Center for the Visually Impaired, Inc.

aka CVI   |   Atlanta, GA   |


The mission of the Center for the Visually Impaired is to empower people impacted by vision loss to live with independence and dignity. >We serve anyone with vision loss from partially sighted to fully blind. >Regardless of age or income level, CVI has four programs to suit the needs at each life-stage. >Operate an onsite retail store with a wide assortment of aids for the visually impaired. >Central, convenient location in Midtown Atlanta

Ruling year info


President and CEO

Mrs. Lisa Kennedy

Main address

739 W. Peachtree St. NW

Atlanta, GA 30308 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Community Services for the Blind



NTEE code info

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

Vocational Rehabilitation (includes Job Training and Employment for Disabled and Elderly) (J30)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

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 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Register now



Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

CVI has an essential role to play in the health and quality of life for our community. According to the Georgia Department of Health, about 1 in 12 Georgians age 55 years and older (8.5%) report severe vision loss. By 2040, vision loss in people 40 and older due to diabetic retinopathy could increase by 150%. By 2050, as many as 226,000 Georgians will be visually impaired and 100,000 will be blind. From our roots working with children in the 1960s, CVI has emerged as a leader in vision rehabilitation and training services for people of all ages and degrees of vision loss. Last year CVI helped 1,100 children and adults acquire skills to succeed at school and work, be active members of their communities, and live safely and independently. CVI is a resource for over 4,000 people from 28 counties in metro Atlanta area who are seeking answers and help for themselves or a loved one. Nearly 60% of clients are from low-income households (earning < 200% of the Federal Poverty Guideline).

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?

Florence Maxwell Low Vision Clinic

People with vision loss turn to CVI once their doctors can no longer treat their vision loss medically or with glasses.
Clients learn to make the most of their remaining vision and continue doing things they enjoy, live independently, and stay active with their friends, family, and community.
An average of 70 clients per month have received Low Vision Exams and training in optical aids since CVI reopened in June 2020 with CDC safety protocols. Nearly 300 people receive services annually (pre-pandemic).

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with vision impairments
Low-income people
Older adults

Clients can choose from a menu of classes and training to focus on their own goals. Opportunities include learning to:
>Use white cane and safely navigate home, work, neighborhoods, and public transportation.
>Cook safely, label household items, manage medication, and more.
>Take advantage of smart phones as assistive devices, screen magnification software (ZoomText) or screen reading software (JAWS) to return to work, continue hobbies or living independently or keep up with friends and family by email and social media.
Clients can also share experiences, gain support, and learn from one another through CVI’s facilitated Support Groups.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Low-income people
Working poor

90% of learning occurs through our vision. Babies and young children with vision loss must receive early intervention to develop and grow.
CVI provides Functional Vision Assessments, which evaluate a child’s use of their vision. These assessments form the basis of each child’s individual education plan.
Teachers help babies learn to access information through sounds, movements, tactile experiences, spatial orientation, and interactions with other people. We provide one-to-one sessions (with safety protocols) as well as telehealth visits. We equip parents with training, support and resources so they can be teachers and advocates for their children.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Infants and toddlers

Children K-12 with vision loss learn to thrive emotionally and socially and gain confidence to chart their own path in life.
Students learn how to:
>Use Braille to enhance literacy and comprehension
>Travel safely and independently at home, school, and in the community
>Prepare for college or jobs
>Use technology to make the most of their opportunities at school, work, and in life.
Students connect and share experiences in support groups and gain mentoring from staff and volunteers who have vision impairments.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
People with vision impairments

Georgia’s only retail store dedicated to people with visual impairments.
Over 10,000 vision aids, devices, and products to test—from magnifiers and kitchen gadgets to voice activated clocks and CCTV monitors.
Clients can experiment to find the solutions that work best for their daily lives. CVI’s Occupational Therapist and Optometrists advise clients as follow up to a Low Vision exam.
Open in conjunction with Clinic hours and we offer concierge service by phone as well as delivery by mail or in person.

Population(s) Served
Low-income people
Children and youth

CVI operates Georgia’s only full-time program for preschool and toddler age children who are blind or visually impaired through a public-private partnership with Georgia Department of Education and Georgia PINES.
Children learn pre-Braille for literacy development, responsibility tasks such as putting away toys, sorting/organizing shapes, and white cane navigation skills. They also gain the social skills and self-confidence they will need to enjoy kindergarten and their next steps in school.

Population(s) Served
People with vision impairments
Ethnic and racial groups
Infants and toddlers

Where we work

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 eligible clients who report having access to an adequate array of services and supports

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

Adults, Children and youth, People of African descent

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

2021 and 2020 servivces impacted by COVID. The totals represent clients served across all CVI programs.

Number of families reporting that their support plan includes or reflects things that are important to them

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

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Early Childhood and Youth Services are in transition to a new program model. Families are being served with one-on-one instruction, camps, and recreational services. The preschool enrollment is 11.

Number of people provided assistive technology

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

Florence Maxwell Low Vision Clinic

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


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.

Our organizational goals for 2021-2022 are:
• Maximize the number of people we serve.
• Provide high quality, cost-effective services centered on the needs of clients and their families.
• Foster organizational capacity to learn, fulfill mission, and navigate change.
• Maximize resources to fuel CVI's mission.
CVI’s strategic plan challenges us increase the number of people we serve through our low vision clinic and adult rehabilitation programs to approximately 1,800 over the next two years. Serving the growing numbers of people who need us will mean restructuring our programs with a shift to a more customer focused, entrepreneurial model. This approach offers the dual benefits of creating pressure to innovate and enhance quality as we generate additional revenue and instill financial discipline.

CVI’s two-year strategic initiatives include:
Establish a Financial Assistance Fund to ensure access to services regardless of a person’s ability to pay, as we incorporate private pay fees into our operating model.
To fulfill our mission and values, while achieving sustainability, CVI must attract people with the ability to pay for their services and ensure that those who cannot pay receive the same levels of care and opportunity.
Each service is offered at an appropriate fee. For clients with financial barriers, we offer a sliding fee scale to determine their appropriate contribution. The financial assistance fund will support the difference between the cost of the service and the amount a person may be able to pay.
Restructure Programs to develop a more sustainable operating and business model to ensure high quality services are available to the greatest possible number of people.
Offering a menu of services so that people can select the services they want based on their goals is the cornerstone of our shift towards monetizing our core capacities. The menu creates a pathway into the programs and choice architecture for people who seek us out or are referred by their doctor.
We have developed a menu of services for the clinic and adult services, and piloting menus for children’s/youth services. When people can select their own goals and act on them, they are more empowered and effective in their adjustment to vision loss.

Build Capacity by investing in our home, staff development, planning and change management.
Our home is a financial and programmatic asset. After twenty years, we need to invest in capital improvements. Priorities include refreshing the patient lobby, including improved lighting for people with vision loss, plumbing upgrades, establishing an assessment room for BEGIN, painting, replacing the front portico awning, and improving the accessibility of entrances.
Capacity investments also include investing in staff credentials and development, program evaluation, longer term strategic planning, and change management to create the conditions and culture to succeed in a new operating model.

Expand our Reach as we shift beyond reliance on referrals to engaging more directly with the community and smoothing pathways into our programs for people who need us.
We will invest in outreach to doctors, senior centers and communities, schools, and the broader community to ensure that people who need us know we are here to help. We will invest further in creating smoother on ramps into the programs through staff training, our website and brand, and aligning job roles to better support clients.
We must invest in market research and focus groups to gain the information we need to invest resources appropriately in outreach and design programs that meet people’s needs. Our outreach design will be based in the dual purpose of making sure people know we are here and creating the circumstances where they can more easily gain help.

Leadership is a critical success factor for CVI in all its work. We are fortunate to be governed by a fully engaged board of community leaders who support CVI financially, set strategic goals, and provide financial oversight and stewardship.

The Board has remained steadfast in its commitment to CVI as we have confronted difficult financial decisions, the pandemic, and a leadership transition. Fontaine Huey, our President for 7 years, announced her retirement in the fall of 2019. Lisa Kennedy became CEO and President in February 2020 after having served as Interim President. She is working closely with the Board in testing the assumptions and initiatives in the current two-year plan and will lead a longer-term vision and strategies for programs, program-centered earned revenue, and development.

Our board has played a pivotal role over the past year. New board members and long-time leaders have embraced possibilities for change. They are building relationships with program partners and philanthropic supporters as they lead the way in supporting CVI financially. With 100% participation from CVI’s governing, foundation, and lifetime board members have contributed $184,000 in pledges and gifts this year, an increase of 29% over last year.

We anticipate total costs of $2,863,050 to fully implement the strategic initiatives. Of this amount, $1,550,000 will be generated through earned revenue from program fees, rental income, and government fee for service contracts. The $1.3 million balance will be funded through philanthropic support from the CVI family, other individual donors, and foundations.

Our professional staff includes three optometrists with low vision specialty, an occupational therapist with low vision certification, two certified orientation and mobility instructors, and teachers of the visually impaired with special education training, Braille and activities of daily living teacher, and assistive technology. Seven of our full-time staff are blind or visually impaired.

Like other organizations, our operations and revenue have been disrupted for almost a year as programs have remained remote or operated at limited scale. Many people who need us cannot gain the help they need because of their risk for COVID complications. We have sought to make the best possible use of the disruptions to thoroughly assess CVI’s mission, programs, and purpose in our community. This assessment, in partnership with the board and program staff, has energized us about new solutions and the future.

• Recruited two new doctors and added two clinic days each week. We now offer 10 days of appointments every month as well as offer exams in a satellite clinic serving Gwinnett County.
• Updated the website so it is client-center and fully accessible. Established marketing and outreach plan and increased staff capacity for outreach.
• Developed menus for clinic and adult programs. Promoted a Certified Orientation and Mobility trainer to manage the adult services program.
• Developed and implemented sliding fee scales. We moved a staff member into a full-time role
to manage implementation of sliding fee scale and Financial Assistance Fund across programs.
• Received $97K in pledges and gifts to date toward our Financial Assistance Fund. The board seeded the fund with $36K. Foundations have committed $60K.

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 demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    CVI serves people impacted by blindness or vision loss, conditions that cut across all social and economic status, and affects all races and ages. We provide a continuum of care, guidance, and training beginning with infants through a person's school years to adulthood and old age. According to the Georgia Department of Health, about 1 in 12 Georgians age 55 years and older (8.5%) report severe vision loss. By 2040, vision loss in people 40 and older due to diabetic retinopathy could increase by 150%. By 2050, as many as 226,000 Georgians will be visually impaired and 100,000 will be blind. Low-income families are also at risk due to lack of insurance and barriers to access to eye care, and their children especially vulnerable and often have unmet vision needs.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Case management notes,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    When the pandemic began our Clinic staff called all current and recent clients to offer support as we all to understand what was needed to navigate the crisis. The staff gathered feedback from clients on their current vision challenges and where appropriate recommended resources and options available through web sites or through phone calls to other community organizations. We also gained a greater understanding of other barriers these clients were facing and provided guidance when feasible. As we reopened the clinic in mid-June, these clients were contacted again to offer social-distanced appointments so their low vision needs could be addressed.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    With input from clients we have developed a menu of services for each program area. The menus provide clients with greater agency over their preferred learnings and provides greater personal motivation toward their outcomes. We are in deeper partnership with clients to help them achieve the most meaningful path in their journey living with blindness or vision loss.

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,


Center for the Visually Impaired, Inc.

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


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.


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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.

Center for the Visually Impaired, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 04/08/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andy Kauss

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Term: 2018 - 2022

Susan Hoy

Retired, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Andrew Kauss

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Andy Shulman

Standard Press

Amy Slack

Intercontinental Hotels Group

Mason Lee Cardwell

Colliers International

Terri E. Lawson

Frazier & Deeter, LLC

Shannon Hill

AmeriPrise Financial Services, Inc.

Anne Skae

Community Volunteer

Frank Virgin

Taylor English Duma LLP

Kristen Lewis

The Bowden Group

William J. Pergolini


Montague "Cosmo" L. Boyd IV

Stephens Inc.

Mary Ann Cook

Retired CPA

Bradley Henderson MD

Retired Physician

G. Baker Hubbard MD

Emory Eye Center/Emory University

James Scott Matthews III

Retired CDC

Cooper N. Mills Jr.

CHILDS Advisory Partners

Anne Marie Moriatakis

Chic-Fil-A Foundation

John T. Rhett III

Red Rock Strategic Partners

John "Smitty" Smith Jr.

Retired Community Volunteer/Former CVI Client

Bridgette Suttle

Community Volunteer/Former CVI Client

Jodie D. Taylor

Brassfield & Gorrie

Craig Yardley

Retired, Georgia Pacific

Peter A. Amman

Retired, Merrill Lynch

A. Kimbrough Davis

Adams, Davis, Mason & Long

Douglas K. Garges

Cummings, Horsley & Maddox

Evelyn G. Ullman

Community Volunteer

June Morgan Willis

Retired, Center for the Visually Impaired

Richard Blumberg

Retired, SunTrust Bank

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 3/1/2021

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/01/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.