Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired South Carolina

Creating opportunities to live, learn & earn with vision loss

Charleston, SC   |  www.abvisc.org

Mission

Our mission is to enrich the quality of life of the blind and visually impaired.

Notes from the nonprofit

Our goal is to enriching the quality of life of our blind and visually impaired neighbors through programs focused on personal independence and vocational rehabilitation. We are honored to be able to serve our community in this capacity and to be able to make our community more accessible for individuals with visual needs.

Ruling year info

1970

President & CEO

Mrs. Courtney Parades Plotner

Main address

1 Carriage Lane Building A

Charleston, SC 29407 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

57-0324912

NTEE code info

Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services (P86)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The National Federation of the Blind estimates there are roughly 147,000 adults in South Carolina who are living with a visual disability, and the rate of vision loss is expected to double by 2030 as the baby boom generation ages. Also, the unemployment rate for blind and visually impaired (BVI) adults is approximately 70%. According to statistical analysis by the American Foundation for the Blind, Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties should have roughly 7,500 blind or visually impaired adults. ABVI currently serves 240+ BVI adult clients, so we know there are more adults we need to reach with our services. A void in services exists in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties for blind and visually impaired adults who need assistance learning to live with their disability, whether they are seeking independence or vocational rehabilitation. We are the only Tri-County nonprofit focused on independent living and vocational rehabilitation specifically for the blind.

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?

Own Your Life - Vision Rehabilitation

Through Own Your Life we teach our clients how to perform basic functions of life without sighted assistance and for some, learn the adaptive skills necessary to join or rejoin the workforce. We offer free, independent living skills and vocational rehabilitation classes at our center-based location in Charleston. In March of 2020, we opened a second center in Ladson, SC to increase access to our services for clients living in Berkeley and Dorchester Counties.

Any blind and visually impaired adult living in Berkeley, Charleston or Dorchester County may apply to become a client of ours and enroll in the Own Your Life program. Own Your Life has two tracks; Personal Enrichment to help individuals learn independent living skills and Employee Development for individuals seeking adaptive skills to join the workforce.

All clients are eligible for the Personal Enrichment track which focuses on developing, maintaining and/or regaining independence. Through this track our clients can take a variety of classes at our centers that encourage independent living including computer and assistive technology training, activities of daily living (ADL) training, braille, orientation & mobility (O&M), art therapy (which improve dexterity) and group therapy. ADL classes involve instruction on personal hygiene, dressing oneself, cooking, fire safety, money management, home maintenance, phone use and more. The other classes we offer also expand each client’s independence as we teach them how to use applications and technologies to pay bills online, send emails, send text messages and so forth. By teaching our clients how to perform these basic functions of life by themselves, we are enabling them to lead a more independent life. Thus, we are empowering them with personal freedom and helping them “own their lives.”

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments

In 2020, we began offering Occupational Therapy accepting Medicare and Medicaid. Clients in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties are eligible for these services.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments

ABVI offers guide dog scholarships for clients to help maintain and extend the working life of their guide dogs. ABVI scholarships can be used for vet and grooming costs. The scholarship also covers the cost of food for working dogs.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

South Carolina Nonprofit of The Year by Together SC 2017

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 clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of clients receiving direct services.

Number of program sites

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Number of Center Based Locations and services available in those locations. (We also offer virtual services which began in March of 2020.)

Hours of programing delivered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Hours of Vision Rehabilitation Training.

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.

Through Own Your Life, clients take classes geared towards maintaining and/or regaining independence. Classes include activities of daily living (ADL) training, computer training, assistive technology, group therapy and orientation and mobility. ADL classes include personal hygiene, medication management, overall health management, dressing oneself, cooking, kitchen safety, home and fire safety, home maintenance and more.

Empowering our clients with the skills needed to care for themselves on their own with the aid of low vision devices is life-changing. Through instruction in programs such as Own Your Life, clients can learn to perform daily tasks independently and safely and shift their perspective from dependency to empowerment through independence. The health, safety and quality of life of blind and visually impaired individuals can be compromised if they lack proper training to find new approaches for daily life.

We are also helping our clients enter or reenter the workforce.

Own Your Life has two tracks; Personal Enrichment to help individuals learn independent living skills and Employee Development for individuals seeking adaptive skills to join the workforce.

All clients are eligible for the Personal Enrichment track which focuses on developing, maintaining and/or regaining independence. Through this track our clients can take a variety of classes that encourage independent living including computer and assistive technology training, activities of daily living (ADL) training, braille, group therapy and other social opportunities. Clients are assessed before and after services are rendered to ensure the intended skill sets are reaching proficiency.

Through Employee Development, clients are learning the skills they need to gain or regain employment. Participants take the aforementioned classes as well as computer training, orientation and mobility and soft skills which includes resume building and interviewing practices.

Both tracks are individualized for each client.

We also offer Occupational Therapy services accepting both Medicaid and Medicare.

ABVI prides itself on its hardworking staff and instructors who are mission first oriented. Our core values are; 1. Mission First, 2. Courageously Innovative, 3. Works Smart, 4. Culture of Discipline and 5. Accountability. Working within our operating system with these core values in mind, helps our relatively small staff accomplish great traction.

We have worked with professionals across the country to develop a program, assessments and proficiency to best serve the blind and visually impaired in the Tri-County. We regularly step back from the business to take a big picture look at our services and make any necessary adjustments. We have a strong vision and Hedgehog Concept that keeps us focused.

We also have a new and improved funding model that helps ensure the sustainability of the programs we offer.

We have update our services for the blind and visually impaired in Charleston to allow for more individualized service plans (ISP). ISPs will allow us to focus more on each individuals needs and goals and to more efficiently and effectively give them the training they need.

We have opened a second training center in Ladson, SC, and we are offering almost all of our services virtually. Transportation is a major issues for the individuals we serve. Opening Ladson and going virtual helps our neighbors in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties access our services.

We have added Occupational Therapy services for clients accepting Medicaid and Medicare. We hope that our expansion will allow us to better serve individuals in rural parts of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties where medical and other center-based services are limited and transportation is problematic.

Since starting our vocation rehabilitation program, 80% of our graduates have been offered jobs. This is in a country where 70% of blind and visually impaired adults are unemployed, so we are excited about our early successes.

Financials

Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired South Carolina
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired South Carolina

Board of directors
as of 1/13/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Bob Baldwin

Baldwin & Associates

Term: 2019 - 2020

Clay Hershey

Harbor Financial Group

Carol Clement

Clement, Crawford & Thornhill, Inc.

George Smythe

South State Bank

James Hill

MUSC Storm Eye Institute

Tricia Leyte-Vidal

Blackbaud, Inc.

Robert Baldwin

Baldwin and Associates

Paula Mullen

Cumulus Media, Inc.

Thomas Smythe

Mass Mutual Financial Group

Kristen Tinkler

Carolina Eye CAre

Joe Waring

Evening Post Industries

Karl Brady

Charleston City Councilmember, District 5

Samuel Clawson, Jr.

Clawson Fargnoli & Utsey, LLC

Marshall McClure

Vice President, Tax, E. I., du Pont de Nemours and Company, Retired

B. Jantzen

Board Member Emeritus

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? Yes
  • 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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/13/2021

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

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data