Lighthouse of Broward County, Inc.

aka Lighthouse of Broward   |   Ft. Lauderdale, FL   |


To provide the leadership, services, advocacy, and resources necessary to enhance the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired in Broward County and empower them to live independent, healthy, employed, and fulfilling lives.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Ms. Ellyn Drotzer MSW, LCSW

VP of Strategic Initiatives & Development

Mr. Jose Lopez-Masso

Main address

650 North Andrews Avenue

Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311 USA

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Formerly known as

Broward Center for the Blind



NTEE code info

Eye Diseases, Blindness and Vision Impairments (G41)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our current agency is in need of renovations. Therefore in January of 2019, our facilities were renovated to give it a new fresh look and maximize the space in our training kitchen for our clients to learn kitchen safety skills and other cooking activities that are apart of our curriculum for children, teens and adults clients. On July 8, 2019, we will host a grant re-opening.

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?

Vital Living

LHOB's Vital Living Program (VL) serves 250+ blind and visually impaired seniors who participate in group and individual rehabilitation training, enabling them to maximize their independence, well-being, and health. Vital Living addresses the independence, well-being, and health of seniors 55 and older who are blind or visually impaired who follow an individualized plan. VL's additional support services include Low Vision Comprehensive Eye Exams, Lifetime Learners meetings, and recreational activities.

Vital Living helps seniors age in place and learn skills that empower them to remain safe and live independently. VL clients receive a low vision assessment to determine visual abilities, functional capabilities, and goals. Seniors then follow an individualized plan that can include: life skills training, mental health, and adjustment to blindness counseling, medication management, safe travel skills, computer/technology, and health and wellness education at the Lighthouse or through outreach.

Population(s) Served

Bright Beginnings – Early Intervention Program provides services to 35 babies/toddlers, who are blind or visually impaired, ages birth - 5, teaching them how to use the remaining vision they may have to maximize their child development stages. The goal is for children to learn to make the best use of their remaining vision or use other sensory cues, to develop new behaviors that enhance independent functioning, to enter kindergarten prepared for learning.

Bright Beginnings incorporates the use of tactile objects, exercises, and interactions to develop gross and fine motor skills, sensory stimulation, cognitive development, communication, early literacy skills, social and emotional development, and compensatory sensory skills (touch, hearing). The program also gives parents tools to help their child reach critical developmental stages that are usually achieved through visual interaction with the world. Parents participate in family meetings, telephone follow-ups, one-on-one sessions, and satisfaction surveys.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

David & Jean Colker KIDS Program Keys to Independence KIDS is a year-round program at LHOB and community sites during non-school days, Saturdays, and summer months for 50 children, ages 6 – 13, who are blind/visually impaired. KIDS utilizes the national, evidence-based Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) to increase each client's self-sufficiency, including classroom sessions, field trips, and recreational activities enabling children to learn safe travel skills, age-appropriate cooking and self-care techniques, Braille, use of computers, and adaptive communication devices, and polite social interaction and self-advocacy. KIDS goal is to give young people tools to become independent adults to function in the sighted world.

KIDS creates a community of youth who form lifelong friendships, sustaining them emotionally into adulthood. Teachers of Visually Impaired (TVIs) use Best Practices teaching daily living skills to nurture independence, plus academic and expanded enrichment programming, to keep pace with sighted peers.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Non-adult children

Teen - LIFE (Learning Independence From Experience) is a year-round program during the school year and the weekends for 40+ blind and visually impaired youth ages 14 to 21. During the summer, the clients in TeenLIFE attend a 6-week intensive summer program to prepare for life after high school. Teens receive college preparation and job readiness skills during group classes, field trips, paid work experience, and fun recreational activities. They also volunteer at children's events during the school year and on the weekends. Offered year-round and in 5-week summer camp to prepare for post-high schoolwork or college.

Population(s) Served

Rehabilitation Training and Vocational Planning/Job Preparation/ for adults who are blind or visually impaired. Independent living skills leading to managing one's home, medications, kitchen, and finances, plus safe travel indoors and outdoors, and counseling for self and family. Computer Training--offered at our center, leading to use of screen reader or screen enlargement software for work, email, internet use, etc.
Job Skills Analysis, career planning, resume and interview preparation, support group.

Population(s) Served

The Workforce Solutions program will create opportunities for blind and visually impaired people to become wage earners and taxpayers, reducing their reliance on government support and increasing engagement with the community. The Lighthouse of Broward’s customers will be able to get the business solutions they need through quality, on-time delivery of products and services while employing blind and visually impaired people — it’s a win-win for the community and the people we serve.
For the Workforce Solutions department’s early beginnings, the employment opportunities will consist of providing products or services in the following areas:
Light Manufacturing – assembly, kitting, packaging, and distribution of products, including medical supplies
Web Accessibility – Website remediation, digital compliance
Contact Center – Employee placements

Population(s) Served

Where we work


National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accreditation 2010

Charity Navigator 2017

Charity Navigator 2018

Charity Navigator 2019

National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accre 2015

National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) - Accre 2015

Charity Navigator 2020

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
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Adults, Seniors, Economically disadvantaged people, Health

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

We served 2521 babies, children, teens, adults, and seniors in 2021.

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.

The Lighthouse of Broward (LHOB) is in the third year of a Strategic Plan 2013-2015 which established goals in 5 areas: Services, Finance, Development, Organizational Development and Marketing. These are tracked and reported monthly to the board of directors on a Dashboard. Goals achieved to date include formation of a Finance Committee to plan sustainability; implementation of Medicare billing; expansion of services to teens through full utilization of State funding; written operating procedures for billable services, fraud and abuse prevention, HIPAA compliance; implementation of revenue generating vocational evaluation testing site; achievement of initial funding for Whole Family Network program to ensure aging in place by older adult blind/visually impaired; on-line database for tracking client outcomes implementation recognized by CTK (database developer) for excellence; implemented a Development/Fundraising Dashboard for monthly board reporting. Ongoing tracking of goals in Marketing and Staff/Organizational training areas. A new 3 year Strategic Plan will be created in 2016. Maintenance and enhancement of the physical plant (building, parking and award-winning Sensory Garden) receives careful stewardship and planning.

The Lighthouse of Broward uses a variety of strategies to achieve and maintain progress on goals: 1. collaboration with Universities (NSU for College of Optometry-run Low Vision Clinic, FAU for development of a statistically valid client survey and collaboration with Stand Among Friends), and LHOB supports other colleges' social work/occupational therapy/teacher internships. 2. collaborative partnerships with numerous other non-profits through Broward Chamber of NonProfit Organizations, Aging and Disability Resource Center, Center for Independent Living of Broward, Center for Communication and Hearing, Assistive Living Facilities, Senior Centers, Broward County Public Schools, National Executive Service Corps, etc. 3. development of revenue generating activities through Medicare billing and Vocational testing; 4. development/maintenance of a high level, engaged Board of Directors; 5. involvement with local capacity-building organizations (Community Fdn of Broward, etc.) as well as Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind, and the national consortium VisionServe Alliance to obtain C-level training for top LHOB managers and promote policy and legislation that benefits or protects blind and visually impaired persons; 6. promotion of a strong alumni association that provides LHOB professional training scholarships; 7. data-driven program and financial decision-making and evaluation; 8. on-going support for professional growth of a professional staff resulting in extremely low turnover of direct service providers; 9. cultivation of new donors and appreciation of existing donors through communication, involvement and an annual recognition dinner Dining in the Dark; 10. a Mission-focused approach to every interaction with clients, families, donors, funders and other stakeholders.

LHOB's capabilities include a mortgage-free, well-maintained and attractive facility near downtown Ft. Lauderdale and public transportation; annually updated technology (hardware and software) that is accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired; a state of the art Low Vision Clinic operated by NSU College of Optometry; Florida Reading and Vision Technologies store on-site that stocks hundreds of adaptive aids and technologies from a broad range of national vendors for the blind/visually impaired; a dedicated professional staff with advanced degrees, and national certifications; excellent collaborative partnerships in Broward- and Florida-wide community; an endowment managed carefully by the board of directors; National Accreditation Council for Blind and Low Vision Services full-accreditation; support and input from consumers and other stakeholders that is provided in monthly meetings with management team.

The Lighthouse of Broward has made significant progress toward the goals of Strategic Plan 2013-2015. While achieving real financial sustainability is not realized, important components have been put in place. Other important areas of progress are the creation of a terrific professional team that is fairly compensated by national standards adjusted for the Broward economy, a client profile that is close to mirroring the demographics of Broward County, a strong board of directors with a good working relationship with the executive director, a top of the line technological infrastructure, efficient/safe/environmentally sensitive use of the physical plant.

LHOB is proud to announce the rollout of Phase II of Working Solutions that includes recruitment, placement and employment opportunities. LHOB has diligently created federal and private industry relationships that will create employment opportunities in the areas of light manufacturing, contract centers, and assistive technology website remediation.

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve more than 2,520 babies, children, teens, working-age adults, and seniors who are born blind or experience vision loss because of premature birth, injury, accident, illness, or the aging process annually. Clients represent 51% male and 49% female, ages birth to 100, with diverse ethnicity and socio-economic levels. 37% percent of clients are seniors 55 and older. Racial/ethnic demographic sectors are as follows: Caucasian 51%, African-American 31%, Asian 3%, and multiracial/other 15%. Sixty-Four percent (64%) of our client's household incomes are below the federal poverty level.

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

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • 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, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Parents of our youth client's expressed that they wanted their children to participate in some in-person activities to keep them engaged. Therefore, our Youth staff worked together to provide families with opportunities for their blind and visually impaired children to participate in our youth summer camps virtually or in-person in small groups adhering to CDC guidelines.

  • 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?

    Feedback from our clients has not changed our relationship with them or shifted power over decisions, resources, rules, or other ways. Feedback from clients strengthens our agency and relationship with our clients.

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,


Lighthouse of Broward County, Inc.

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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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.

Lighthouse of Broward County, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mr. Aaron See, MBA


Term: 2019 -

Board co-chair

Mr. Timothy Moffatt, JD, MBA

CNA Insurance Company

Term: 2019 -

Scott McCullough, JD

McCullough & Leboff, PA

Judge Kathleen McHugh, JD

17th Judicial Circuit Judge

Margarita Castellon, MA, MPA

Retired AT&T Executive

Erica Ricketts, MBA

CFO of Henderson Behavioral Health

Ilian Obregon

HSBC Bank Senior Corp Bank Manager

Von Freeman

Director of Integrated Marketing

General James Monroe

Retired US Army Major (2Star)

Colonel Robert Stewart

Retired Colonel

Maria Pierson

CEO of Pierson Grant PR

John Dunnuck

CFO of Broward College

Sarah Wellik, M.D.

Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at NSU

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 1/18/2022

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/18/2022

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 review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • 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 disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • 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.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.