Human Services

Seedlings Braille Books for Children

Every $10 gives a blind child a book!

Livonia, MI

Mission

Seedlings Braille Books for Children was founded in 1984 by Debra Bonde because braille materials for children were scarce and expensive. Her goals were to increase the availability and lower the cost of braille books for children in order to promote their literacy skills and the love of reading. Seedlings' ongoing goal is to increase the rate of braille literacy by ensuring blind children access to many of the same books that their sighted peers enjoy. By making popular children's books available and affordable in braille, Seedlings offers visually impaired children equal opportunity to develop their literacy skills, and the tools to become lifelong readers and literate adults.

Ruling Year

1985

Principal Officer

Debra Bonde

Main Address

PO Box 51924

Livonia, MI 48151 USA

Keywords

Braille, Books, Blind, Children, Early Intervention, Visually Impaired, Literacy, Reading, Seedlings

EIN

38-2565354

 Number

6791616958

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

Children's and Youth Services (P30)

Printing, Publishing (A33)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The braille literacy rate is shockingly low: In the United States, it is only about 10 percent. Yet braille literacy is often the difference between poverty and prosperity for a person who is blind. Consider these statistics: The unemployment rate among blind adults in the U.S. is about 70 percent. But of those who are employed, nine out of 10 are fluent in braille. Braille to a blind person is the equivalent of print to a sighted person. A sighted person who can't read and write is hard-pressed to find and keep a job to support a family, as is a blind person who doesn't read and write braille. One of the problems is that braille books are rare and expensive, often costing hundreds of dollars each. For every 100 books a sighted child has, a blind child might have just 5. How can a child become fluent in braille with only a few books? We give half of the books we produce away free to blind children, and the other half are sold for an average price of just $10 a book.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Book Angel Program

The Rose Project

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of products distributed

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

People with vision impairments

Context notes

Number of braille books, braille articles and educational braille products distributed to children ages 0-21who are blind and visually impaired around the world.

Percentage of products given away free

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Context notes

Percentage of braille books and braille articles given away free to children ages 0-21 who are blind and visually impaired around the world.

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Seedlings' ongoing goal is to increase the rate of braille literacy by ensuring blind children around the world have access to many of the same books that their sighted peers enjoy. By making popular children's books available and affordable in braille, Seedlings offers visually impaired children equal opportunity to develop their literacy skills, and the tools to become lifelong readers and literate adults.

We have several giveaway programs for children and teachers of students with visual impairments. For example, any visually impaired child age 0-21 who lives in the United States or Canada may receive three free books a year from Seedlings simply by registering with our Book Angel program. We also give away gently used books to needy children in other parts of the world. In 2017, we distributed 34,447 books, giving 55 percent of them away for free. The other 45 percent were sold for an average cost of only $10 a book, about half what it costs to produce them.

Seedlings is a grass-roots non-profit with a small staff of three full-time and seven part-time employees augmented by 50 dedicated volunteers. The majority of our funding comes via donations from individuals, groups and corporations. The rest comes from grants and fundraising. Ninety cents of every dollar given to Seedlings goes directly into braille book production. Our volunteers, donors and dedicated staff make it possible for Seedlings to produce and distribute more than 34,000 braille books per year.

We track the number of books we distribute and the percentage we give away each year. The number of books we distributed has increased over the years to a record 34,447 in 2017, which was a 7-percent increase over 2016. The percentage of books we are able give away free has also steadily climbed from 29 percent in 2011 to 55 percent in 2017.

We reached the half-million mark in August 2017 for the number of free and low-cost braille books we have distributed since we were founded in 1984. Still, just 5 percent of children's literature is translated into braille. Seedlings is making a difference in the lives of many children who are blind and visually impaired, but there is still work to be done before all visually impaired children have the same opportunity as sighted children to develop their literacy skills, and the tools to become lifelong readers and literate adults.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

Seedlings Braille Books for Children

Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
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Operations

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

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  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2016
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & 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?

Not Applicable

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Not Applicable

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Not Applicable

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Not Applicable