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for the Blind

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American Foundation for the Blind Presents 2001 Access Awards


Gabriella Smith-Coventry
(212) 502-7654

"Jeopardy!" Host Alex Trebek Serves as Emcee

Washington, DC—On March 16, in conjunction with its Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) will present 2001 Access Awards to individuals, corporations, and organizations that are eliminating or substantially reducing inequities faced by people who are blind or visually impaired.

The ceremony will take place at the Washington Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC, at 6:00 pm. Alex Trebek, host of "Jeopardy!," will serve as master of ceremonies and accept a 2001 Access Award on behalf of Jeopardy! Sony Studios for making the simple accommodations that allowed a contestant who is blind to compete on its game show. The episodes show the public what people who are blind or visually impaired can accomplish if given the same opportunities as their peers.

"We at AFB are committed to bringing recognition to those who have enhanced the independence and dignity of blind and visually impaired Americans," said AFB president and CEO Carl R. Augusto.

The following will also be honored with a 2001 Access Award:

  • Cakewalk for adding hotkeys to its popular software that enables blind or visually impaired composers and producers to write, play, and record music in an integrated MIDI and audio environment.
  • California Council of the Blind for its campaign that culminated in major financial institutions committing to the installation of talking ATMs throughout the state of California. The talking ATM team was comprised of members from the California Council of the Blind; disability rights lawyer Lainey Feingold; Linda Dardarian of the law firm of Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller; and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc. California now has over 300 talking ATMs in operation and one of the financial institutions has committed to a full national rollout of talking ATMs at every ATM location.
  • FutureForms for its innovative Verbal-eyes program, a tool developed to aid workers who are blind or visually impaired in accessing electronic forms. Verbal-eyes allows blind or visually impaired individuals to complete form-based paperwork independently, which opens up a range of employment opportunities at many levels.
  • Margaret R. Pfanstiehl, Ed.D., and Cody Pfanstiehl for their successful advocacy campaign that led to the Federal Communications Commission rule that broadcasters affiliated with major networks must provide a minimum of audio described prime time and/or children’s programming.
  • Sun Microsystems for making accessibility an integral part of the Java platform. The Java Accessibility API software interface allows assistive technologies to communicate with programs written in the JAVA programming language. This company guides its efforts by its Universal Design philosophy—addressing the accessibility needs of all people in the workplace.

To schedule an interview with a 2001 Access Awards honoree, please contact Gabriella Smith-Coventry at 212-502-7654.

The American Foundation for the Blind—the organization to which Helen Keller devoted over 40 years of 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. Headquartered in New York City, AFB maintains offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco, and a governmental relations office in Washington, DC. For more information, visit


February 2001

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