Thanks to Our Generous Partners
APH’s products and services for the education of Americans who are blind and visually impaired are supported in part by generous foundation and corporate donors. We would like to thank the following organizations for their funding of critical educational projects.
The Hearst Foundations and the Morris Family Foundation Help Speed the Design of Educational Products for Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is excited to announce the receipt of a $50,000 grant from The Hearst Foundations in New York (http://www.hearstfdn.org/) and the Morris Family Foundation in Tennessee (http://themorrisfamilyfoundation.com) for the purchase of an advanced 3D printer. It will bring significant financial and time savings to APH’s product development process.
“We are most grateful to The Hearst Foundations and the Morris Family Foundation for their grant,” said Dr. Craig Meador, APH President. “This 3D printer will not only help APH save time and money, it will allow us to lead in creating innovative tactile products for the students we serve throughout the country. 3D printing offers almost limitless possibilities for students and adults for whom touch is their key to learning.”
Founded in the 1940s by publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, the Hearst Foundations make grants to innovative, impactful organizations in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. The Foundations’ mission is to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives.
The Morris Family Foundation supports the growth of innovative, effective educational practices for learners across the lifespan. They have a particular interest in supporting underserved populations and creative uses of technology.
“We are pleased to provide a $50,000 grant to enhance the use of 3D printing in product development at APH,” said Mason Granger, the Hearst Foundations’ Director of Grants. “We commend APH’s long history of promoting independence and learning among people who are blind and visually impaired, and we believe that APH is well positioned to build on its dynamic leadership.”
We are grateful to the Hearst Foundations and the Morris Family Foundation for their support! For more information on APH products, visit http://shop.aph.org.
Generous Donor Supports Development of Groundbreaking Tactile Touch Display
APH is grateful to the William M. Wood Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee. They awarded a generous $200,000 for the development of the revolutionary Graphiti dynamic multilevel tactile touch display.
Access to graphical information is a significant challenge for people who are blind and visually impaired. With the increased dependency on technology in schools, the lack of access to on-screen graphics can be an impediment to learning for students with visual impairments.
Graphiti is a dynamic multilevel tactile touch display developed by Orbit Research for the American Printing House for the Blind. This revolutionary display was developed in conjunction with the Transforming Braille project. Graphiti allows students and adults to access a wide variety of on-screen graphics by touch. This includes pie charts, bar graphs, geometric forms, maps, floor-plans, flow-charts, line drawings, and dynamic graphical content.
Graphiti’s breakthrough technology allows graphics to be depicted by means of an array of variable-height pins. To change to the next graphic, the pins on the refreshable display move up and down to create a tactile representation of the graphic. Graphiti can display topographical maps and other features such as grey levels and colors.
Donations Boost Program to Assist Former Inmates Who Embark on Careers in Braille Transcription
Donations from Genentech, Inc., Gheens Foundation, Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and philanthropist Jean Frazier have made it possible for the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) to develop a five-year plan assuring the Braille Transcriber Apprentice Program (BTAP) continues. BTAP assists former inmates who have earned braille certifications while incarcerated to transition into a career in braille transcription upon their release.
The BTAP Sustainability Plan will ensure future funding, partnerships, and increased capacity in the program. The Center for Nonprofit Excellence and the National Council on Crime and Delinquency assisted with development of the plan.
“APH is grateful to our donors,” said APH President Dr. Craig Meador, “Their generous support makes it possible for us to get more braille textbooks to students more quickly and to have a plan to assure that the program will continue into the future. This program helps to keep some of the most highly skilled transcribers doing what they do best, creating quality braille.”
Background: When American Printing House for the Blind started a Prison Braille program in 2000, it joined dozens of other organizations nation-wide that have programs to train inmates to transcribe textbooks and other documents from print or digital formats into braille. Since there was (and still is) a shortage of qualified transcribers, these programs add to the pool available. However, once the inmates are released, there are significant barriers to establishing successful careers as transcribers, such as the need for computer hardware and software, braille resource materials, and access to braille transcription work. The Prison Braille Apprentice Program (BTAP) was designed to help former inmates continue using the skills they learned while in prison. Two apprentices from the two-year pilot program have been so skilled and experienced that they have been offered full-time employment at APH. The success of the pilot program means that BTAP will continue to provide support for former inmates as they transition into a much-needed vocation in their home states or in Louisville.
BTAP Program: To be eligible, applicants must have earned a minimum of two braille certifications while participating in one of 38 prison braille programs nationwide. Those accepted into the program serve an apprenticeship at APH in Louisville, which provides them with training in independent braille production, small business management, and soft skills needed to work in a professional business environment. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, APH may hire participants or contract with them to produce braille, or they may choose to establish independent braille transcription businesses with resources provided by BTAP.
Wild About Braille!
This year 34 students were Wild About Braille for the 2018 Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge, a unique competition designed to test braille literacy skills. Top-placing students across the U.S. will be chosen to participate in the national competition, taking place at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles this June. This is the seventh year that APH and the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) have collaborated to host this exciting event, in which over 100 APH, KSB, and community volunteers work together to create a memorable day that students talk about all year long! Thanks to everyone who played a role, and especially to our generous donors including Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, Emma L. Snyder Charitable Foundation, the William E. Barth Foundation, and the Lester E. Yeager Charitable Trust.
Many Generous Donors Support the Braille Tales Book Program
Ever since she was a newborn, reading has been a huge part of Madeline’s life. Her mother, Meagan, credits APH with helping build a braille book library for Madeline that continues to grow. Madeline is now looking for braille on all her books. This is an important first step towards braille literacy. “It is so sweet to see my daughter connecting that the bumps have meaning,” Meagan wrote. “Thanks will never be enough!”
Madeline is enrolled in Braille Tales, an early reading program for preschoolers who are blind and visually impaired. Through our partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, the Braille Tales print/braille book program is able to deliver a new, age-appropriate print/braille book every other month to the homes of enrolled children who are potential braille users. The carefully selected print/braille books support oral language development, enthusiasm for reading, and awareness of print and braille.
Children under the age of six who have a visual impairment OR have a parent/guardian with a visual impairment qualify for the book program. If you know families who meet these criteria, please visit our Braille Tales website.
This program now serves over 1,000 children and we are working with our donors to serve more than 1,200 by the fall of 2016. APH thanks the following donors for their support of the Braille Tales program and their impact on children across the country who are visually impaired or blind:
- American Legion Child Welfare Foundation ($31,000)
- WHAS Crusade for Children ($23,876)
- PNC Foundation ($20,000)
- Lift a Life Foundation ($20,000)
- Delta Gamma Foundation ($11,000)
- Mary P. Gill Foundation ($9,700)
- Fred B. & Opal S. Woosley Foundation ($5,000)
- Louisville Downtown Lions Club ($4,875)
- Sidney Frohman Foundation ($2,000)
- Dollar General Literacy Foundation ($2,000)
- Henry L. Guenther Foundation ($2,000)
- John H. Schnatter Family Foundation ($1,000)
- Elizabeth H. and Stanley E. Evans ($200)
Wilson Foundation and the Table Top Scribe
With generous funding from the H. W. Wilson Foundation, APH recently purchased a Table Top Scribe from the Internet Archive. “The Scribe will be used at APH to create accessible versions of historic publications too fragile to send out for traditional digitization services,” says Matthew Rummele (Resource Services). “It also gives the company a valuable new way to digitize documents more quickly using in-house resources.”
The Scribe photographs every page of a publication, such as those in the Migel Library and Museum, and those images are then digitized. Afterward, the file is uploaded to the Internet Archive where it is cropped and converted to six different formats, making it easy for anyone to access the file. So, this process not only protects the original source from further handling, but also makes the material ready for use in real time.
The Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library based in San Diego, was founded to build an internet library, offer permanent access to historical collections that exist in digital form, and provide specialized services for adaptive reading and information access for the blind and other persons with disabilities. APH was one of the first organizations to get a Scribe from the Internet Archive, and it took about a year to have it custom designed and built for our purposes.
One of the first projects for the Scribe was scanning the collection of annual reports from the Kentucky School for the Blind, followed by those of the Illinois School. APH documents dating back to I860 have also been scanned. Whether you’re getting ready for the next APH Trivia Bowl or simply curious about how APH became the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit dedicated to the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired, now you can take your search to the APH website for the answers to those important questions.
Blind Musicians: From Early Flute to Modern Fiddle
The H.W. Wilson Foundation is supporting our efforts to develop a special collection of visually impaired musicians’ music and books, which will be housed in the APH Migel Library. From Japan’s Biwa performers in 1220 C.E., to Kentucky School for the Blind alumnus and International Bluegrass Music Association’s most awarded fiddler Michael Cleveland, music has played a significant role in the education and vocation of the visually impaired. The history and output of that influence will now be represented in the Migel’s “Blind Musicians” collection, believed to be the only one of its kind in the U.S. A subject search for “Blind Musicians” will bring up materials, including over I50 books, CDs, and LPs in both the migel.aph.org catalog, and at the Migel page at Internet Archive. Further, a music playback machine was installed in APH’s Barr Library to provide access to audio materials.
Our Generous Partners Helped Make the Orion TI-30XS Calculator Possible
The Orion TI-30XS MultiView Talking Scientific Calculator levels the educational playing field for students who are visually impaired. APH, Texas Instruments (TI) (NASDAQ: TXN), and Orbit Research launched the Orion TI-30XS MultiView in September. It is currently the only available fully-accessible multi-line scientific calculator, created for students who are visually impaired. Based on the popular TI-30XS Multiview™ scientific calculator, the Orion TI-30XS represents a breakthrough in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education for students with vision impairment.
American Printing House for the Blind’s participation in the collaboration that made this calculator accessible was possible because of generous gifts from:
- Jessie Ball duPont Fund ($200,000)
- James Graham Brown Foundation ($170,000)
- Genentech Foundation ($75,000)
Yum! Brands Foundation’s Gift to APH InSights Art Competition
APH would like to thank the Yum! Brands Foundation for their gift of $2,000 to assist with funding for the APH InSights Art Competition and Exhibition. The goal for this grant is to enable more of our 2016 InSights Art competition winners attend our award banquet at APH’s Annual Meeting in October. For almost 25 years, this international annual competition has provided a forum for artwork produced by artists of all ages who are legally blind. APH InSights reflects our mission to “promote the independence of blind persons” by encouraging individuals to create original art and offer their unique perspectives to the arts community.
The Perfect Match
APH met our perfect match with USTA Southern, Kentucky. After reviewing a grant application and taking a tour at APH’s research and manufacturing plant, United States Tennis Association Southern granted $1,000 to APH for the development of the Sports Courts kit consisting of 15 different interactive, tactile sports models and guidebook, including Tennis. Sports Court will help people who are blind and visually impaired conceptualize a variety of sports layout and rules, encouraging active participation in sports and promoting social development.
$135,500 Grant from William M. Wood Foundation Equips APH with the Latest in Technology Equipment
The American Printing House for the Blind was recently awarded a grant from the William M. Wood Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee, for the purchase of a 3-D Printer, a Vacuum Forming machine and a UV Printer/Cutter. This equipment will be used by APH to produce educational aids for students who are blind and visually impaired. “We’ve come a long way from our first fly-wheel hand-cranked press invented for APH in 1860 to emboss braille textbooks,” said Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager at APH. This latest technology equipment will allow APH to produce prototypes of educational aids products that can be field tested with teachers and students in schools.
APH Gets a Technological Update
The King’s Daughters & Sons Foundation of Kentucky has awarded the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) $4,985 for the purchase of a 3-D scanner. This scanner will enable APH to develop and manufacture lower cost educational and daily living products for people who are blind and visually impaired. “APH is grateful to The King’s Daughters & Sons Foundation for providing APH with the resources needed to continue being a leader in research and product development for the education of people who are blind,” said APH Manager of Technical Research, Frank Hayden.
Three Foundations Help APH Ensure High-stakes Tests are Accessible for Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired
States are rapidly moving from paper to online testing. These high-stakes exams can determine whether or not a student advances a grade level or enters college. APH conducts critical reviews of test items using a variety of assistive technology hardware and software to ensure that these items are accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired. APH’s reviews verify that students can independently access the sample items, directions/instructions, passages, test items, answer choices, and graphics. Accessible technology hardware and software from a number of different vendors was purchased through awards from The Gheens Foundation ($25,000), The Irving F. and Alice S. Etscorn Foundation ($5,000), and The Miller Family Foundation ($8,000).
How Your Foundation Can Help
American Printing House for the Blind
Corporate Donor Program
To fund our research, programs and services and enable us to meet the increasing need for advances in technology, services, and education, the American Printing House for the Blind is seeking support from the Corporate community to help us make all areas of education more accessible to our nation’s blind and visually impaired children and adults.
- Recognition on APH Website (logo placement for Diamond level)
- Recognition in Relationships newsletter mailings (minimum 1 placement per year)
- Recognition in APH News newsletter (minimum 1 placement per year)
- Recognition on Corporate Donor Wall
- Recognition in Annual Meeting Program Insert
- Recognition in APH Product Catalogs
- Recognition on Facebook page (minimum 1 placement per year)
Thank you for considering the American Printing House Corporate Donor program.
We are grateful for your involvement as we work to improve the quality of life for blind and visually impaired people everywhere.