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American Foundation for the Blind Honors Irvin Schloss for Distinguished Career in Advocacy

For Immediate Release

Gabriella Smith-Coventry
(212) 502-7654

Pittsburgh, PA—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will honor Irvin Schloss with the presentation of the inaugural Irvin Schloss Advocacy Award at a ceremony and reception on Tuesday, August 5, 2003 at 3:00 p.m. at Friendship Village, Pittsburgh, PA. The award, named in Mr. Schloss' honor, recognizes excellence in advocacy on behalf of people who are blind or visually impaired.

Blinded in combat in World War II, Schloss dedicated his 40-year career to the field of blindness. From 1948 to 1954, he worked as an editor for the Blinded Veterans Association, to later serve as BVA's executive director until 1958. He then joined AFB and worked for the next 30 years as a legislative analyst and Washington representative. He became director of the AFB Governmental Relations office in 1975. Upon his retirement in 1988, the Irvin Schloss conference room at AFB's Washington, DC, office was established in his honor.

While employed at AFB, Schloss effectively influenced a wide range of legislation on behalf of blind or visually impaired people and represented many of the major blindness organizations of and for the blind in Washington, DC. He lobbied for Human Services, education, and rehabilitation programs for blind and visually impaired people, and worked very closely on legislation with Representative Jon Fogerty, and Senators Lister Hill, Jacob Javits, and Jennings Randolph, all of whom championed legislation for disabled people.

"Schloss is a pioneer in governmental relations for blindness issues," said AFB president and CEO Carl R. Augusto. "Through his knowledge, common sense, and honesty, Schloss gained the respect of Congress as an accomplished negotiator, tireless and effective advocate, and unexcelled authority on legislation related to blind and visually impaired people."

Throughout his career, Schloss received numerous awards and citations from the blindness field, including the Ambrose M. Shotwell Memorial Award and the Major General Melvin J. Maas Achievement Award. Schloss met Harry Truman, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard and Pat Nixon, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, and he even rode in the funeral cortege of John F. Kennedy.


The American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller devoted her life—is a national nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate the inequities faced by the ten million Americans who are blind or visually impaired. Visit AFB online at

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