensure children receive enough vitamins during critical stages of development.

We train community volunteers and health workers to identify and treat cases of acute malnutrition in children, ensuring the knowledge and skills become part local health systems and empowering communities to help themselves in times of crisis.

Since the 1950s, Helen Keller International has supported the control and treatment of trachoma in Africa. To date we have helped deliver tens of thousands of sight-saving trachoma surgeries in poor communities and will continue working toward the global trachoma elimination date of 2020.

We have helped develop an effective and efficient platform that reaches tens of millions of people across Africa each year for the prevention and treatment of river blindness.

As young children are especially vulnerable to infection, we help developing countries effectively and efficiently provide deworming medication and health education for children in at-risk communities.

Working with national governments in countries with the highest rates of affliction, we are helping communities not only eliminate lymphatic filariasis, but treat those suffering from physical disabilities caused by the infection.

Financials

Helen Keller International, Inc.
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Helen Keller International, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 10/13/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Bill Toppeta

Macomber Peak Partners

Term: 2020 -

Henry Barkhorn

Investor

Randy Belcher

Fossil Inc.

Jennifer Buda

Management and Capital Partners

Bruce Spivey

International Council of Ophthalmology

Bradford Perkins

Perkins Eastman Architects

David LeCause

Allergan, Inc.

Mark Menting

Sullivan and Cromwell

David Glassman

Prince Management Consulting

Desmond FitzGerald

North America Properties Group

D. Brooks Betts

Riverview Asset Consulting Inc

Reynaldo Martorell

Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Beverly Orthwein

R.V. Paul Chan

Anthony Dorment

Jack Linville

Cutberto Garza

Bill Toppeta

President, Macomber Peak Partners

Peirce Moser

Attorney

Diana Fong

Freelance Journalist, Deutsche Welle

Daniel Gray

Chairman & CEO, Northstar Companies, Inc. and Providence Life Assurance Company (Bermuda) Ltd.

Carla Hall

TV Personality and Author

Chantal Piani

CEO, CP Conseil, President, Helen Keller International Europe

Melissa Thompson

President, Alcon Foundation, Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Alcon Laboratories

Gigi Jorissen

Wendy Lee

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/4/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data