PLATINUM2023

Seedlings Braille Books for Children

Every $10 gives a child with vision loss a book!

Livonia, MI   |  http://www.seedlings.org

Mission

Seedlings Braille Books for Children was founded in 1984 by Debra Bonde because braille books for children were scarce and expensive, often costing more than $100 for one book! Seedlings' ongoing goal is to increase the opportunity of braille literacy and education by providing high-quality, low-cost children's literature in braille. Seedlings gives more than half of its books away for free and distributes the rest for an average price of just $10 a book, offering children with vision loss equal opportunity to develop the literacy skills they need for success in school and in life.

Ruling year info

1985

Founder/Director

Ms. Debra Bonde

Main address

PO Box 51924

Livonia, MI 48151 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

38-2565354

NTEE code info

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.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
Register now

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The braille literacy rate is shockingly low: In the U.S., fewer than 10 percent of K-12 students who are blind can read braille. Yet braille literacy can be the difference between poverty and prosperity for the blind. Consider these statistics: 70% of blind adults in the U.S. are unemployed or underemployed. But of those who are working full-time, 9 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 over $100 for 1 book. 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 over 60% of the books we produce away free to blind children, and the others are sold for an average price of just $10 a book.

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?

Low-Cost Book Program

Seedlings produces and distributes more than 37,500 braille books annually to children with vision loss all over the world. Half of these books are given away for free through programs like Seedlings' Book Angel Program (see below). The other half are distributed through Seedlings' Low-Cost Book Program. Although it costs Seedlings about $20 to produce each book, we sell them for an average price of just $10 a book. Donations, grants, fundraising proceeds and volunteers offset the costs for materials and labor so that the books are affordable for blind children and their families.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Children and youth

This program was originally called "Anna's Book Angel Project" and was named in memory of our Director's 19-year-old daughter Anna Kirstina Bonde, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2001. Each year, children with vision loss who were registered received one free book in Anna's name, but now we are doing even more. Thanks to Seedlings' generous donors, children with vision loss ages 0-21 in the U.S. and Canada can receive five free braille books per year! Thousands of braille books have been donated through this program.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Children and youth

In 2019, in honor of our 35th anniversary, we launched a new program called TVIP. All teachers of the visually impaired in the United States can get five free braille books a year from Seedlings to use with their students. The teachers pick the titles they want from our collection of one-volume books. Since 2019, we have distributed over 17,870 braille books to teachers of the visually impaired.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Children and youth

Seedlings provides free World Book Encyclopedia articles in braille to blind students in the U.S. and Canada when they are working on projects and/or reports. This allows them to do independent research, much like their sighted peers. When they contact us to request a particular article in braille, their article is transcribed into braille, printed, and shipped to them within 5 business days.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Michiganian of the Year Award for Director, Debra Bonde 2002

The Detroit News

NAPUB Golden Keys Award 2002

National Federation of the Blind

More Than Words Award 2006

Harlequin

Stand on a Better World Award 2007

Mannington Mills

Bolotin Award 2015

National Federation of the Blind

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 products distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

People with vision impairments, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of braille books, braille articles and educational braille products distributed to children ages 0-21 who are blind and visually impaired. The 2020 figure reflects the impact of Covid-19.

Percentage of products given away free

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, People with vision impairments

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

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.

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 may receive five free books a year from Seedlings simply by registering with our Book Angel program. In 2022, we distributed37,695 books, giving 23,879, or 63 percent, of them away free. The others were sold for an average cost of only $10 a book, about half of what it costs to produce them.

Seedlings is a grass-roots non-profit with a small staff of 13 employees augmented by approximately 30 dedicated volunteers. Our funding comes from donations from individuals, groups, corporations, grants and fundraising. Ninety cents of every dollar donated to Seedlings goes directly into braille book production. Our volunteers, donors and dedicated staff make it possible for Seedlings to produce and distribute approximately 37,000 braille books per year.

Since we were founded in 1984, we have produced and distributed more than 680,000 free and low-cost braille books to children with vision loss all over the world! Still, just 5 percent of children's literature is translated into braille. Seedlings is making a difference in the lives of many children with vision loss, 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. We have outlined a strategic plan for continued growth through 2022-2024.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Financials

Seedlings Braille Books for Children
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.

Seedlings Braille Books for Children

Board of directors
as of 06/12/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Katelyn Kelel

Braille Reader

Term: 2018 - 2024


Board co-chair

Ann Devereux

Parent of Blind Child

Term: 2022 - 2025

Terry Crouson

Business Coach

Katelyn Kelel

Braille Reader

Jared Stofflett

Compuware

Richard Swaine

CPA

Joel Zatell

Oakland Schools

Jennifer Joseph

Ann Arbor Public Schools

Ann Devereux

Parent of Blind Child

Michelle Ellis

Livonia Teacher Consultant for VI

Michelle Lair

Director of Human Resources

Jackie Rau

ELCA Minister

Cheryl Shewach

HR Professional

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? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • 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? 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

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/3/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability