Annual Reports

Join our mailing list and stay up-to-date on all things VISIONS, including future newsletters, events, and stories.

Download Our Most Recent Annual Report

Continue scrolling to read VISIONS 2019 annual report, optimized for your mobile device

2020 Annual Report

A woman wearing a mask (left) sits next to a young girl also wearing a mask sitting on a giant red ball (right).

Our Mission

VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is a nonprofit rehabilitation and social service organization. VISIONS purpose is to develop and implement individualized programs to assist people who are blind and visually impaired of all ages to lead independent and active lives, and to educate the public to understand the capabilities and needs of people who are blind and visually impaired.

VISIONS Facts

  • All of the services we offer are free of charge thanks to government & foundation grants, and private donations
  • We offer services in 16 languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese dialects, Russian, and American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Our programs are tailored to the specific needs of our participants, no matter how complex those needs are
  • 1/3 of VISIONS staff is blind or has a visual impairment

President and Executive Director/CEO Message

In March 2020, COVID-19 halted business as usual, closing programs as required by New York State, which led staff to pivot and work from home for three months. In July, staff were able to resume in-person services at VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB), and in-person training in the home and community. To our delight and surprise, blind youth returned for Pre-Employment residential training and parents brought 23 blind children and their siblings to the August 2020 overnight Rehabilitation and Recreation Program (R&R). VISIONS Center on Aging remains closed for in-person services and congregate meals, however, staff have created 100 remote weekly classes. Our social work team reached 300 participants with counseling to allay fears, anxiety and stress exacerbated by COVID-19 and social isolation.

Virtual programs were created by our inventive community advisory boards and staff while in-person events remained canceled. VISIONS Board of Directors approved an application for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, which was received in April and forgiven in December 2020. We avoided staff terminations, layoffs, and salary reductions while adding an extra Board meeting in the summer, to closely monitor the pandemic and its impact on VISIONS.

We are grateful for VISIONS staff who have gone above and beyond, and proudly report that no one has contracted COVID-19 from operating or attending any of our programs as a result of closely followed safety protocols while serving our participants. With sadness, we did lose participants, volunteers and many of our own family members to COVID-19. We are providing anti-racism training and focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion agency wide, at all levels. Thank you to the foundations, Board members, supporters, volunteers, staff and especially our participants, for believing in us and trusting us during this trying time.

Robert Schonbrunn
President, VISIONS Board of Directors

Nancy D. Miller
VISIONS Executive Director/CEO

Headshot of Robert Schonbrunn wearing a white button down shirt, burgundy tie and blue suit jacket
Headshot of Nancy D. Miller wearing a white shirt and beige sweater

By The Numbers

  • 89¢ of every dollar is spent on programs, with only 11¢ spent on administration and fundraising
  • In 2020, VISIONS had a 7% staff turnover rate, much lower than the NYC average for nonprofits!
  • VISIONS Workforce Program was ranked #1 in Job Placements for the 5th consecutive year. The New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) quality assurance review gave VISIONS Workforce Program a 10 out of 10 for providing excellent job placement services.

VISIONS Reach

VISIONS serves participants in all boroughs of NYC, as well as Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, and several counties in New Jersey. All legally blind and visually impaired persons sponsored by their state commission for the blind are eligible for residential short-term training at VCB.

Did You Know?

VISIONS is the sole provider of vision rehabilitation programs and services in Westchester County.

Program Sites

VISIONS Headquarters
500 Greenwich Street, Suite 302
New York, NY 10013

VISIONS at Selis Manor
135 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011

VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB)
Vocational Rehabilitation Center (VRC)

111 Summit Park Road
Spring Valley, NY 10977

VISIONS Services

Vision Rehabilitation

In-home instruction for all ages, on key skills to living with vision loss, safely traveling in the community, and maintaining independence

Job Training/Placement

Instruction on resume writing, computer literacy, applying/interviewing for jobs, and techniques to thrive in the workplace

Assistive Technology

Instruction on using screen-reading or magnification software on computers, as well as accessibility features available on mobile devices

Youth Services

Internships and job training for young adults 14–21 years old, as well as pre-college programs to prepare high-school students for life’s next steps

VISIONS Center on Aging

Programs and services designed for adults ages 60 or older, including free meals on weekdays, benefits counseling, health-focused activities, support groups, classes and workshops, social activities, and mail reading

Unpaid Caregiver Support

Free resources and support for caregivers assisting visually impaired and blind older adults (60+), and visually impaired grandparents (55+) who serve as the primary caregiver to a child under 18 years old

Residential Short-Term Training

Residential, short-term training in vision rehabilitation, job training, and assistive technology for individuals and families, held at VCB and the VRC

Community Outreach

Residential, short-term training in vision rehabilitation, job training, and assistive technology for individuals and families, held at VCB and the VRC

6,906 Participants Served in 2020

5,404

Community Services, Vision Rehabilitation & Workforce Development

1,152

VISIONS at Selis Manor Programs and
VISIONS Center on Aging

350

VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB) and VISIONS Vocational Rehab Center (VRC)

Beyond the Pandemic:

The Landeros Family
Participants of VCB's Rehabilitation and Recreation Program

Porfiria Landeros, and her two children, Dayonara (age 10), and Jose (age 9) from Staten Island are among the many wonderful families who attend VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB) in the summer. Like many, they return year after year to learn, connect, and grow with staff and families like theirs.

The Landeros' VCB journey began four years ago, when they first attended at the recommendation of their New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB) counselor, Paul Geraci. Initially, after aging out of one vision rehabilitation agency, and being turned away by another, Porfiria was concerned that VCB staff may not be able to work with her son, who has a learning disability. To Porfiria's surprise, VCB staff told her they COULD work with her family, and would even provide her son with an individualized plan to meet his needs.

Over the next four summers, the Landeros family participated in VCB's Rehabilitation & Recreation Program (R&R), a week-long program in which children with visual impairments and their families learn how to safely navigate, and utilize adaptive equipment for completing household tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Additionally, families enjoy socializing and connecting with other children and families during supervised activities including swimming in an accessible pool. Porfiria recalled one year, where VISIONS staff went above and beyond in their work with Jose, to help him get over his fear of the swimming pool. "Staff took their time, got on his level, and gave him the confidence to get over his fear. I was very proud of that moment and found it to be very memorable."

Each year, Porfiria leaves the R&R Program with a newfound confidence that a visual impairment will not stop her children from living a life full of joy and exploration. "Vision loss doesn't stop you; there are no limits to what people could do, or where they can explore." Porfiria also knows that with each year, she is able to meet other families with whom she can relate, and be part of a great community. "Don’t think about it twice. Take the opportunity. Meet other people and learn from them. This program helped my children come out of their shells, and learn what they’re capable of. Any parent considering this program will not regret it!"

When Porfiria and her family are not at VCB, her children attend school, and receive VISIONS services in the home to help strengthen their skills, and get them ready for the experience they will have next year at VCB!

A family of four stand outside and smile to the camera. The family includes a young girl wearing a purple t-shirt (far left), a father wearing a dark red button down shirt (top center), a mother wearing a dark blue blouse with white polka dots (top right), and a young boy wearing an orange t-shirt (far right)

Participant Stories

VISIONS Center on Blindness (VCB), and Youth Services

A family of three smile to the camera. The family includes a mother wearing a black shirt (left), a young girl wearing a pink jacket (center), and a young boy wearing a white t-shirt (right).

Valeria S.
(Mamaroneck, NY)

Jitka (pictured left) is the mother of twins: Samba (pictured right) and Valeria (pictured center).

Valeria, 13, is visually impaired and deaf. The family has attended VCB for over 5 years. When asked about coming back to VCB during the middle of a pandemic, Jitka stated she had no fears or reservations. “I trusted the judgment of the amazing leadership. We were required to wear masks and social distance, so I think that was good enough for me.”

Jitka struggled with having some sort of normalcy in her children’s lives amid the pandemic. The family longed for the sense of community and support that they get each year when they return to VCB. “It’s just great that I can come to a place that is accessible for all, people who have different or no forms of vision."

Vinnie W.
(Manhattan, NY)

Vinnie, a sophomore at the New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE) was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity at birth. Being totally blind has never stopped Vinnie from living life to the fullest. Prior to the pandemic, Vinnie enjoyed visiting popular New York City landmarks, playing the piano, and traveling with her parents.

Vinnie has participated in multiple VISIONS programs, including the Summer Transition Program (STP), where she utilized assistive technology to complete assignments, learned adaptive cooking techniques and kitchen safety, and built confidence through the practice of safe travel techniques. She also participated in VISIONS first Virtual Pre-Vocational Program (due to COVID-19 stay at home orders). Vinnie was also featured as a panelist in a Facebook Live event "Seeing Participants Through a Pandemic", and is currently enrolled in the Pre-Voc Enrichment Program. She hopes to attend VISIONS Pre-College Program in July 2021.

A young girl holding a cane and sitting in the cockpit of a helicopter faces the camera and smiles.

Volunteer Experiences

Agnes' Volunteer Story (Video)

Agnes, a volunteer through New York Cares, got to witness the power of community firsthand when she continued working virtually with older adults at VISIONS Center on Aging throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From watching participants adapt to a new community environment, to being there as participants supported each other during difficult moments, Agnes shares her thoughts with VISIONS in this brief video, linked below.

Watch her story by visiting: https://youtu.be/IpyrJzfKYjw

Great Nonprofits Volunteer Feedback

Read More: bit.ly/VISIONSGN

The staff are extremely kind, welcoming and friendly. From my experience volunteering, I can say that the work this nonprofit does has a positive impact on everyone involved. Volunteering at VISIONS is a very fulfilling experience. – Volunteer

I volunteered here last summer and had such an amazing experience. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly (especially Natasha!), and willing to help. From volunteering to go on walks with the senior citizens to opening and helping with mail, I was able to learn a lot and reach beyond my comfort zone. As a pre-optometry student, VISIONS has opened a lot of doors for me and introduced me to others who have constantly helped and encouraged me. – Christina

I worked here for a summer last year. Met lots of wonderful folks who helped run things there as well as other volunteers. I am an optometry student and the people at VISIONS (Natasha's the best!) organized a little get together and I got to help some pre-optometry students out as well. I worked directly with clients doing reading and also participated in some of the dinner services. Everything was really well run and the people I encountered during my time there were all warm. Would recommend this service! – Jonathan

Lions Clubs Volunteers

Three members of the Brooklyn Midwood Lions Club stand and smile to the camera while holding shovels.
Two Lions Members stand in a kitchen inside VCB surrounded by cleaning products and tools.

VISIONS would like to thank the Brentwood Islanders Lions Club, Bronx Lions Club, Brooklyn Midwood Lions Club, Phil-Am Lions Club, Winthrop Lions Club, and Yonkers Millennium Lions Clubs for volunteering their time and helping to clean and prepare the VCB Campus for its upcoming programs. VISIONS greatly appreciates the many wonderful contributions the Lions Clubs have made throughout the years, and the contributions they will continue to make in the future.

Program Highlights

Older participants at Selis Manor (pictured left) receive a bag containing a donated meal, given by a staff member (right)

Older adults at Selis Manor received hundreds of hot meals donated by New York City Council Speaker, Corey Johnson.

Two handcrafted gingerbread people wearing red and green scarves respectively, stand on a wooden table. The caption below reads, Photo of an older adult holiday virtual Arts & Crafts activity where participants made gingerbread people

VISIONS Center on Aging has added over 100 virtual classes per week, and continued serving over 400 older adults throughout the pandemic.

Three young adults wearing masks stand inside of VISIONS Vocational Rehabilitation Center

The VRC's 15-Week Employment Readiness and Pre-ETS Program prepared three more participants to enter the workforce.

A young boy wearing a mask sits at a table and uses a shirt folding board to fold a gray t-shirt.

Children with visual impairments and their families came together over the summer to participate in VCB's socially distanced Rehabilitation and Recreation Program.

Support Highlights

The Field Hall Foundation, Logo

VISIONS was awarded a $50,000 grant by the Field Hall Foundation to support the expansion of our Adaptive Living Program (ALP) for older adults living in Westchester County.

The Kessler Foundation, Logo

The Kessler Foundation awarded VISIONS two grants in 2020. A one-year grant to fund the development of jobs in New Jersey, and a COVID-19 Emergency Fund grant in support of virtual work readiness training.

Headshot of a man wearing a blue suit and red tie standing and smiling to the camera

VISIONS once again congratulated Travis Joseph, on receiving the Harriette K. and Burton M. Strauss Jr. Scholarship for the second year in a row!

Virtual Concert Series

A group of six headshots of each of VISIONS volunteer concert performers.

During the spring and summer, a number of musicians (pictured left to right) including Drew Bordeaux, Gene DiNapoli, Kristin Kelleher, Los Ciegos Del Barrio, Vinnie Medugno, and Laura Shoop provided VISIONS with pro-bono concerts. These events provided a much needed respite to our supporters and participants during a very difficult time.

VISIONS Leadership

Officers

Robert Schonbrunn*∞
President

Nancy T. Jones*
Past President

Dr. Cynthia Stuen∞
Vice President

Burton M. Strauss, Jr.
Treasurer

Kenneth J. Gralak∞
Asst. Treasurer

Jasmine Campirides
Secretary

Directors

Sheldon I. Berg
Steven E. Bernstein∞
Dr. Andrew S. Fisher
Lucius L. Fowler*
Frances Freedman
Gloria Fu
Robert Heidenberg
Steven E. Kent
Theodore P. Klingos*
Dr. James McGroarty∞
Denise G. Rabinowitz
Jagadish B. Rao∞
Peter A. Roffman
Henry Saveth∞
Anusha Sharma
Yan “Tuiggy” Zhang

Executive Team

Nancy D. Miller∞
Executive Director/CEO

Carlos Cabrera
Chief Financial Officer

Ruben Coellar∞
Chief Program Officer

Russell C. Martello
Chief Development Officer

Diane Weiss
Chief Program Officer

Natalia S. Young∞
Chief Operating Officer

Advisory Council

Lois Wagh Aronstein∞
Mal L. Barasch
Joseph L. Corace^
Ronald C. Delo∞
Donald F. Dunning∞
Susan Hale
Robert S. Loeb∞
Michael O’Halloran∞
David J. Orenstein
Angelo Purcigliotti∞
Dr. Albert D. Widman
John Winthrop
Stuart S. Wizwer∞
Nora Xie

Advisory Boards

Bronx-Westchester
Brooklyn
Manhattan
Queens
Center on Aging
Staten Island
VCB

* Trustee, Fund for the Blind
∞ Lion
^ Kiwanian

A poster shows a blurry eye chart, with large text next to it reading, if you can't see something, say something

Help Spread the Word

VISIONS created a public service announcement (PSA) campaign to build awareness for the services VISIONS offers to its participants.

This campaign, which originally started as a flyer, will soon be featured as an audio described movie trailer set to hit theaters throughout Westchester.

You can view the trailer on YouTube by visiting https://youtu.be/vja0qHJR0I0

Please e-mail marketing@visionsvcb.org if you or someone you know would like resources to share this campaign across your social media or professional networks.

VISIONS Financials

Revenue Sources
FY20: 10/01/19 – 09/30/20

Donut chart: VISIONS Revenue Sources. Investment Income: 45%. Government: 43%. Contributions and Bequests: 11%. Special events: 1%.

Expenses
FY20: 10/01/19 – 09/30/20

Donut chart: VISIONS Expenses. Community Services: 47.39% or $4,906,239. VISIONS Center on Blindness: 25.95% or $2,687,056. VISIONS at Selis Manor: 15.29% or $1,582,753. Program services account for 88.63% of VISIONS expenses, or $9,176,048. Management and General: 8.06% or $833,996. Fundraising: 3.51% or $343,283. Supporting services account for 11.37% of VISIONS expenses, or $1,177,279.

In Fiscal Year 2020, VISIONS maintained an industry-leading 11% overhead in actual spending.

The remaining 89% was spent providing, expanding, and enhancing needed programs and services for our participants.

For more detailed information, and to see a complete list of contributions for Fiscal Year 2019, click the buttons below.

Table: VISIONS Expenses. Community Services: 47.39% or $4,906,239. VISIONS Center on Blindness: 25.95% or $2,687,056. VISIONS at Selis Manor: 15.29% or $1,582,753. Program services account for 88.63% of VISIONS expenses, or $9,176,048. Management and General: 8.06% or $833,996. Fundraising: 3.51% or $343,283. Supporting services account for 11.37% of VISIONS expenses, or $1,177,279.

Social Workers Support Participants Through the Pandemic

VISIONS social work department provided over 300 participants of all ages with individual and group services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff provided referral, casework, and counseling services to individuals in all five boroughs of NYC, Long Island and Westchester, many of whom are facing additional challenges due to the pandemic, such as food and housing insecurity, and loss of employment.

Staff continued to provide short term counseling on adjustment to vision loss, and in a call to meet additional needs, developed virtual support groups in partnership with our Workforce Development and Youth Services Departments. These collaborations helped job seekers address vocational stresses during the pandemic, and provided students enrolled in VISIONS after school and summer programs the tools to continue positive social and emotional development.

The majority of services were delivered remotely, however, our social workers have safely met participants in person, when possible.

Participant Feedback

VISIONS Center on Aging: Of 125 random participants surveyed,

80%

of participants met new people and felt good about their ability to relate to others

79%

of participants better understood the importance of exercise and physical fitness

74%

of participants felt more satisfied about their lives after participating in senior programs

VISIONS Center on Blindness: Of 110 random participants surveyed,

78%

of participants met new people and felt good about their ability to relate to others

72%

of participants increased their participation in social activities after completing VCB/VRC programs

62%

of participants felt more satisfied about their lives after participating in VCB/VRC programs

How to Support VISIONS

Make a Donation!

Whether you give us an individual donation, or a lead to a Foundation Grant, or Corporate Sponsor that is aligned with our mission, every effort helps!

Ways to Donate

  • Donor Advised Fund
  • Gifts of Appreciated Stock
  • Qualified Charitable Distributions
  • Include VISIONS in Your Will*

If you have any questions about ways to donate or know of individuals, foundations, or corporations interested in supporting VISIONS, please contact Russell C. Martello, Chief Development Officer at rmartello@visionsvcb.org.

*If you would like to consider naming VISIONS in your Will, or making a testamentary gift, simply share the following information with your lawyer:

Legal Name: VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Tax ID: 13-1624210

Address: 500 Greenwich Street, Suite 302
New York, NY 10013

Other Ways to Support VISIONS

Join a Borough Advisory Board

Grouped by borough, members of VISIONS Advisory Boards help promote the issues important to the agency, represent VISIONS at community events, assist in raising funds to support the amazing work we do, and help solicit new contributors for our annual fundraising events.

Volunteer at our Senior Center

VISIONS Center on Aging located in Manhattan is always looking for volunteers. Volunteers may assist participants with reading mail, and other types of written materials, escorting them in the community for shopping and appointments, and helping in a variety of programs (i.e. quilting, arts & crafts, knitting, photography, ceramics, and technology training).

Help Jobseekers Gain Work Skills

There are many ways to help make a difference in the lives of jobseekers with visual impairments:

  • Host an intern
  • Host a training

  • Be a presenter

  • Hire a jobseeker

For more information, contact Michael Cush, Senior Director of Workforce Development at mcush@visionsvcb.org

Font Resize